Evening ensemble

(a–c) House of Balenciaga French
(a–c) Cristobal Balenciaga Spanish
(d, e) Roger Vivier French

Not on view

A loyal client provided Balenciaga with an Indian sari and asked the designer to create a dress. Balenciaga rendered couture technique to the flat textile, cutting apart the woven edging and appliquéing it to form a border for the whole garment. In this way, he respected the Indian source but addressed the textile as if it were a couture fabric. India, and in particular the tradition of the sari, had long captivated the West. Bias draping of the 1920s and 1930s was influenced by the sari. That Balenciaga pursued the idea in the 1960s is late evidence of this long tradition.

Evening ensemble, (a–c) House of Balenciaga (French, founded 1937), silk, French

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