Bendigo Art Gallery is no stranger to international fashion and design exhibitions. After hosting the incredible Marimekko exhibition last year, the gallery has now partnered with the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to bring the work of revolutionary Spanish fashion designer Cristóbal Balenciaga exclusively to Australia, for the exhibition Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion.
Director Jessica Bridgfoot explains that the conversation with the V&A started two years ago, with the London and Bendigo galleries working together closely to build a successful collaborative relationship. The resulting exhibition brings Balenciaga to Bendigo in spectacular glory, showing the Spanish designer’s ‘incredible innovation, his colossal influence and the enduring legacy on fashion as we know it today’ Jessica explains.
Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion presents the best of Balenciaga, with a particular focus on iconic garments from the 50s and 60s. In addition to highlighting his revolutionary designs of the sack dress (who knew!), and baby doll, the exhibition features sketches, patterns, photographs, fabric samples and catwalks designs. See fabric bloom in the Tulip Dress, and a dramatic statement in the opulent Opera Coat.
Jessica highlights that the robust exhibition is ‘almost two exhibitions in one.’ The show traces the ongoing legacy of Cristóbal Balenciaga, whose work influenced both minimalist and wildly experimental designers including Issey Miyake, Iris van Herpen, Emanuel Ungaro, and Demna Gvsalia (current designer House of Balenciaga). The immersive exhibition captures the surreal and eccentric elements of Balenciaga’s designs, and reveals a little of his famously elusive personality.
Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion also demonstrates the designer’s challenge to fashion conventions, and positive ideas about the many ways female beauty should be expressed and felt. Jessica explains ‘whilst Balenciaga created magnificent ball gowns and tailored suits, he also revolutionised the female silhouette through an abandonment of the waistline.’ For anyone who enjoys a loose shift dress, or swishing tunic silhouette – you’ve got Cristóbal to thank!
Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion
Exhibition organised by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Exclusive to Bendigo Art Gallery in Australia
August 17th – November 10th
Bendigo Art Gallery
42 View Street