Brand profile: Balenciaga Kids
Brand Profile Balenciaga Kidswear
Brand Profile Balenciaga Kidswear gives a history of the prestigious Balenciaga house and why we are so proud to have it as one of our brands at Designer Childrenswear. Read on to discover the Balenciaga story!
Who was Balenciaga?
Cristóbal Balenciaga Eizaguirre born 21st January 1895, was a Spanish fashion designer and founder of the Balenciaga fashion house. He was famously known for his talents as a couturier with both Chanel and Dior sighting him as the best in the business.
Born in Getaria, Spain, his father was a fisherman and his mother a seamstress. Balenciaga’s father died when he was a small boy, so he spent a lot of time with his mother watching her work. By the age of twelve, he became a tailor’s apprentice and as a teenager, the Marquess de Casa Torres, the foremost noblewoman in his town, became his customer and patron, sending him to Madrid to be formally trained in tailoring. During his early career in Spain, Balenciaga was incredibly successful. Starting out with a boutique in San Sebastian in 1919, his growing popularity with the Spanish aristocracy and royal family saw branches in both Madrid and Barcelona follow suit. When the Spanish Civil War happened, Balenciaga was forced to close his shops in Spain and move to Paris, where he opened a couture house on Avenue George V in 1937. His first fashion show featured designs influenced by the Spanish Renaissance; his success in Paris was almost immediate with the French press hailing him as a fashion revolutionary and his designs being highly sought after.
Balenciaga was most famously known for his inventiveness. He played around with figure and form and constantly shifted lines to create new styles. During the post-war years, his lines became more sleek, a look in complete contrast to Christian Dior’s famous hourglass-shaped ‘New Look’. In 1951, he created a completely new style by broadening the shoulders and removing the prominent waistline popularised at the time. From here he went on to design the tunic dress, the chemise dress and the famous Empire-line, with high-waisted dresses and coats cut like kimonos being two of his most popular styles.
Balenciaga also taught fashion design classes, working with other designers such a Hubert Givenchy and Oscar de la Renta to name a couple.
In 1968, Balenciaga retired from fashion at the age of 74. He passed away four years later.
Since Cristobal Balenciaga’s passing in 1972, the house has had its fair share of forward thinking creative directors. Nicholas Ghesquière, now at Louis Vuitton, took the helm in 1997, followed by Alexander Wang in 2012. Demna Gvasalia, formerly of Vetements is Balenciaga’s current creative director. Since being at the house, he won Accessories Designer of the Year at the Fashion Awards in 2018. The house is owned by the Kering group and reports that Balenciaga was it’s fastest growing brand on 2018, largely due to the sale of footwear and accessories.
From once being a couture brand, Balenciaga has been heavily transformed to a brand now championing streetwear and reviling similar labels such as Off-White and Vetements. It’s thick soled Triple S trainer is said to be it’s best seller, followed closely by the sock trainer.