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A blockbuster retrospective showcasing the work of the influential Spanish couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga is opening this weekend at the V&A in London.

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion will be the first exhibition dedicated to the famed Spanish designer in the UK, marking the 100th anniversary of the opening of his first fashion house in San Sebastian, Spain, and 80 years since he opened the doors of his famous Paris salon.

Known as 'The Master' of haute couture, Cristóbal Balenciaga was one of the most innovative and influential fashion designers of the last century. His exquisite craftsmanship and pioneering use of fabrics revolutionised the female silhouette, setting the tone for modern fashion.

Balenciaga Hats

The V&A exhibition examines Balenciaga's work from the 1950s and 1960s – arguably the most creative period of his career – when he dressed some of the most renowned women of the age and became revered by his contemporaries, including Christian Dior and Coco Chanel. Around 100 garments and 20 hats representing the work of both Balenciaga himself as well as his successors will be brought together with sketches, photographs and fabric examples in order to provide an in-depth look at the craftsmanship that earned Balenciaga his reputation as one of the most innovative and influential designers of the 20th century.

While many of the pieces are iconic within their own right, the V&A will also show a number of Balenciaga pieces that have never been seen before.

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion
V&A, London
27 May 2017 – 18 February 2018