Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion
Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion Tickets

Victoria and Albert Museum, London, SW7 2RL
  • Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion
    From 27th May 2017 - 18th February 2018
    The Victoria and Albert Museum

    In the brand new exhibition Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion, discover how Cristóbal Balenciaga's exquisite craftsmanship and innovative designs shaped modern fashion.

    This exhibition examines the work and legacy of influential Spanish couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga, with over 100 pieces crafted by ‘the master’ of couture, his protégées and contemporary fashion designers working in the same innovative tradition.

    Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion will be the first ever UK exhibition exploring the work of Cristóbal Balenciaga and his profound and continuing influence on modern fashion. It will be the first of its kind to look at his unique approach to making and will showcase pieces by his protégés and contemporary designers working in the same innovative way today. The exhibition marks the centenary of the opening of Balenciaga’s first fashion house in San Sebastian and the 80th anniversary of the opening of his famous fashion house in Paris.

    Rather than a retrospective, Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion will focus in detail on the latter part of Balenciaga’s long career in the 1950s and 1960s, arguably one of his most creative periods as ‘the master’ of haute couture. It was during these years that he not only dressed some of the most iconic women of the time, but also introduced revolutionary shapes including the tunic, the sack, ‘baby doll’ and shift dress – all of which remain style staples today.

    Highlights will include ensembles made by Balenciaga for Hollywood actress Ava Gardner, dresses and hats belonging to socialite and 1960s fashion icon Gloria Guinness, and pieces worn by one of the world’s wealthiest women, Mona von Bismarck, who commissioned everything from ballgowns to gardening shorts from the couturier. 

    On display will be over 100 garments and 20 hats, many of which have never been on public display before. These will be accompanied by archive sketches, patterns, photographs, fabric samples and catwalk footage revealing Balenciaga’s uncompromising creativity. In addition x-rays, animated patterns and short films on couture-making processes will uncover the hidden details that made his work so exceptional.

    At the V&A from 27th May 2017 to 18th February 2018, book Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion tickets today!

    The Victoria and Albert Museum's collections span two thousand years of art in virtually every medium, from many parts of the world, and visitors to the museum encounter a treasure house of amazing and beautiful objects. The story of the V&A's foundation helps to explain its astonishing richness and diversity.

    The Museum was established in 1852, following the enormous success of the Great Exhibition the previous year. Its founding principle was to make works of art available to all, to educate working people and to inspire British designers and manufacturers. Profits from the Exhibition were used to establish the Museum of Manufactures, as it was initially known, and exhibits were purchased to form the basis of its collections.

    The Museum moved to its present site in 1857 and was renamed the South Kensington Museum. Its collections expanded rapidly as it set out to acquire the best examples of metalwork, furniture, textiles and all other forms of decorative art from all periods. It also acquired fine art - paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture - in order to tell a more complete history of art and design.

    Generous funding and a less competitive art market than today's meant that the young Museum was able to make many very important acquisitions. The Museum itself also grew, with new buildings being added as and when needed. Many of these buildings, with their iron frames and glass roofs, were intended to be semi-permanent exhibition halls, but they have all survived and are one of the finest groups of Victorian buildings in Britain.

    In 1899, Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone of a new building designed to give the Museum a grand façade and main entrance. To mark the occasion, it was renamed the Victoria and Albert Museum, in memory of the enthusiastic support Prince Albert had given to its foundation.

    Map & Directions: Victoria and Albert Museum


    MOBILITY AIDS: Wheelchairs and walking frames are available at the information desk in the Grand Entrance. Stools are also available in a range of galleries.


    INDUCTION LOOPS: Yes. Neck loops and radio receivers for use on talks and tours are also available from the information desk in the Grand Entrance


    NEAREST TUBE/RAIL STATION: South Kensington, Gloucester Road and Knighsbridge.

    BUSES: 14, 74, 360, 414 and C1.

    NEAREST CAR PARKS: Union Car Park on Harrington Road and Chelsea Cloisters Car Park on Sloane Avenue.


  • Victoria and Albert Museum

    Cromwell Road,
    SW7 2RL

  • Full Seating Plan