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The Shape Of Things To Come

by Julie Malamute, Associate Director

In the amazing retrospective of Spanish couturier Balenciaga currently at the V&A, the exhibit also shows his continued influence with an installation dedicated to the designers he inspires today – from JW Anderson to Gareth Pugh. It is lovely to see how Balenciaga’s desire to break the mould, to create architectural shapes, to use unexpected fabrics, continues to influence designers to take risks and be ground-breaking, just as he did and was.

The things we always knew about Cristóbal Balenciaga are brought to life at the V&A. From his extraordinary use of shapes and silhouettes such as the bubble skirt and the envelope dress, to his attention to sleeves. But there were new things to discover – such as his absolute secrecy for his designs, only showing his collections to the fashion press the day before the clothing retail date. His closeness to his designs, overseeing every last detail and often doing the fittings himself. His belief that every dress starts with the neck and shoulders and once you have that perfect, the rest will fall into place. A wonderful exhibit to see a past legend who continues to impact not only today’s fashions, but future designs as well. The exhibit runs until 18 February 2018.