This is going to be the summer of inspiration. I am determined to see several exhibits around the country.
1st stop, San Francisco to see the Balenciaga and Isabel de Borchgrave exhibits.
Balenciaga, that most fabulous mid-century Spanish designer, is at the De Young Museum. Wow and wow again. Amazingly beautiful!
Cristobal Balenciaga was a master of that most difficult of skills; editing down to the essence of an idea.
I took a picture or two, including the one above of flamenco inspired gowns,… until a very polite guard asked me to stop. They have a no photo policy. Sigh.
So instead of photos, I made quick sketches on the back of a card. I had to remind myself what my art teachers had told me, to really remember something, draw it.
I also found postcards and books in the gift shop.
But what gorgeous things I saw! Like this coat, with soft folds down the sleeves. It’s fashion as architecture, the logical outcome of form, function and fabric.
And the simplicity of this matador inspired pink jacket with a fantastic trim of gradated pink balls. So cool.
Towards the end of his career, Balenciaga’s work became more conceptual and his designs more abstracted, as exemplified by this beautiful 1967 wedding gown.
Or this fantastic sculptural silk evening dress. Wild, yes?
Cristobal Balenciaga opened his first fashion house in 1919. In 1937, after the outbreak of the Spanish civil war, he moved to Paris where he opened the House of Balenciaga. After years of success and acclaim, he closed his fashion house in 1968 and retired to his home in Spain.
Next stop, the Legion of Honor to see Isabelle de Borchgrave’s paper dresses.
Yes, paper. Inexpensive common paper, painted, folded, crimped, gathered and pierced to look like fabric.
One of my favorite rooms, an homage to Fortuny. The gowns, the sheer curtain walls, the lace-like tent top, all painted and manipulated paper.
De Borchgrave looks to historical fashion for her inspirations, everything from the widest of the 18th century paniers to the narrow and straight dresses of the 1920s, the ruffled lace collars of Elizabethan England to the sheer and gossamer silks of Fortuny’s early 20h century Venice.
A detail of a “lace” collar, paper, painted and [very!] carefully cut.
Amazing, yes? I am satisfied.