Cristóbal Balenciaga Eizaguirre was a Spanish Basque fashion designer and the founder of the Balenciaga fashion house. He had a reputation as a couturier of uncompromising standards and was referred to as "the master of us all" by Christian Dior and as "the only couturier in the truest sense of the word" by Coco Chanel, who continued, "The others are simply fashion designers". He continues to be revered as the supreme deity of the European salons. On the day of his death, in 1972, Women's Wear Daily ran the headline "The king is dead".
Since 2011 the purpose built Museo Balenciaga has exhibited examples of his work in his birth town Getaria. Many of the 1200 pieces in the collection were supplied by his pupil Hubert de Givenchy and clients such as Grace Kelly.