Discover where and how the museum preserves the legacy of the 20th century's greatest designer and make sure that his contribution to the world of fashion, haute couture in particular, and to the world of art in general lives on.
A genius at work
Cristóbal Balenciaga revolutionized the concept of dressing and the female silhouette. For him, perfection was an obligation and his extraordinary technical skils facilitated the task. As a result of his innovative personality, he sought greater simplicity and purity of forms. He was hailed by fashion designer Coco Chanel as "the only true couturier amongst us, able to design, cut, assemble and sew a dress entirely by himself."
Cristóbal Balenciaga deserves the title of “The Master” due to the perfection of his creations and ability to be ahead of his time by creating a new technical and visual language for the female silhouette. His work has stood the test of time is even more relevant today.
The seeming neutrality of the front façade, a dark uninterrupted vertical plane which folds in on itself to frame the Museum’s main entrance, is clearly intended to allow the Palacio to predominate in all its symbolic splendour. Inside the building there are three suspended areas which house the galleries.
The interiors of the six exhibitions rooms are designed to create a calm and an enveloping ambience.
The items in the collection are handled, treated and stored following strict criteria and protocols established by the Museum's Conservation and Restoration department. The department also carries out extensive research, including exhaustive analysis and documentation of the creations housed at the museum, coupled with study of Balenciaga’s personal and professional life.
The pieces are mostly displayed on custom-made mannequins. Their care during the assembly and the time of exhibition is a priority for the museum.
The conditions of the environment are very strict for the conservation of the pieces. Never exceed 50 luxes and 50% humidity.
The textile collections are complemented by the documentary archive that includes the Historical Archive of the Marquises of Casa-Torres, commercial documentation of the Balenciaga House with its clients, work material such as sketches and fabric samples, photographs and personal correspondence of Cristóbal Balenciaga.
There is a permanentely opened research line in the museum to help us to interpret and disseminate the intangible heritage associated with the trade and Balenciaga's work. The aim is to put in value the artisan of this office and pay tribute to those people who worked with Balenciaga and who helped shape his creations.
Since 2014, the museum has conducted a project called “the hands that sew” which seeks to identify the contribution of the many people who worked for Balenciaga over the years, conserving the techniques used in his studios and shedding new light on aspects of his personality, through the eyes of his collaborators.
On december 2014, 25 of Balenciaga's former seamstresses visited the Museum. They saw some of the dresses that they had worked on in the atelier including a very special wedding dress.
Cristóbal Balenciaga Museum: Preserving and Sharing a Heritage
Organiser: Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa
© Fundación Cristóbal Balenciaga