April 30, 2021

Alaïa and Balenciaga. Sculptors of the shape

«In the history of fashion, these two great silent figures, immune to the effects of trends, have had a lot to say to each other.» OLIVIER SAILLARD

The exhibition “Alaïa and Balenciaga. Sculptors of the shape”, curated by Oliver Saillard and Gäel Mamine, which hosts the Cristobal Balenciaga Museum coinciding with its tenth aniversary, presents one hundred Works by both creators – Azedine Alaïa (1935-2017) and Cristobal Balenciaga (1895-1972) – belonging to the collections of the Azzedine Alaïa Foundation in Paris. Project that both institutions undertake in memory of Hubert de Givenchy, the original promoter of this idea.

The exhibition, in addition to revealing unexpected coincidences, both formal and bioigraphical, shows us some revealing differences in the work of both creators. One of them is the relationship with the woman’s body, these differences stem form a disparate conception of the ideal of women and feminine beauty, which, without a doubt, respond to time of each one.

For azzedine Alaïa, Cristóbal Balenciaga was “the most loved, the most appreciated”. The two couturiers shared a perfect balance of measurements and volumes, a superior architecture in their coats and jackets and an incessant search to make invisible the seams that confirm their mastery of the cut.

The designs of Alaïa and Balenciaga dialogue, at the Cristóbal Balenciaga Museum in Getaria, inaugurated on June 7, 2011 in the couturier’s hometown and the scene of his years of training and professional maturation, highlighting the timeless legacy and contribution of these two sculptors from form to fashion history.

The exhibition Alaïa y Balenciaga. Sculptors of Form brings together for the first time one hundred pieces by both creators in a dialogue that, under the direction of Olivier Saillard, shows a surprising number of shared elements, both in the creative process and in the design.

The sample occupies six exhibition rooms, 1,000 m2 of the Museum, and a total of 100 pieces are exhibited (52 belonging to Alaïa and 48 belonging to Balenciaga), in a clean and refined atmosphere, both in showcases and outside them.

The exhibition has documentation – sketches, photographs and films – belonging to the Balenciaga Archives in Paris; as well as two audiovisual pieces on Azzedine Alaïa: an unpublished interview recorded in 2001 and edited for the occasion and a documentary made by Joe Mckeena in 2016.