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Skirt suit
  • Skirt suit
    Balenciaga, Cristóbal, born 1895 - died 1972
  • Enlarge image

Skirt suit

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    1954 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Balenciaga, Cristóbal, born 1895 - died 1972 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Woollen tweed lined with silk

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Cecil Beaton

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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.

Physical description

Jacket and skirt suit of grey woollen tweed, lined in heavy grey silk.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)


1954 (designed)


Balenciaga, Cristóbal, born 1895 - died 1972 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Woollen tweed lined with silk

Object history note

Worn by Mrs Leo d'Erlanger, given to Cecil Beaton. Shown at Salisbury Festival Exhibition in 1875 (cat. no. 34). RP76-3042

Descriptive line

Jacket and skirt suit of woollen tweed, designed by Cristóbal Balenciaga, made in Paris, 1954

Labels and date

Cristóbal Balenciaga (1895-1972)

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]


Wool tweed; Metal; Silk


Weaving; Hand sewing


Fashion; Women's clothes; Clothing; Europeana Fashion Project

Production Type

Haute couture


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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