Balenciaga, which has been part of the Kering group since 2001, is one of the most influential names in fashion. Founded in 1917 by Cristobal Balenciaga and established in Paris in 1937, the brand has launched some of the greatest trends in fashion.
Cristobal Balenciaga who passed away in 1972 closed the doors of the maison in 1968. It has remained dormant until 1986 when Jacques Bogart S.A. acquired the rights to Balenciaga. Michel Doma designed the first collection in 1987 and remained with the house for five years.
In 1992, Josephus Thimister took the creative helm of the house. He would be replaced by Nicolas Ghesquière as Artistic Director in 1997. After 15 years, Nicholas Ghesquière steps down and American designer Alexander Wang was named Creative Director in November 2012.
Want would stay for three years, with the Spring/Summer 2016 collection as his swan song. On October 8, 2015, German designer Demna Gvasalia was named as its new creative director
Although the brand’s identity is firmly anchored in its ready-to-wear collections, the heritage of its legendary founder Cristobal Balenciaga, its leather goods, footwear and accessories lines, have also achieved global success.
Balenciaga additionally places emphasis on developing its men’s ready-to-wear and accessories lines, which have met sound success, its fragrance, as well as its eyewear collections developed under license.
Initially highly selective for its distribution methods and networks, the brand has since developed in an environment that respects its spirit, through its own stores and e-commerce websites, as well as through franchised stores and a presence in leading multi-brand boutiques around the world.
A coherent plan aiming at creating a network of directly operated stores has been developed in the last few years under the leadership of Isabelle Guichot, Balenciaga’s president since 2007, bringing the total number of stores worldwide to around one hundred. The house is also continuing its online expansion, with a new website, redesigned in late 2014, now shipping to 95 countries.
Photo: Balenciaga exhibit, Fine Arts Museum (Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao), Bilbao, Spain (from Wikipedia)