27 May 2017 - 18 February 2018
This small but stunning show opens this Saturday and even if you only have an hour to spare, do pop by to see it. The exhibition is entitled Shaping Fashion and rightly so for looking around at his designs, it is amazing how innovative Cristóbal Balenciaga really was and why, whilst the ground floor of the show reveals over 100 pieces of his work, the floor above is filled with modern designers’ outfits, all inspired by him. The tunic, the baby doll and shift dress were all introduced in the 50s and 60s by Balenciaga who was an absolute perfectionist, draping the material straight onto a mannequin or model and who was obsessed by sleeves. (He thought they were fundamental to an outfit and when they weren’t right, he could be heard shouting in Spanish ‘La manga!’, the sleeve, before picking the garment apart and starting again). He had over 500 people working in his couture house in Paris and interestingly, the exhibition also reveals how people with less money could also afford to buy his creations. From Ava Gardner’s dresses by Balenciaga to Phoebe Philo’s outfit for Tilda Swinton for Celine, it’s a fascinating show and whilst the early talks are already booked out, do try to hear one of the curators tours coming up later in the year.