Luxury Fashion Brand Report: Balenciaga

Fastest Growing Brand or Falling to the Pit Slowly?

Unlike what you might think, there are way too many luxury fashion brands you can research about. Still, we are aware that most people know the most famous ones like Louis Vuitton and Givenchy, while others just focus on the ones available in their countries and founded by people of the same nationality. 

We are not exactly experts to tell you everything about luxury brands or recommend which ones you should buy, but we can tell you a thing or two about their inceptions and how they reached the top to the point of being considered luxurious. 

However, to do so, we will continue covering the history of each brand individually, and today, Balenciaga happens to be on our list as the next target. 

Spanish people must be very familiar with it as well as some interested in more than just the usual brand. Still, if you are not, which is completely fine, we will cover all the aspects of the big brand to ensure you don’t remain ignorant anymore. 

And you might decide to acquire an item or two based on the details we have for share. 

Balenciaga’s Founder: Cristóbal Balenciaga

Before we jump to the history of the brand and its inception, we definitely have to cover the life of its founder to understand how a simple yet brilliant idea well executed came to life. 

The face and brain behind the luxury brand back in the 1900s is Cristóbal Balenciaga, who was born on January 21, 1895, in Getaria, Kingdom of Spain. 

His father was a fisherman, while his mother was a seamstress. The first died when he was very young, and as a result, he spent a lot of time with his mother as she worked, leading to his interested in this world. 

When he was only 12 years old, he started as the apprentice of a tailor. When turned into a teenager, the Marchioness of Casa Torres, who was the most noblewoman in the town, became not only one of his customers but also a patron. 

Thanks to the relationship he built with the Marchioness, she sent him to Madrid and helped him get trained in tailoring professionally. 

Although there isn’t much information about his childhood and the founder’s background that takes us directly to this moment in life, it isn’t quite necessary to go over the details. 

We just can continue by mentioning that his professional training in tailoring earned him the reputation (later on) to be one of the very few couturiers in a fashion that could use his hands to create the designs but also pattern, cut, and sew them, making this the height of his artistry and added more value to his work.

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Going back to the financing of the Marchioness, Balenciaga was able to become successful during his early years in the career of a designer in Spain, to the point of opening a boutique in San Sebastián in 1919 and later expanded it to Madrid and Barcelona. 

The quality and beauty of his work were known to everyone in high society, and even the Spanish royal family wore many of his designs. 

However, when the Spanish Civil War took place, Balenciaga was forced to close his stores and decided to move to Paris to find a new path far from the war, which led him to open his Paris couture house in 1937. 

Although he was successful and people in Paris did know him, the results of his decision gave him fruits during the post-war years when the inventiveness of his original designs was booming among people. 

With inventions and new designs that transformed women’s silhouettes and broader the shoulders while removing the waist, Balenciaga’s designs were a success among every woman in the country. 

From 1951 to 1959, his designs continued to be creative, and his work in the brand directly concluded with the high-waisted dress and coat cut like kimonos that are part of the most relevant and popular collections of the brand to this date. 

Besides being a great designer and having success in sales, he was a favorite when it came to making dresses for nobility. 

He designed and made the dress of Fabiola de Mora y Aragón when she married King Baudouin I of Belgium. He also created designs for Margarita Salaverría Galárraga, Meye Allende de Maier, and Aline Griffith, all of them were considered their muses to come up with new ideas.

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More than a Fashion House: Balenciaga’s Influence & Last Years

Like other fashion brands, many would believe Cristóbal was another designer who only surprised everyone with his designs and new pieces. 

However, the influence of Balenciaga didn’t die in 4 walls in a store and fashion house. 

Instead, he was a great inspiration and teacher for designers like Oscar de la Renta, Hubert de Givenchy, and Emanuel Ungaro. 

This means that many of the current luxury fashion houses are successful (partially) thanks to the instructions and guidance of this great designer. 

Back in the 1950s, Chanel and Christian Dior were only a few of the brands that were emerging, and even when they were part of the fashion revolution with their innovative pieces, Balenciaga was the protagonist of this period to the point of being known as “The King of Fashion.”

Many would argue that if he was that big, why wouldn’t you hear so much about the brand like other competitors? There are a couple of reasons. 

After he influenced several fashion designers, he decided to close his house in 1968 when he was 74 years old and worked in Paris for 30 years. 

This included closing his house in Paris, Barcelona, and Madrid, without leaving any space to one another and getting all down at once. 

There isn’t a clear explanation about why he decided to close the house even when success was just a short word to describe his career. 

However, many attribute it to his inclination back in 1948 when the love of his life, the millionaire Vladzio Jaworowski d’Attainville, died, leading him to almost decide two decades before closing the house to do it due to his loss. 

d’Attainville wasn’t only the person who helped him fund the business but also a great inspiration to his life, and he showed it during the collection after his death that was designed entirely in black to mourn the loss of his love.

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Other reasons are inclined to believe Balenciaga didn’t want other people managing his fashion house and he just wanted a peaceful retirement, which didn’t last for long after he died on March 23, 1972, not long after closing the house. 

However, what happened to the house to this date, and why is it here? 

Balenciaga lay dormant until 1986 when the rights were bought by Jacques Bogart S.S. and opened a women’s ready-to-wear line, with Michel Goma as the creative director and designer. 

The company continued to release new collections, and although the reception wasn’t bad, it took some time for the brand to get back its glory now that The King of Fashion was no longer part of the designers. 

To this date, Balenciaga fashion house is under Demna Gvasalia, a Georgian fashion designer and co-founder of Vetements. 

However, the ownership fell in the hands of Kering a few years ago. 

Why Is Balenciaga So Loved?

Since the period and essence of the house has, somehow, changed during the period, Balenciaga was alive. To this moment, we have to focus on two different types of popularity. 

When Cristóbal founded the house and started to release his collections, the eye-catching structural designs that were never seen in the fashion world were the key to his success. 

He was pretty creative and sculptural in his creations, leading them to be considered masterworks of the high couture (haute couture) between the 50s and 60s. 

His popularity as a designer and complete couturier was also an influence on the success of his brand. 

After all, Balenciaga’s success isn’t for nothing since he is one of the very few fashioned designers in history that could draw a new design and turn them into real-life with his own hands and while handling every detail. 

His skills and mind were on another level, and thanks to this, customers came to him to bring their designs to reality or have an exquisite piece of the King.

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He didn’t create clothes, and that’s it, he also reshaped women’s silhouette as we previously mentioned and changed the usual shape Dior was using at the time to the one-seam Yoki coat and voluminous looks, leading him to have more popularity over other brands as the designs were closer to a woman’s real body. 

Can You Buy a Balenciaga? Items & Prices

This is one of our favorite parts, but also one that hurts a lot: The prices and costs of the collections and items. 

As you can expect from any luxury brand, the merchandise won’t be particularly cheap, but there tend to be some items normal people like us can pay for. 

If we have to be honest, we have spent some money on Balenciaga and other luxury brands. Though, we can’t say we haven’t stop eating meat for a few days after we went all-in with the “I deserve it.”

Thus, this is one of the reasons we are familiar with Balenciaga’s prices. Although we won’t include all of them or the specific ones, you can expect ranges and average ones according to most collections and items: 

  • Women’s collection: T-shirts, pants, sweaters, coats, jackets, and other clothes range from $425 to $15.000.
  • Men’s collection: Socks, shirts, jackets, coats, and similar items as women range from $105 to $7.000. 
  • Accessories: For both men and women, start at $150 and go up to $1.300, including wallets, face masks, hats, sunglasses, and more. 
  • Jewelry: Bracelets, necklaces, rings, earrings, and more range from $250 to $950. 
  • Shoes: For women and men range from $295 to $1.350. 
  • Lingerie and hosiery: From $150 to $1.100.

It isn’t weird to know that the brand is worth about $2 billion in revenue with these numbers. However, there hasn’t been an official report during 2021 to confirm if this went down or the brand continues to grow.

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Do Celebrities Love Balenciaga? You Bet!

During all this article, we know you’re probably thinking: Dior, Versage, Chanel, Givenchy, and all the usual luxury brands are more popular. 

And you might be correct, but this doesn’t mean Balenciaga falls behind in terms of how much celebrities and people overall love it. 

In fact, just like most brands, regardless of the niche, Balenciaga aims for many partnerships, endorsements, and ads with celebrities, including Justin Bieber, Jennifer Connelly, Kristen Stewart, and Cardi B. 

Korean celebrities are also favorites when it comes to the brand endorsing them, and they also use many of the clothing and lines released by the fashion house. 

Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Hudgens, Emma Watson, Bella Thorne, and Beyoncé are only a few more we can mention.

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Many of the celebrities we have mentioned have joined events organized by the brand, while others have called themselves fans of the clothing and lines. 

Gwyneth Paltrow, Katie Holmes, Kevin Jonas, and Salma Hayek are others we can include on the list.

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Written by Dame Cash

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