Balenciaga: Master of Lace

Image of Balenciaga: Master of Lace (COEDITION ET MUSEE  SOMOGY)
Release Date: 
April 9, 2016
Publisher/Imprint: 
Somogy Art Publishers
Pages: 
128
Reviewed by: 

The first thing that must be taken into account here is that Balenciaga: Master of Lace serves as a French/English catalogue from an exhibition of the same name which took place at Cité de la Dentelle et de la Mode in  Calais France. The exhibition ran for four months in 2015.

If you have already read Balenciaga and Spain or The Master of Us All, you are most definitely well versed in the biographical details of this designer’s life as well as his affinity for his motherland. If you haven’t read either of those two titles then this one will surely get you up to speed about the life and times of Balenciaga.

Catherine Join-Diéterl has written the most incisive and compelling text to accompany the photos from the exhibition. The text reveals the “master’s” predilection, affection for, and addiction to lace. What also needs to be pointed out here is that tulle is also included under the heading of lace. The photos afford the reader an opportunity to see up close and personal some of the most exquisite and technically incredibly complex manifestations of lace and tulle.

While reading and studying the photos the reader should become keenly aware of the ethereal, almost weightless quality Balenciaga was able to achieve despite using yards and yards of fabric, some of which are jewel encrusted and not just embroidered or ornamented.

While the shapes may be relatively simple the wonder of the fabrication and workmanship are beyond the scope of 99% of almost any designer from any era in the world of fashion. Balenciaga seems to have been able to create the most ethereal of garments while using unimaginable yards of fabric as well as some of the most exquisitely and densely decorated laces.

This reviewer firmly believes that to fully appreciate what is visually set forth, the reader should possess a trained and knowledgeable eye. Another aspect of all this is that one must consider the depths of imagination and talent that it took to create these spectacular effects.

There is no question that if you are a fan or aficionado of Cristóbal Balenciaga, then this book is an absolute must own, must read and will surely draw you back for multiple perusals, if not actual readings.