Cristóbal Balenciaga, the Ultimate Game Changer

At the Paris collections, all eyes were on Balenciaga, as newly envisioned by Demna Gvasalia, of the label Vetements. But a new exhibition in Antwerp takes a look at the master couturier’s influence and legacy.

The exhibition of 100 or so garments examines at the groundbreaking work of Cristóbal Balenciaga, architect of innovation, whose midcentury marvels created a radically loose silhouette and furthered women’s liberation from the corset.

Other designers working in a similar vein and featured in the show include Paul Poiret, Madeleine Vionnet, and Coco Chanel, as well as contemporary labels Ann Demeulemeester, Yohji Yamamoto, and Comme des Garçons, whose collections in the 80s and 90s explored more extreme notions of shape and sculpture. Martin Margiela also plays a large role in the exhibition — no great surprise, as the reclusive Belgian’s influence on the new Balenciaga is undeniable.

Game Changers, March 18 – August 14, 2016, ModeMuseum, Antwerp

Cristóbal Balenciaga, fall 1958, photo Tom Kublin

Cristóbal Balenciaga, fall 1958, photo Tom Kublin

Cristóbal Balenciaga, fall 1967

Maison Martin Margiela, spring 1989

Maison Martin Margiela, fall 2000

Comme des Garçons fall 2012, Vogue Japan, photo Mark Segal

Comme des Garçons, spring 2013

Comme des Garçons, spring 1997, photo Yannis Vlamos

Issey Miyake, photo Francis Giacobetti

Issey Miyake, photo Francis Giacobetti

Yohji Yamamoto, fall 1984, photo Max Vadukul

Iris Van Herpen, spring 2012, photo Ronald Stoops

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