Your little fashion lovers will rejoice over the new exhibition at The Kimbell Art Museum. Balenciaga in Black made its debut at this Fort Worth museum Oct. 7, showcasing the late Spanish fashion designer, Cristóbal Balenciaga’s, elegant and timeless designs. The museum partnered with Palais Galliera, The City of Paris’s museum of fashion, to bring over a hundred costumes and accessories from the Balenciaga archives overseas. Balenciaga in Black also features select pieces from the Texas Fashion Collection at the University of North Texas in Denton.
Balenciaga, often noted as “the couturier’s couturier” debuted his first collection in 1937 and closed his Paris salon in 1968, marking this year the 50th anniversary of his closing. The collection at The Kimbell houses some of his greatest designs between the 1940s and 1960s, with the earliest piece dating back to 1938. The exhibition is divided into several sections, each showcasing a unique aspect of Balenciaga’s designs: structured volumes, abstract volumes, draped black, black and transparency, black and sheen and black and colors.
The designer’s talent and impact on the fashion industry is alive and well, and demonstrated in his designs. He experimented with tulle, lace and detail such as hand-sewn feathers and capes, in addition to creating an array of silhouettes, from cinched to drop-down waist dresses and flamenco-style dresses. Balenciaga would also work with jewelry designers who made accessories specifically for his garments. Incredible attention to detail and stunning silhouettes aside, his collection also shares another common element: it’s all in black (except for the occasional pop of pink). To Balenciaga, creating garments in black paid homage to his Spanish roots and allowed him to truly experiment with his creations.
The Goya in Black and White debut, featuring works of revered Spanish artist Francisco de Goya, compliments Balenciaga in Black. As Helena Lopez de Hierro notes in the Balenciaga in Black book, Balenciaga’s “use of mantillas, lace and flounces evoke Goya. His work consistently embodied the soul of Spain.”
Peruse both exhibitions with the kiddos to explore some of Spain’s culture and history, in addition to feasting your eyes upon the collection of a world-renowned fashion designer. Mark your calendar for The Kimbell’s family-fun event Nov. 4, “Folktales and Fashion,” where your mini fashionistas can sculpt and sew looks of their own for some of their favorite fairytale characters. Plus, event attendance will include a complimentary admission to Balenciaga in Black.
Balenciaga in Black and Goya in Black and White will be on display at The Kimbell Art Museum through January 6, 2019.