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Balenciaga’s “Spanish Black” inventions at Musée Bourdelle

Dramatic are his suits, soulful his cocktail dresses and elegant his evening gowns. Balenciaga has created a whole new class for black in his collections. The Parisian exhibit at Musée Bourdelle splendidly reflects the couturier’s vision.

Cristobal Balenciaga was a visionary, but also a very intriguing man. His collection displayed at Musée Bourdelle called “BALENCIAGA, L'OEUVRE AU NOIR” is influenced by his passion for Spanish folklore and piety. After his life, his garments show us a window to his dark soul and his gifted talents in reinventing colors and trends.

When walking into the exhibition, where the grand couturier’s work is placed, among Bourdelles sculptures, one is utterly blown back a few steps just to gaze at his collection. It is truly breathtaking and heartbreakingly beautiful, and dark. His enigmatic ambience is everywhere; his garments demand for recognition, as they are so rich of his blackened emotions.


Balenciaga has mutated the color black and brought monastic influence to couture. What was believed to be a depressing color is now, in his terms, vibrant and brilliant. He plays with satin black, velvet black, matte black, and black beads and sequins to intensify and contrast his pieces to the maximum. He tones down coarseness with soft matte fabric, glossy black with velvet colors, and soft sheer pink with intense thick black to balance ying and yang forces. Pure nimbleness was his hands to make transparent black lace look like heavenly poufs of clouds, forests on a plain, or coral floating in the middle of a black ocean. It is absolutely incomprehensible how another artist could rival his adeptness in cutting, sculpting, or molding the human body.


There is no doubt that the couturier was considered the finest fashion designer during his lifetime, greatly admired and respected in his profession as he mastered the art of cutting fabric, draping garments and reinventing new proportions. Balenciaga let his dark Spanish blood flow through his work as a sculptor and tailor. He has ripped apart boundaries in fashion history by allowing each of his garments to have a life of its own, separate from the body and model.

Inside the display glasses at the museum, Balenciaga's dark spirits gushes through each fiber of fabric he has sewn and each item he has pieced together. His thick, black, Spanish ambience makes any woman who wears his work immediately become bold, daring, and powerful. And makes us visitors regret to have missed this part of fashion history.

Paris Balenciaga exhibit