Balenciaga Fashion House

Balenciaga Fashion House was founded at the beginning of the 20th century by a well-known Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga. The first boutique was opened in San Sebastian in 1918. In the 1930s Balenciaga moved his already noted business to Paris. Afterwards the house flourished for more than 30 years there through its exclusive fashion, jewellery and fragrances, and became one of the most influential haute couture leaders of those times.

Cristóbal Balenciaga

Cristóbal Balenciaga’s reign continued for the next 30 years during which he managed to open other authentic boutiques in Madrid and Barcelona. He was regarded by his fellow designer-colleagues as “The Master” for creating some of the most extravagant and powerful images of the 20th century.

The House’s business was closed in 1968 as Cristóbal Balenciaga retired, and he died just a few years later. From that time until the 1990s the Balenciaga name was associated only with fragrances.

In the mid 90s the owner of the Paris-based store, Nicolas Ghesquière, decided to revive the fashion line of the House. In a short period of time he became one of the strongest designers in the world of fashion.


In 2001 Gucci Group got control over the Balenciaga House and signed partnership with Nicolas Ghesquière, making him both an artistic director and a shareholder of the House. Since then, the company has flourished and modernized its ready-to-wear collection for men and women, adding bags and shoes, opening new commercial areas in Paris, London, Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and some other large fashion capitals.

The brand has become as hot as ever, thanks to new Balenciaga designer and his provident futuristic avant-gardism embodied in collections. Under Nicolas Ghesquière’s influence the House has gained strong influence over other progressive trends on market. There were some conflicts between the Balenciaga House and Nicolas Ghesquière in the beginning of this century where it was decided to check the profitability of the brand within the year 2007, otherwise he would have been replaced. However, Ghesquière’s line proved to be not only profitable but also attracted a large number of prominent celebrities, among them the Vogue editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour.

Nowadays, the brand is also popular for its motorcycle-inspired accessories, especially the Balenciaga Lariat handbags. There were only two functioning boutiques of Balenciaga in the USA, in NYC and in Honolulu, when it was decided to open another leasing spot in 2008 in Boston Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Another Balenciaga opened in Bangkok in 2006.

Ghesquière’s shining moments included the inimitable robot leggings, equestrian helmets, newly reinterpreted prints, his experiments with volume and proportion along with techno-fabrics and science fiction shapes.

Shoes of the brand have also been renovated, either turning into high gladiatorial flats or being decorated with vertiginous wedges. In addition to revitalizing the collection, Ghesquière has overseen the commercial side of business, creating inspirational collections with less expensive pieces.

Among the people who wore Balenciaga regularly were the Queen of Spain, Princess of Monaco, the Duchess of Windsor, and many other top-rank prominent people.

Cristóbal Balenciaga, the undisputed Master of style inspired such couturiers as Emanuel Ungaro, Hubert de Givenchy, Oscar de la Renta and many others.

Modern Balenciaga followers and participants of Balenciaga advertising campaigns include Jennifer Connelly, Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Moss, Orlando Bloom, Vanessa Getty, Kristen Stewart, Gisele Bundchen, Mia Wasikowska and other well-known trendsetters.

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