|Birthname||Cristóbal Balenciaga Eizaguirre|
|born on||21 January 1895 at 17:00 (= 5:00 PM )|
|Place||Getaria, Spain, 43n18, 2w12|
|Timezone||LMT m2w12 (is local mean time)|
|Astrology data||01°28' 15°28 Asc. 03°00'|
Spanish fashion designer, the foremost leading couturier in Spain. As one of the first designers to introduce a Spanish influence into the world of French fashion, he took his elegant styles for gowns, dresses and suits to Paris and established a clientele that included the cream of international society, royalty and film stars. Balenciaga was known as a master of illusion, and his designs inspired the fashion industry throughout the 20th century.
Cristóbal Balenciaga Eisaguirre was born into a fishing family in Getaria, in the Basque region of northern Spain. His father, a sea captain, died when he was a child, leaving his mother to support the family by sewing, and Balenciaga began studying dressmaking and needlework under his mother’s tutelage at the age of ten.
He worked under his mother’s guidance until 1910, when during a trip to Paris at age 15, he was so completely inspired by the fashions he saw, that he decided to become a couturier. In 1915, under the sponsorship of Marquesa de Casa Torres, he established a tailoring business at the fashionable summer resort of San Sebastián, Spain.
It wasn’t long, only 15 years, before Balenciaga was known as a leading couturier of Spain. The Spanish Civil War of 1937 disrupted his business, so he relocated to Paris, and opened his couture shop, the House of Balenciaga. For the next 30 years, he designed splendidly elegant dresses and suits.
His international fame increased dramatically after World War II, when Balenciaga became part of the triad of couturiers who were responsible for dressing the world’s most beautiful women. In 1945, when other designers were staying true to the so-called "new look," Balenciaga designed fitted waists and square shoulders. Never one to follow the fashion conventions set by other designers, he tended to anticipate and create new trends instead.
During the 1950s, he was instrumental in popularizing capes and flowing silhouettes. His designs emphasized harmony and the clothing was always tailored simply, properly fit, correct in proportion and designed for ease in movement. A perfectionist, Balenciaga envisioned garments as three-dimensional forms, and preferred to use fabrics that held their shape with minimal seams or darts.
In 1951, he created a neckline described as both daring and elegant. His creations were timeless, but always ahead of their time, and were constructed to highlight women’s natural curves and hips. The "baby doll" look, which was introduced in 1957, is probably the best known of his contributions to fashion. Other noteworthy designs were the bathrobe-wrap coat, the cocoon coat and the pillbox hat, and he is remembered for his innovative use of plastic for rainwear during the mid-1960s.
A unique couturier who could not only design and drape a garment, but could cut, assemble and sew it by himself, his staff and peers revered him as a "master" and his designs were celebrated for their unparalleled craftsmanship. He was a mentor to several well-known designers, namely Hubert Givenchy, André Courrèges, Emmanuel Ungaro and Oscar de la Renta. Balenciaga was a designer who loved the night, and his breathtaking eveningwear fashions were highly revered.
His last design was a white satin wedding dress made for the duchess of Cadiz. Balenciaga retired in 1968, withdrawing from the spotlight after more than three decades of enchanting women around the world with his spectacular designs. Honoring his predilection for solitude, his last public appearance was at the funeral of Coco Chanel. From his retreat, however, he gave the world insight into the world of couture with these words, "A couturier must be an architect with plans, a sculptor with shapes, a painter with colors, a musician with harmony and a philosopher with moderation." Balenciaga was all of these things and much more. He was a complete artist, one whose aura grows only stronger since his death on 23 March 1972, in Jávea, Alicante, Spain.
Despite his death, the imprint he made on the world of fashion has not waned, and the basic rules of fashion, which he established, are still followed by designers around the world. His legacy is remembered through The House of Balenciaga, although it has since transformed from a bastion of haute couture into a purveyor of ready-to-wear. The House closed in 1968, but now owned by Jacques Bogart SW, it reopened in 1987, and Balenciaga designs are as much in demand as ever.
- Work : New Career 1910 (Courturier)
- Work : Start Business 1915 (Tailoring)
- Financial : Best Period 1930 (Fame as top designer for 30 years)
- Family : Change residence 1937 (Moved to Paris)
- Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1951 (Designed daring neckline)
- Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1957 ("Baby Doll" look)
- Work : Retired 1968
Steinbrecher quotes B.R.
- Traits : Personality : Perfectionist (Quality workmanship)
- Family : Childhood : Family supportive (Age ten, learned to sew from mom)
- Family : Childhood : Family traumatic event (Child when dad died)
- Vocation : Beauty : Designer/ Fashion (Courturier)
- Vocation : Business/Marketing : Product Marketing (Wholesale produce marketing)