Born: January 21, 1895, Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Died: March 23, 1972, Xàbia, Spain
Lived: Cristobal Balenciaga Museum, Aldamar Parkea, 6, 20808 Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain (43.30188, -2.20494)
Buried: Cementerio de Getaria (Getaria), San Sebastian, Provincia de Guipuzcoa, País Vasco, Spain
Other name: Cristobal Balentziaga Eizagirre (Basque)
Parents: Martina Eizaguirre Embil, José Balenciaga Basurto
Organization founded: Balenciaga
The Balenciaga Museum is located in Getaria, just 25Km from San Sebastian, and makes an ideal daytrip from Guipuzcoa’s capital. Whilst the museum is well worth a visit in itself, Getaria is also one of the prettiest coastal towns in the region.
Address: Aldamar Parkea, 6, 20808 Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain (43.30188, -2.20494)
Type: Museum (open to public)
Phone: +34 943 00 88 40
The Balenciaga Museum (Cristobal Balenciaga museoa) opened on June 7th 2011. Getaria was chosen as it is the birthplace of the renowned designer, and the museum became the first in the world to be dedicated entirely to the work of a fashion designer. The museum is housed in a building connected to the Aldamar Palace, the former residence of the Marquis and Marquise of Casa Torre, grandparents of Queen Fabiola of Belgium and mentors to Balenciaga in his early days. The building consists of four floors divided into three large spaces and six halls. One section of the museum showcases a rotating selection of the designer’s pieces, some of which are part of the Balenciaga Foundation’s own Collection, as well as others belonging to private individuals. In addition to this, the museum plays host to various temporary exhibitions and leisure activities. The building itself is also well worth seeing for its interesting combination of tradition and modernity in a single structure.
Who: Cristóbal Balenciaga Eizaguirre (January 21, 1895 – March 23, 1972)
Cristóbal Balenciaga was a Spanish Basque fashion designer and the founder of the Balenciaga fashion house. He had a reputation as a couturier of uncompromising standards and was referred to as "the master of us all" by Christian Dior and as "the only couturier in the truest sense of the word" by Coco Chanel, who continued "The others are simply fashion designers". He continues to be revered as the supreme deity of the European salons. On the day of his death, in 1972, Women's Wear Daily ran the headline "The king is dead" (no one in the fashion world had any doubt as to whom it referred). Balenciaga was born in Getaria, a fishing town in the Basque province of Gipuzkoa, on January 21, 1895. His mother was a seamstress, and as a child Balenciaga often spent time with her as she worked. At the age of twelve, he began work as the apprentice of a tailor. When Balenciaga was a teenager, the Marchioness de Casa Torres, the foremost noblewoman in his town, became his customer and patron. She sent him to Madrid, where he was formally trained in tailoring. Balenciaga was homosexual, although he kept his sexuality private throughout his life. The love of his life and long time partner was Franco-Russian milliner Vladzio Zawrorowski d'Attainville, who he met in the 1920s and had helped fund setting him up. When d'Attainville died in 1948, Balenciaga was so broken he almost considered closing the business. In 1960 he made the wedding dress for Fabiola de Mora y Aragón when she married king Baudouin I of Belgium. The Queen later donated her wedding dress to the Cristóbal Balenciaga Foundation. On 7 June 2011, the Balenciaga Museum was inaugurated in his hometown of Getaria by Queen Sofía of Spain and with the presence of Hubert de Givenchy, honorific president of the Balenciaga Foundation. The museum has a collection of more than 1,200 pieces designed by Balenciaga, part of them donations by disciples like Givenchy or clients, like Queen Fabiola of Belgium and the heirs of Grace Kelly. Balenciaga is buried at Cementerio de Getaria, San Sebastian.
Queer Places, Vol. 3 edited by Elisa Rolle
Release Date: July 24, 2016
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