Balenciaga: From innovative evening gowns to stylish shoes, hoodies and bags

Balenciaga – Who hears the name of the label probably thinks directly of fancy sneakers for men and women. In fact, however, there is much more behind the Parisian fashion label. Whether fashion collections, accessories, fragrances or bags – extravagant fashion lovers get their money’s worth here. The company was founded in 1917 by Cristóbal Balenciaga in the port city of San Sébastian in Spain, right on the French border. The brand for women’s and men’s fashion as well as leather goods then really established itself twenty years later with its headquarters in Paris.

Balenciaga: Stylish prête-à-porter fashion and exceptional fragrances

The famous label was made big by the Spaniard Cristobal Balenciaga. He revolutionized fashion, trends and cuts in his own unique way. With his modern approach to fashion design he even convinced the then leading designer of the European fashion world – Christian Dior, who himself became world famous with new, unusual silhouettes.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about the latest styles and trends the label is setting.

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From fishing village to metropolis

The world-famous Parisian company Balenciaga is actually a Spanish label. In 1917, the founder opened his first salon for high-priced women’s fashion in Madrid and Barcelona. At that time the name of the label was still “Balenciaga y Compañia”, which quickly dissolved due to disputes between the partners and re-established itself in 1924 under the name Cristóbal Balenciaga.

With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, the company emigrated to Paris and presented skin couture fashion for the first time. Opened in 1938, the salon at 10, Avenue George V is still the most famous Balenciaga flagship store.

In a very short time, the Spanish-born designer and his French-Polish life partner made their breakthrough by offering their fashion for sale in the leading British and American department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Harrods or Bloomingdales. (possibly internal links?)

Haute couture: Balenciaga as a trendsetter

Luxurious materials, high quality workmanship and individually tailored fashion creations in the top price segment: these were the advantages with which the fashion of Balenciaga scored in the years between 1940 and 1960. As a pioneering trendsetter, Cristóbal Balenciaga created innovative designs for women, which also convinced prominent customers such as Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Ava Gardner and Ginger Rodgers and not without reason earned him the rank of “King of Haute Couture”.

Pompous gowns and elegant bolero jackets inspired by the Parisian chic of the time, combined with influences on the flamenco, characterize this time. But also more modern pieces, such as the so-called “shirt” dress stand for this era.

At this time, Balenciaga works closely with fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy and presents his fashion on the New York catwalks, among others.

Silhouettes that stand the test of time – Video

Other well-known fashion designers such as Emanuel Unagaro and Oscar de la Renta also benefit from the label’s innovative and creative designs.

See for yourself and discover the unique art of Cristóbal Balenciaga’s haute couture:

Share: Balenciaga on the stock exchange?!

The stock market is also becoming more and more interesting for fashion victims, because many of the big traditional houses can now be found on the stock market. Overall, the textile industry is no stranger to bankers and analysts. Balenciaga can be found together with Gucci, Bottega Venetta and Saint Laurent under the umbrella of the French Kering Group. In the luxury brand segment, Kering, together with LVMH, is the place to go on the stock exchange for all fans of luxury brands. Current stock prices can be found on various websites.

Nicolas Ghesquière: From second choice to number one

Actually, Ghesquière was not intended for the position as creative director of the prestigious fashion house, but the attempts of the management to win Helmut Lang as head designer failed. So in the end it was decided to give the Frenchman, who until then had been rather inexperienced as head designer of a major fashion house, a chance.

No one at Balenciaga should have regretted this decision, because Ghesquière managed to interpret the designs of the old master Balenciaga in a modern, fresh way and thus breathe new life into the dusty reputation. Only after 15 successful years did the label and the designer part ways.

SS 2013: Ghesquière’s farewell collection – Video

See the designer’s latest collection here, which already gives an idea of the label’s future, as Wang also opted for a simple, very clear line, while Ghesquière was also very fond of colour in his previous collections.

Alexander Wang: Straightforwardness with short duration

In 2012 Alexander Wang became head designer and presented his first collection for Balenciaga at Paris Fashion Week in February 2013. However, Wang’s time at Balenciaga was short-lived and he and the label parted ways so that Wang could fully focus on developing his own label.

FW 2013: Clear line in clothes and shoes – Video

Really not a big fan of many colors and patterns is the ‘inventor’ of the model off-duty look Alexander Wang. Neutral tones dominate his creations, but what makes the clothes so special are the casual street style elements that break up the elegance of the pieces and add an edgy touch. Especially rivets, safety pins, but also rhinestones are not long in Wang’s creations, see for yourself:

Demna Gvasalia: Streetwear for a breath of fresh air

After Alexander Wang’s early departure in 2015, Demna Gvasalia took the helm of the French label, making the first collection under his leadership for fall and winter 2016. The fashion designer is the founder of the brand ‘Vetements’ (French for ‘clothing’), which since 2014 has been producing just that: Clothes. Because Gvasalia wants to see this in fashion – wearable clothes that are there for you in everyday life.

The brand got special attention when he presented the clothes of his brand in a famous Parisian sex club. The unusual environments for his fashion continued, for example, in an Asian restaurant. After the Ghesquière era, Gvasalia obviously brought the breath of fresh air that the brand had hoped for, because Gvasalia came to stay. To this day, the Georgian is at the helm of the brand and plans to return to haute couture in the coming collections after the excursion into more everyday fashion, which was also seen at brands like Céline.

Gucci x Balenciaga: two giants unite? – Video

About a year before Gvasalia became creative head of Balenciaga, Gucci also got new leadership under Alessandro Michele. Both designers were able to breathe fresh air into the sails of the traditional houses left to them. Not least seen in the success of Balenciaga’s ‘Sock Sneakers’, which shook the world of sneaker heads and were snatched right out of Balenciaga’s hands.

For the fall 2021 collection of the Italian fashion label Alessandro Michele was inspired by Demna Gvasalia’s designs for Balenciaga in an unprecedented way and caused a huge uproar in the fashion world, because a collaboration of this caliber has not seen the fashion world until this point. You can’t talk about a collaboration here, but in fact the eccentric Italian was inspired by past collections of Balenciaga and Demna Gvasalia. You can see the result here:

Exceptional perfumes and leather goods

Normally handbags, perfumes and small leather goods often form the backbone of big traditional houses. The best example of this ‘rule’ are brands like Dior, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and especially Hermès. Bag styles such as the Lady Dior, the Chanel 2.55 or Boy Bag, Louis Vuitton Speedy and Alma, and the Hermès Birkin make up a large part of these brands’ sales. Also perfumes like Dior Poison or Chanel No. 5 are the small, less expensive options that luxury brands offer even to those who do not have the spare change for one of the handbags for often over 1,000 €.

It’s all the more surprising, then, that Balenciaga hasn’t embraced leather goods and fragrances in the same way as other brands. Although in recent years the small ‘baguette’ handbags in the style of the early 2000s, often called Y2K, have been spotted under the arms of models and other street style enthusiasts, Balenciaga cannot boast a cult model, which is also due to the label’s origins in evening gowns and haute couture.

Noble, floral fragrances with that special something – Video

Also surprising to some may be that Balenciaga offers perfumes. Balenciaga Paris is a fresh floral fragrance with a robust, slightly woody-leathery note that wraps you in an elegant veil of scent. This video gives you a little insight into the world of the fragrance:

Prête-à-porter: late entry into T-shirts, sweaters and more

Cristobal Balenciaga was a couturier extraordinaire, specializing his outlandish ideas mainly in evening wear and stunning gowns that women all over the world craved. It wasn’t until 1997 that the fashion house made the move to ready-to-wear fashion, which still makes up the majority of its collections today. Especially with the current head designer Demna Gvasalia the position in streetwear has manifested itself more and more.

Hoodies, T-shirts and sneakers by Balenciaga convince the masses and bring the luxury label on everyone’s lips. But above all, the shoes are an absolute must-have. Balenciaga without streetwear and streetwear without Balenciaga? Unthinkable! So it is all the more surprising that the luxury brand’s prête-à-porter range has not been available for all that long. It was only in 2002 that Nicolas Ghesquière introduced everyday clothing for men and women under the label.

T-Shirts: Statement shirts and inspirations from world events

Ready-to-wear is exactly what Demna Gvasalia does best. The Georgian has already been inspired by everyday life for his own label Vetements. At Balenciaga he continues to rely on these ideas. Whether from political campaigns or simply the T-shirts from souvenir shops: Nothing is safe from being included in a new interpretation in the label’s collection. This can be seen, for example, in the following models:

  • Sacré Cœur XL T-Shirt
  • Political Campaign Large Fit T-Shirt
  • Fashion Week Flatground T-Shirt

Statement shirts are just your thing? Then check out our shirt shop, packed with cool t-shirt designs for every taste!

Current shoe trends: Balenciaga Triple S

The Balenciaga Triple S is the trend sneaker right now. See for yourself and see how you can skillfully stage your trendy Triple S sneakers and combine them with your outfit.

Fashion Show Summer 2020

Want to see more from Balenciaga? Here you can find a video of the fashion show summer 2020.

Show Case 21

Take a look for yourself and find the absolute IT-pieces of the 2021 collection.