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Cristobal Balenciaga

Ivan Kipling

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I came across this photo, today. Wanted to share it. Balenciaga is considered by many to be the greatest fashion designer, in history. I was struck by the amazing fit of his suit. And by his slightly upturned shirt collar. The ebullient pocket square too, is striking. Christian Dior called Balenciaga, 'the master of us, all.' Note what appears to be top stitching, around CB'S cuff.
 

MrRogers

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silly question but whats the correct pronunciation for balenciaga??

MrR
 

Ivan Kipling

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VersaceMan, is correct: here's another way, to do it: Bah-len-cya-gah. Accent, on cya.

What amazes me most about this photo, is the fit on CB'S suit. It's sculptural, and three dimensional. Expressive and alive. This fit, often referred to as 'flou,' was understood, honed and treasured, to three great designers of clothes: Vionnet, Balenciaga, and Saint Laurent. The flou fit, is NOT, easy to accomplish. The garment must stand a hair off the body, as though a layer of air rests between the cloth and its subject. Flou requires an absolutely perfect fit, from shoulder to waist. Vionnet used to stretch her fabrics, before cutting them, to tame her materials, so that they'd fall away from the body. Balenciaga refined flou, further . . . successfully translating this airy fit to bulky, wools and tweed. Saint Laurent, took flou to its zenith, achieving a flou fit in leather, suede, tulle, charmeuse, and everything in between. YSL called his 'discovery' of the flou technique (taught to him by Madame Felissa, of Balenciaga's atelier,) the greatest discovery of his life.

To watch this fit in motion, is a breathstopping experience. I own many couture videos, from Saint Laurent's career. The flou during runway shows, is SPECTACULAR. Many, many a dress, suit, coat, shawl, whatever . . . look as though they're about to drop off the models' bodies. Yet, they're not baggy or oversized. Truly a miracle of tailoring expertise. Here are a couple photos, to show you what I mean.


 

gusgusterson

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Balenciaga and also Lucien Lelong always appear beautifully turned out in photographs.
Which contemporary designers have a similar/parallel sense of style?
Alber Elbaz?
Stefano Pilati?
I'm afraid I can't think of a British or American example. Anyone?
 

Ivan Kipling

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Oscar de la Renta, is an elegant man. Stefano Pilati, often looks chic, and razor sharp. To give an example of what I consider to be a bad fit, in a suit: I've also included a photo, of Tom Ford.



 

Edward Appleby

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Originally Posted by Ivan Kipling


The collar looks more ill fitting than insouciant to me. Also, I think that the flou technique is far, far more successful on women's than men's attire.
 

Ivan Kipling

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Flou is difficult to produce, for either sex. Only three designers, ever mastered it. Dior, never got the hang of flou . . . his final collection, called Libre, attempted a loose fit, but it turned out to be baggy. That shirt collar, is a mystery, I agree.
 

Mike C.

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Originally Posted by Ivan Kipling

The shoulder is most striking feature of this suit. It's a perfect balance between too much structure and looking too natural. The overall effect is elegent, insouciance. Perhaps a good example of 'flou' as you describe? I have never heard the term before.
 

Ivan Kipling

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Mike C., flou has been my obsession vis a vis clothes, for thirty odd years. I got deeply into this effect, in part because my sister wore nothing but Saint Laurent, during the majority of her adult life. Each and every piece she wore, looked as though it was about to drop off of her body. This effect AMAZED me, and charmed me, and mesmerized me. I'll post a few more photos, to illustrate that Saint Laurent and Balenciaga achieved flou, even with the most structured garments. A strict silhouette, was forever demanded. BUT, the garment had to stand a hair alway from the body . . . allowing air to create a layer between the wearer, and his clothes. I have Armani made to measure, that achieves flou, as well. A number of my coats, show flou . . . and several of my suits. Here are two more photos, depicting the flou effect.





The black coat that I'm wearing, is showing flou. It is standing away from my body . . . and will do so when I'm in motion, as well. Armani Black Label. The top photo, is a Balenciaga suit, in nubby silk. Notice the movement, in the fabric. The second photo is a masterpiece in cashmere, by Saint Laurent. Can you imagine achieving this level of perfection, in ready-to-wear? Can you see how the jacket is standing away from the body?
 

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