Balenciaga (Spanish pronunciation: [balenˈθjaɣa]) is a fashion house founded by Cristóbal Balenciaga, a Basque designer, born in the Basque Country, Spain. He had a reputation as a couturier of uncompromising standards and was referred to as "the master of us all" by Christian Dior. His bubble skirts and odd, feminine, yet ultra-modern shapes were trademarks of the house. The house of Balenciaga is now owned by the French multinational company PPR.
Cristóbal Balenciaga opened his first boutique in San Sebastián, Spain in 1918, which expanded to include branches in Madrid and Barcelona. The Spanish royal family and the aristocracy wore his designs, but when the Spanish Civil War forced him to close his stores, Balenciaga moved to Paris.
Balenciaga opened his Paris couture house on Avenue George V in August 1937, and his first runway show featured designs heavily influenced by the Spanish Renaissance. Balenciaga's success in Paris was nearly immediate. Within two years, the French press lauded him as a revolutionary, and his designs were highly sought-after. Carmel Snow, the editor of Harper's Bazaar was an early champion of his designs.
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