The Magical Cristóbal


The Queen Sofía Spanish Institute’s highly anticipated exhibit, BALENCIAGA: Spanish Master, is the first exhibition to consider the impact of Spain’s art, culture and history on one of its greatest twentieth-century designers, the legendary Cristóbal Balenciaga (1895-1972).


The exhibition was conceived by Oscar de la Renta, Chairman of the Institute’s Board of Directors, and curated by Hamish Bowles, Vogue’s European Editor at Large. The impressive set design is by Stefan Beckman, whose client list includes Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art.


Showcasing more than seventy items of Balenciaga’s clothing and accessories, the exhibit is the result of an unprecedented collaboration between the House of Balenciaga in Paris and an American institution. Some of the items on view include Balenciaga’s 1939 “Infanta” gown, and his four-point silk gazar dress of 1967.


Balenciaga “Infanta” gown, 1939 © RJ Horst. Courtesy of Staley/Wise Gallery

Additional material includes highly significant pieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum at F.I.T., The Hispanic Society of America, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of the City of New York, and the Texas Fashion Collection, as well as Mr. Bowles’ own collection and those of leading private couture collectors.



The exhibit also outlines the influence of great Spanish artists on his work, from Goya and Picasso to Sorolla and Miró. Other major influences highlighted include Spain’s religious and royal dress and ceremony, regional costumes and dances, and the power and splendor of the bullfight.



Spanish works of art and decorative objects support the curatorial thesis of the exhibition, creating a compelling and dramatic vision of Spain in all its glory, and the work of its most masterful designer.


Friday, November 19, 2010 – Saturday, February 19, 2011

Gallery Hours: Monday-Thursday 10am-6pm; Friday 10am-8pm; Saturday 10am-5pm

Queen Sofía Spanish Institute

684 Park Avenue 10065 / 1 212 628 0420

Photos: Courtesy of  Queen Sofía Spanish Institute and All Tomorrow’s Costumes

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