Evening ensemble, Balenciaga

Dress and petticoat, look #157

  • Balenciaga

  • Gift of Cristóbal Balenciaga
  • Autumn-Winter 1967–1968
  • Gazar by Abraham, polyamide tulle, taffeta and ostrich feathers
  • GAL1970.92.7
  • Palais Galliera, musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris

In 1968 the couture world went into mourning: 'Balenciaga retires, and fashion will never be the same again,' ran the headlines. No longer feeling in harmony with the times and the ongoing rise of ready-to-wear, the 'couturier's couturier' had decided to shut down. In 1970 Cristóbal Balenciaga (1895–1972) donated to the Musée Galliera a series of pieces from his final show in August 1967. This evening ensemble is made up of a gazar dress opening onto a petticoat and a cascade of delicate pink ostrich feathers. Light and sculptural, this model has the same shape as the peacock-tail dress, short in front and long at the back, that Balenciaga first designed in 1958; this was when he was beginning to use gazar, a complex fabric derived from wild silk gauze and produced almost exclusively for him by Zurich weaver Abraham.