Cristobal Balenciaga opened his couture house in Spain in 1918 and subsequently relocated to Paris after the Spanish Civil War. In Paris he gained instant success and recognition and was ranked as one of the best couturiers of the epoque. The house became renowned for its modern silhouettes such as bubble skirts, balloon jackets and cocoon coats. Balenciaga has gone from strength to strength and has produced many other designer proteges such as Givenchy, Emanuele Ungaro and Oscar de la Renta.
Since 1997 the house has been designed by the French designer Nicolas Ghesquière, who has focused on drawing upon the history of Balenciaga and making it relevant to today. He has given a fresh perspective on the traditional Balenciaga look, making experimental structural pieces that push fashion’s boundaries. Recently the brand has become well known for its accessories line including retro sunglasses, gravity defying heels and its ‘Motorcycle’ handbag.
Ghesquière was only 25 when he took over the helm of Balenciaga but his continuous reinvention of the brand has led to Vogue hailing him "fashion's most sought-after and influential figure" (American Vogue). He continues to build Balenciaga into a fashion powerhouse opening boutiques all over the world and broadening the brand’s accessories and fragrance lines.