18 May 2007

Look into my Cristobal

Well, speaking of last chances, there are also only a few more weeks to catch the exhibit Balenciaga and His Legacy at SMU’s Meadows Museum, through June 17. I’m talking about reclusive Spanish designer Cristobal Balenciaga, who was most prolific during the 1950s and 1960s and who was massively influential in the fashion industry.

Post World War II, the fashion world was re-energized and modernized, and Balenciaga was at the forefront of this amazing time in fashion. In fact, he and his two most important protégés, Oscar de la Renta and Hubert de Givenchy, dressed the most stylish women of this century (Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn, of course).

The exhibit features about 50 garments and exquisite fashion photography from the archives of Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and L’Officiel.

Most of the garments once belonged to Balenciaga’s two major Texan clients: Claudia Heard de Osborne, an oil heiress and socialite, and Bert de Winter, a buyer for Neiman Marcus during the same period. Both women bequeathed the contents of their closets so that we can enjoy them for years to come.

I stopped by the Meadows last night (admission is free on Thursdays, by the way), and the best part has to be reading the placards next to each garment. Each one tells a brief story from the dress’s owner about where she wore it and how much fun she had wearing it. Don’t we all have outfits like that! --liz

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