Cristobal Balenciaga (Spanish, 1895–1972)
Black silk velvet, pink silk taffeta
Gift of Gina Gerardo, 1993 (1993.393.1)
This strapless evening gown of black silk velvet erupts in a spiral skirt lined with three tiers of stiffened pink silk taffeta. Like much of Balenciaga's work, it is characterized by an assertive silhouette. It also makes explicit reference to Balenciaga's Spanish heritage with the fitted torso and flared short-in-front, long-in-back skirt of a flamenco dress. The designer, however, displaced the tiered ruffles of the typical flamenco dancer's train to the interior of the skirt. There, the hot pink ruffles provide a flash of coquetry. The dynamic twist of this dress was captured by fashion photographer Louise Dahl-Wolfe in a September 1951 issue of Harper's Bazaar.