Balenciaga: L’oeuvre en Noir

Balenciaga at the Musee Bourdelle in Paris.  WOW. What an exhibit. As of writing this, I’ve seen it twice and have walked out just as amazed each time. The collection was put together by the Palais Galliera, the fashion museum here in Paris. Now, if you’ve ever been to the Palais, you know that it’s pretty darn small. I am sure that this is what drove them to show the exhibit at the Musee Bourdelle.

Bourdelle was a sculptor, active from about the mid 1800s onward, and was actually a pupil of Rodin. His former house and studio were converted into the Musee Bourdelle in 1949. Having the exhibit here was perfect to me. Balenciaga’s work is interspersed between sculptures, just dropped into the midst of everything that’s already there. The result is the perfect marriage of traditional sculpture and sartorial sculpture.

The Balenciaga pieces themselves are all in black, hence the name (english: “The work in black”). Many see color as being a necessity in design, as it can add more depth and visual interest to what might be a simple shape. I, on the other hand, am a lover of neutrals and probably always will be, no matter how much color I add to my wardrobe or designs. The Balenciaga works in this exhibition need no color, as the shapes are just as striking and beautiful on their own.

I most definitely went overboard on pictures (150 snaps later…) but have included some of my favorites in this post. Hope you appreciate these beauties as much as I did, this was easily one of the most expertly curated and stunning exhibits that I have ever seen.


The exhibit is on display until the 16th of July at the Musee Bourdelle in Paris.

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