~ Baroness Pauline de Rothschild, 1973
On March 26, 2011, the de Young Museum in San Francisco opens Balenciaga and Spain, an exhibition curated by Hamish Bowles, European editor at large of Vogue, featuring 120 haute couture garments, hats, and headdresses designed by Cristobal Balenciaga (1895-1972). The exhibition illustrates Balenciaga's expansive creative vision, which incorporated references to Spanish art - with the iconic 1939 Infanta dress, a modernist interpretation of the dresses worn by the Infanta Margarita in Velazquez's celebrated portraits - bullfighting, dance, regional costume, and the pageantry of the royal court and religious ceremonies.
As legendary fashion editor Diana Vreeland described him, "Balenciaga was the true son of a strong country filled with style, vibrant color, and a fine history,"who" remained forever a Spaniard....
You can feel the pulse of Spain beat in every garment in Balenciaga and Spain. A dress ruffle and polka-dot patterns inspired by the flamenco dancers; sumptuous embroidery and embellishments that glitters on a bolero jacket worn by a matador; clean and simple lines that extrapolate the minimalist rhythms and volumes of the vestments of Spanish nuns and priests; a velvet-trimmed evening gown aesthetically indebted to the farthingale robe of a Velazquez Infanta.
Cecil Beaton hailed him as " Fashion's Picasso." " In his work Balenciaga shows the refinement of France and the strengh of Spain. He uses fabric like a sculptor working in marble."