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Cristobal Balenciaga Cristobal Balenciaga was born in 1895 just over the French border in an ancient fishing village called Guetaria in Spains Basque country In 1937 after opening his own tailoring shops in Madrid Barcelona San Sebastian and Guetaria he emigrated to Paris due to the Spanish Civil War His designs instantly met with acclaim and he would remain there for more than 30 years His clientele included many of the most elegant women of the postwar years and he constantly trained younger men like Givenchy Andre Courreges and Emanuel Ungaro By the early 1950s Balenciaga had emerged as the foremost creator among couturiers and it was to him that everyone looked at to see the future As a result of his shyness a mystique grew up around him as a result of the perfectionism of his work an aura grew up around the clothes Balenciaga was able to maintain his ability to always be several steps ahead of other couturiers with his incredible integrity and self-allegiance a fidelity to art as much as to craft As a great artist he understood how to interpret his resources rather than merely copy them The somber blacks and browns of the Old Spanish masters were among his favorite colors and the influence of early moderns like Monet and Manet were also found in his designs His clothes were so beautiful and elegant and so skillfully designed that a woman did not need to have a perfect body to wear them They moved with the body and were comfortable as well as fashionable Although his clothes did come with a disclaimer No woman can make herself chic if she is not chic herself Only women who could carry them wore his designs He was noted for his huge evening coats with dolman sleeves long full skirts tunic and chemise dresses fitted dressmaker suits pillbox hats perfumes scarves the seven-eighths coat
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