Yesterday Hamish Bowles and Oscar de la Renta gave a talk for the CFDA on the history of Cristobal Balenciaga and his namesake fashion house. I wish I could have been there. Bowles knows so much about this industry and de la Renta actually worked with the couturier. Bowles actually curated the exhibit and is quite an expert on the designer saying that he
Thanks to CFDA's lovely tweeter I got some of these jewels from the lecture:
“People say: ‘You worked at Balenciaga? What did you do?’ ” Mr. de la Renta said. “It was very simple. I was picking up pins on the floor.”
and these lovely pictures! Thank goodness for camera phones right?
(the pictures of the dresses are compliments of @amyodell)
The exhibit and talk are at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute in NYC. Cristobal Balenciaga was a Spaniard, the son of a sailor, who became the best dressmaker of the 20th century. Christian Dior was even in awe of him. The 30s and 40s were really his eras. He set up shop in Paris and the French loved him. He taught the other revolutionary of fashion Hubert de Givenchy who was his closest confidante in the fashion industry. Balenciaga was never a fan of the press and had a few spats with them. One day out of the blue in the late 60s he closed the doors to his fashion house. He died shortly after.
In the nineties the house was reborn and Josephus Thimister restored the brand to it's elite status and then current genius Nicolas Ghesquière came to be head designer in 1997. It's truly changed, but in some ways it's stayed the same. Both Ghesquière and Balenciaga himself challenged boundaries and were revolutionaries of their time.
Unfortunately I can't find any pictures of Josephus Thimister's stint at the fashion house, but I shall continue my hunt!