Biography of Cristóbal Balenciaga, fashion designer

Cristóbal Balenciaga was born in Guetaria a small fishing village on the North Spanish Basque coast. (Just over the French border). His Father was a fisherman and while he was away at sea, his mother took in sewing. From a young age, the young Balenciaga was fascinated by the art of tailoring and had soon taught himself to cut and sew.

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Cristóbal Balenciaga
Cristóbal Balenciaga by François Kollar

Cristobal Balenciaga Fashion Designer Biography. The rich and titled Casa Torres family from Madrid occupied a villa in Guetaria during the summer and Cristobal played with the children of the household. Their grandmother, the Marquesa de Casa Torres was an elegant woman who, when the boy was in his early teens, and already enthralled with beauty and elegance, allowed him to copy one of her Drecoll suits. From the moment he delivered his copy, the Marquesa was Balenciaga’s patron.

In 1909 Cristobal Balenciaga travelled to Paris where he absorbed the images of collections by Doucet, Worth, Drecoll, and many more great Fashion Houses of the time. Back in San Sebastian in Northern Spain.I


In 1911 Cristobal Balenciaga he worked in a fashion shop. Soon he had a tailoring shop of his own, financed by the Marquesa, then three, in Madrid, Barcelona and San Sebastian. At the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in 1937 he left Spain for Paris, where he prospered for 30 years creating wonderful designs. He opened his Maison de Couture at 10, Avenue Georges V, Paris.

In 1938, Cristobal Balenciaga. His’Fashion House was the place to go for dresses that according to Harper’s Bazarr, “fitted the figure like a wet glove”, and many of his black jersey hip-draped dresses looked ahead to a prevalent forties silhouette. For evenings he showed ball gowns with skirts a “mile wide” held out not by hoops but by crinolines and petticoats”.

The 1940s is where our collection of designs begins, and we hope it will be an ever continuing journey, for his style is truly that of a great Fashion Icon. 1941 – Embroidered Evening Dress.

Balenciaga Icon

1944 – Artist Christian Berard.

Cristobal Balenziaga Fashion Designer

In 1945 the style chosen was square shoulders and close fitting waistlines. In 1946 the Artist: Christian Berard painted this with a Spanish theme.

Cristobal Balenziaga Fashion Designer

1946 – The ultimate red dress for high impact at any gathering.Cristobal Balenziaga Fashion Designer 1947 – Cristobal Balenciaga created Le Dix a perfume using the number of the address on the Avnue George V, Paris.Cristobal Balenziaga Fashion Designer 1948 – Evening gown with black bodice and long black gloves.Cristobal Balenziaga Fashion DesignerCristobal Balenciaga was always carefully scrutinizing the figure as well as the cut, and ever so carefully relating the two in a genuinely creative manner. His Fashion House built up some of the most elegant women of the postwar years. Some of his Client’s included the Queen of Spain, the Queen of Belgium, The Dutchess of Windsor and Princess Grace of Monaco. They were all recognised as some of the best dressed women in the world.In the 1950′s he designed coats with wide collars , tunics and sack dresses.1957 – A pink ball gown with an unusual curved hemline.

Cristobal Balenziaga Fashion Designer

1958 – Cristobal Balenciaga was awarded a Chevalier de La Legion d’Honneur. His last appearance was at he funeral of Coco Chanel who once said ” that Balenciaga was the only Coutourier able to design, cut, assemble and sew a dress together entirely by himself”.

NEW RARE Image found August 2016.    

 Balenciaga 1939

Balenziaga Fashion Designer 1939
October 1939 Balenciaga

Red & Black make a stunning colour combination for the evening.


In 1968 Cristobal Balenciaga decided to close the Fashion House.

Cristobal Balenziaga Fashion Designer