This symposium will examine the thesis of the exhibition: the power of the Spanish imagination, and of its cultural and artistic history, on the work of one of the 20th century's greatest designers.
Miren Arzalluz studied History at the University of Deusto (Spain) and Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics before specializing in the history of dress and fashion at the Courtauld Institute of Art. After working in various British museums, such as the V&A and Kensington Palace, she became curator at the Balenciaga Foundation in 2007. Her research covers the history of fashionable dress on the 20th century with particular emphasis on the life and work of Balenciaga.
She has recently published the book CristÃ³bal Balenciaga: La Forja del Maestro (1895-1936), which focuses on the life and professional development of Balenciaga before establishing his haute couture house in Paris. She is currently working on the permanent exhibition and catalogue of the new Balenciaga Museum project in Guetaria, the couturierÂ´s hometown.
Hamish Bowles is a fashion journalist and contributing author to Yves Saint Laurent: Style.
He also is the European editor-at-large for American Vogue; author and co-author of several books, including Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People and Carolina Herrera: Portrait of a Fashion Icon; and curator of the landmark exhibition Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years.
Lourdes Font is associate professor in the department of History of Art and in the M.A. program for Fashion and Textile Studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Among her recent publications are Fashion and Visual Art. Font is the co-editor of and contributor to the Grove Dictionary of Art Online. She has also contributed articles and essays to West 86: A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture, to the Cooper-Hewitt Museum's exhibition catalogue Fashion in Colors, and to Fashion Theory.
Hamish Bowles, European editor-at-large of American Vogue, discusses the influence of abstract contemporary Spanish artists, such as Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró, on the work of legendary fashion designer Cristóbal Balenciaga.
(born Jan. 21, 1895, Guetaria, Spaindied March 23, 1972, Valencia) Spanish-French fashion designer. He studied dressmaking as a child and was inspired to become a couturier by a visit to Paris. By age 20 he had his own firm in San Sebastián. Over the next 15 years Balenciaga became the leading couturier of Spain. In 1937, when the Spanish Civil War disrupted his business, he moved to Paris. For the next 30 years his collections featured sumptuously elegant dresses and suits. Balenciaga helped popularize the trend toward capes and flowing clothes without waistlines in the late 1950s as well as the use of plastic for rainwear in the mid 1960s. He retired in 1968.
This symposium is invaluable to anyone interested in fashion, especially about Balenciaga. Having watched it, I felt like I had a complete understanding of the house of Balenciaga and used this knowledge while visiting the de Young Museum's excellent show.