Balenciaga

Paris-based fashion house Balenciaga was founded in 1919 by Spanish couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga, famed for his sculptural silhouettes and unwavering modernity. Oscar de la Renta, Andre Courreges, Emanuel Ungaro, and Hubert de Givenchy were all noted protégés who worked for Balenciaga in the 1940s and 50s. Nicolas Ghesquière, named creative director in 1997, restored the brand’s legacy of forward-thinking fashion for the new millennium. His designs, riffing on the couturier’s shapes and signatures, mixed with unusual sporty and vintage influences, were irresistible to cool girls like Kate Moss, Chloe Sevigny and the fashion editors of Vogue Paris. Ghesquière also introduced hit accessories, notably the iconic “city bag,” originally named Le Dix Motorcycle Lariat in 2001. Alexander Wang became creative director in 2013, followed by Demna Gvasalia in 2015. Demna cleverly echoes the house’s original concepts for living in the 21st century, applying Cristobal’s volumes to denim, sweats and sneakers and constructing coats and blazers in exaggerated silhouettes. This era has also seen the launch of must-have handbags like the Hourglass and Le Cagole.

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