I love going to exhibitions. There is something so inspiring about seeing someone else’s creativity and trying to understand how they came to it. Personally I don’t mind if it is medieval embroidery, 18th century Japanese art or the work of one of the most important couturiers of the 20th Century, which I visited with the lovely Helen Kurtz.
Cristobal Balenciaga was born at the very back end of the 1800s and was apprenticed early to a local tailor in the Basque region. Clearly learning pattern cutting and how fabric behaves helped him well on the way to his career dressing some of the most famous women in the world. The exhibition contains so many dresses and suits that I immediately recognised but hadn’t realised were his.
What I really loved about the show at the V & A was how they deconstructed some of his most famous pieces to explain his art, using X-rays and animations. There was even a pad showing one of his most famous coats. You could peel off a page, follow the fold lines and perforations to make a little model. I would love to know if I could scale it up to a Juliet-sized coat.
The final room showed how other famous designers had been inspired by Balenciaga. Amazing!
The exhibition is on until February 2018 so plenty of time to go and see it. I might just have to go again.