Cristóbal Balenciaga was called the King of Fashion, and with good reason: the man was a master of design, working with everyone from royalty to celebrities. But to the likes of Hubert de Givenchy, André Courrèges, and Emanuel Ungaro, he was simply known as mentor.
Design studios are filled with young student designers, and as it so happens, Balenciaga had a particular knack for spotting up-and-coming talent and hiring them work in his atelier. In the 1950s when the yet-to-be icons were starting out in the industry, the French designers honed their craft under the supervision of the Spanish couturier. At one point in 1957 de la Renta was even under Balenciaga’s wing as a fashion illustrator, but out of all his pupils, Givenchy was his star student.
The pair met in 1953, but by the middle of the decade Givenchy arguably reached near-collaborator status, being credited with helping Balenciaga design his famous sack dress (a freer, more youthful silhouette at the time that did away with a waistline). Obviously, Givenchy quickly went on to have an illustrious career of his own, but the designer always remained loyal to his teacher—Givenchy is an honorary founding chairman of the Balenciaga Foundation, which is dedicated to promoting the importance of the designer’s work. In 2011 when the Balenciaga Museum was opened in Spain, Givenchy also donated several pieces from his archive.
Balenciaga, who would have been 123 this week, left behind a legacy as one of the most celebrated couturier’s of the 20th century. But between Givenchy, Courrèges, de la Renta, and Ungaro (who credits the Spaniard with teaching him “rigor and perfectionism”), one can see the subtle ways that fashion knowledge is passed between designers, and how the same skill sets can be applied in so many different, creative ways.END
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createdAt:Mon, 15 Jan 2018 17:51:37 +0000