We don’t have an image of this object online yet. V&A Images may have a photograph that we can’t show online, but it may be possible to supply one to you. Email us at vaimages@vam.ac.uk for guidance about fees and timescales, quoting the accession number: T.438&A-1985
Find out about our images

Not currently on display at the V&A

Evening Dress

ca. 1963 (made)
Place of origin

Evening dress and scarf of printed silk .

Object details

Object type
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Evening Dress
  • Scarf
Materials and techniques
Printed silk
Brief description
Evening dress and scarf of printed silk, designed by Cristóbal Balenciaga for Eisa, Spain, ca. 1963
Physical description
Evening dress and scarf of printed silk .
Credit line
Given by Miss Ava Gardner
Object history
Registered File number 1985/1585.

If the cost of his Paris salon was out of reach, there were other ways to buy a Balenciaga design. Some were sold less expensively under Balenciaga’s label Eisa in Spain, where labour costs were lower and cheaper fabrics might be used.

Ava Gardner moved to Madrid in the 1950s. She found Spain ‘unspoiled . . . dramatic . . .and so god-damn cheap to live in, that it was almost unbelievable’. She bought Balenciaga designs both in Paris and at Eisa, which may have appealed to what she called her ‘frugal side’. Gardner spent her final years living around the corner from the V&A and donated several of her clothes to the museum.

Gardner referred to her couture garments as her ‘babies’ and insisted on opening her wardrobes daily to let them ‘breathe’.
Other number
1985/1585 - RF number
Accession number

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest feedback

Record createdJune 24, 2009
Record URL
Download as: JSON