A New Exhibition Explores Balenciaga’s Use of Fashion’s Most Dramatic Color
Kunstmuseum Den Haag presents “Balenciaga in Black.”
Kunstmuseum Den Haag commemorates the 50th anniversary of Cristóbal Balenciaga’s death with “Balenciaga in Black,” an all-new exhibition showcased in the Netherlands. The collection explores the late couturier’s enchanting use of black across 100 masterpieces, each provided by the Palais Galliera and Maison Balenciaga in Paris.
The intimacy and serenity of Balenciaga’s atelier are emulated in the exhibition space, where under a hazy light, anonymous mannequins reveal complex and sculptural designs. Archived tailored suits, dazzling evening gowns and voluminous baby doll dresses all become accentuated without the distraction of color, revealing rich, contrasting textures and intricate details.
Throughout the Spanish taskmaster’s life, black represented the favored choice to display his artistry, not only for its versatility and elegance but for the hue’s deep connection with Spanish identity. Unlike most tailors at the time, the couturier’s use of black was passionately involved in every stage of thinking and making — several prototypes in black toile are also featured in the display.
This quiet examination of fashion’s most dramatic color across lace, embroidery, velvet, draped silk, fringes and shimmering sequins reveals Balenciaga’s true design codes. The master’s work for the house was exalted by a strict yet composed haute couture craft; his own view of sculpturing the body through precision and revolutionary silhouettes left an everlasting legacy.
In addition to over 60 garments, the exhibition features hats, jewelry, drawings, film footage and photographs from the Maison Balenciaga archives. “Balenciaga in Black” coincides with a time the brand has been hailed as “the hottest high fashion brand on the planet right now,” as described by Vogue.
Demna, the current fashion house’s creative director, has succeeded in maintaining the brand’s status as it had seventy years ago. The Georgian designer keeps drawing inspiration from the unsurpassed master Cristóbal Balenciaga by experimenting with black, volumes, and three-dimensional designs.
In an interview with BBC Culture, Madelief Hohé, the exhibition’s curator, highlighted, “He used black more than any other designer, and he used it in a very different way. Black emphasized the geometry and sculptural quality of his bold designs, such as the balloon and the envelope, giving him the freedom to concentrate more on the form of the object.”
The exhibition is now available to visit until March 2023 and will be the first time a large selection of Balenciaga’s work is showcased in the Netherlands.
Take a look inside the space above. In case you missed it, check out Balenciaga’s Spring/Summer 2023 collection.
Kunstmuseum Den Haag
The Hague, 2517,