Sunday, March 27, 2011

Balenciaga of Spain at the de Young

On Friday, I was fortunate enough to attend the preview event for the Balenciaga of Spain special exhibit at the de Young Museum.The exhibit displays a beautiful overview of the work of the amazing Spanish couturier Cristobal Balenciaga and will be on display from March 26th until July 4th.Being that I am absolutely not a fashion expert I’m not going to try and get all fancy about what I saw….but I will tell you what I would do if I were to go again and some things to look out for should you decide to go.

-You are not allowed to take pictures. I wish I had brought a sketch book to quickly jot things down that inspired me.

-When you first walk in you will see the pink gown (shown above). I appreciated the detail of the words matching the dress on the black background. Simple but impactful.

-I didn’t get the headphones so I can’t speak to that but as you go along, stop and read the text. It’s a quick read and gives you great history about the designer and his inspirations.

-The first area has two sides: There are suits, evening gowns and dresses. Make sure you look at both sides before going through. I walked the right side then decided to circle around to the left at the very end and had to fight the foot traffic of people as I was the only one going that direction.

-My favorite suit is gray with the AMAZING collar (you’ll know it when you see it)

-Don’t miss any of the freestanding dresses incased in glass. Take in the 360 view of the dresses.

-The green dress that looks like a pea pod…looks unusual at first but really, look close at how it is meant to be warn. Try and figure out where your arms go. This was my favorite dress.

-The flamenco section. Wow. Notice the boleros. Doesn’t that look like something you would wear today?

-Don’t forget about the dresses in the middle of this section. I almost overlooked them.

-Many of the paintings you see on the walls of the exhibit were the inspirations that the designs you see were drawn from!

-Example: Balenciaga's "Infanta" dress from 1939 was inspired by the Diego Velázquez painting

-Example: The black evening ensemble with "chou" wrap from 1967 was inspired by the La Duquesa de Alba painting

-After I had finished seeing everything, I was disappointed that they didn’t show any of the sketches for what we saw. Wrong!

-If you walk through the gift shop they have the sketches just on the other side. This could have easily been overlooked and would have been greatly missed.

-They show the sketch of the green dress that I loved. There is also a lovely quote about Balenciaga from Coco Chanel.

-Just before you exit, there is a black and white video from a Balenciaga runway show. The entire video is less than 10 minutes and it’s worth watching.

-It’s fun to see how casual the runways used to be and they even show a model in my favorite dress! It was like seeing the dress come full circle!

As you can tell….I LOVED the exhibit. I was thinking “That dress would fit me!” or “I would love to try that on!”. I kept waiting for Hamish Bowles to come around the corner and insist that I put one on. A girl can dream right?

Credits: Image One, Image Two

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