Skirt Suit

1954 (designed)
Skirt Suit thumbnail 1
Skirt Suit thumbnail 2
+4
images
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Balenciaga was the most exclusive fashion house in Paris immediately after World War II. The Spanish-born couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga (1895-1972), regarded by his peers as ‘the Master’, had moved to Paris from Spain in 1937. By 1952 he had 232 employees there and was producing 356 new designs per year. His clients, admitted to his salon only after a personal introduction, included many cosmopolitan women of different nationalities.
Balenciaga was a perfectionist in cutting, sewing and finishing garments, and was renowned for his exacting standards. This suit is a fine example of his tailoring skills, acquired during apprenticeship in San Sebastian. He was meticulous in making sure that the sleeves sat perfectly on the shoulders. Tweed was a favourite fabric because of the optical illusions created in its flecked or textured pattern.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Skirt
  • Coat
Materials and Techniques
Woollen tweed lined with silk
Brief Description
Jacket and skirt suit of woollen tweed, designed by Cristóbal Balenciaga, made in Paris, 1954
Physical Description
Jacket and skirt suit of grey woollen tweed, lined in heavy grey silk.
Production typeHaute couture
Gallery Label
Suit Cristóbal Balenciaga (1895-1972) Paris 1954 Balenciaga first trained as a tailor in his native Spain and was considered the most skilful of all the couturiers. While many, including Dior, designed a collection on paper, Balenciaga worked straight on to the cloth. Cecil Beaton wrote, 'He can rip a suit apart with his thumbs and remake or alter his vision in terms of practical, at-hand dressmaking'. Tweed with coiled metal buttons V&A: T.7&A-1977(22/09/2007)
Credit line
Given by Cecil Beaton
Object history
Worn by Mrs Leo d'Erlanger, given to Cecil Beaton. Shown at Salisbury Festival Exhibition in 1875 (cat. no. 34). RP76-3042
Summary
Balenciaga was the most exclusive fashion house in Paris immediately after World War II. The Spanish-born couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga (1895-1972), regarded by his peers as ‘the Master’, had moved to Paris from Spain in 1937. By 1952 he had 232 employees there and was producing 356 new designs per year. His clients, admitted to his salon only after a personal introduction, included many cosmopolitan women of different nationalities.

Balenciaga was a perfectionist in cutting, sewing and finishing garments, and was renowned for his exacting standards. This suit is a fine example of his tailoring skills, acquired during apprenticeship in San Sebastian. He was meticulous in making sure that the sleeves sat perfectly on the shoulders. Tweed was a favourite fabric because of the optical illusions created in its flecked or textured pattern.
Collection
Accession Number
T.7&A-1977

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record createdFebruary 1, 2008
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