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Cristóbal Balenciaga: Master of Tailoring

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Considered “the master of us all” by his contemporary Christian Dior, Cristóbal Balenciaga was adored by the fashion world and social elites of the 20th century. Known for his quiet lifestyle and reserved nature, the couturier honed a lasting legacy of mystery, while his sartorial compositions, with their immaculate tailoring and brilliant executions, continue to articulate his innate sense of style that has stood the test of time.

Cristóbal Balenciaga: Master of Tailoring beckons viewers into the classical oasis of the Spanish couturier’s Parisian showroom to experience his habitude with hushed reverence, immersed in his chapel-like salon frequented by the Hollywood starlets and royalty who donned his creations. Featuring an expert curation of rarely seen archival pieces from the 1940s to the late 1960s, with many making their U.S. debut, Master of Tailoring affirms the prowess and breadth of the couturier’s work in an elegant display of his signature silhouettes with a touch of the unexpected.

In this exclusive exhibition, the art of Balenciaga’s mastery is unveiled through more than 30 garments, ranging from exquisitely made daywear to evening gowns worn by Hollywood icons Elizabeth Taylor and Dolores del Río. With highlights from the extensive collection of the Fondation Azzedine Alaïa, contributions from the Balenciaga Archives, and original Balenciaga-EISA sketches and communications from the archives at Parodi Costume Collection, Master of Tailoring uniquely encompasses the process of haute couture from the perspectives of both the couturier and client.

Master of Tailoring is curated by Gaël Mamine, head of collections of Fondation Azzedine Alaïa, in collaboration with Gaspard de Massé, head of archives at Balenciaga, and Gonzalo Parodi, director of Parodi Costume Collection, and organized by Rafael Gomes, creative director of SCAD FASH museums.