“With fabrics we do what we can, Balenciaga does what it wants.”

(Christian Dior)

References to Spanish art and culture were always present in Cristóbal's work Balenciaga. The simple and minimalist lines of the religious habits or the architectural volume of these fabrics are a constant in many of her pieces. The air from the bata de cola of a flamenco dancer who can be seen in the ruffles of some dresses, the shine of the suit of lights of a bullfighter transferred with mastery to the embroidered paillette of a bolero jacket, or The aesthetics of clothing at the court of the Austrias reflected in the black fabrics velvety adorned with jet from their creations are just a few examples. Balenciaga continually reviewed history of art and, with his strong personality and style, kept those influences until his period more avant-garde, recovering forms historical and reinterpreting them in a modern.

Thus, the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza now presents an exhibition that links the creation of Balenciaga, the most admired and influential fashion designer of all time, with the tradition of Spanish painting from the 16th to the 20th centuries. This is the first major exhibition dedicated to the Basque fashion designer to be presented in Madrid in almost 50 years and the first to bring together, along with his designs, a selection of paintings by great names in the history of Spanish art, one of his main sources of inspiration.

The tour of the rooms follows a chronological itinerary through the paintings, which they accompany the dresses linked to each style or each painter. Element-Based Connections conceptual, in shapes and volumes, in chromatic complicities, which give rise to a fascinating dialogue between fashion and painting, between the creativity of the brilliant designer and his sources of inspiration. This presentation also allows us to review art from a different point of view, paying attention about painters as creators and transmitters of fashion, and as teachers in the representation of fabrics, textures, folds and volumes. The exhibition space pays tribute to black, one of the fetish colors of designer, and his figure as "architect of the haute couture”, a name that has been perpetuated to this day by the importance of the line and pure forms in his designs, and for many of his great milestones such as the barrel line, the semi-fitted, the skirts ball, tunic, sack dress or baby doll, to conclude at the end of the 1960s in the abstraction.

The exhibition is curated by Eloy Martínez de la Pera, who has selected for the occasion a total of 90 pieces of clothing from the Cristóbal Balenciaga Museum in Getaria, the Costume Museum in Madrid and the Museu del Disseny in Barcelona, ​​as well as numerous national and international private collections, many of them never before exposed. With regard to the paintings, an exceptional set of 55 paintings has been gathered provided by national museums such as the Prado National Museum, the Fine Arts of Bilbao or the Lázaro Galdiano, by foundations such as Santander and Casa de Alba, by collections such as BBVA and by private collections such as those of Abelló or Alicia Koplowitz, and among those include works by El Greco, Velázquez, Murillo, Carreño de Miranda, Zurbarán, Goya, Madrazo or Zuloaga. The project has the collaboration of Herbert Smith Freehills and Las Rozas Village.

Until September 22


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Rocío García