Balenciaga, Cristóbal (krĭstōˈbäl bälĕnthyäˈgä) [key], 1895–1972, Spanish-born French fashion designer. He established houses of couture in Spain (1919–31) and Paris (1937–68) and quickly became couturier to Europe's royalty and aristocracy. He was noted for his huge evening coats with dolman sleeves; long, full skirts; tunic and chemise dresses; fitted dressmaker suits; pillbox hats; perfumes; scarves; the seven-eighths coat; and for the development of the fabric gazar, a heavily sized loosely woven silk.
See biography by L. E. Miller (1993, repr. 2007); memoir by M.-A. Jouve (1989, repr. 2004); P. Golbin and F. Baron, Balenciaga Paris (2006), and M. Walker, Balenciaga and His Legacy (2006); H. Bowles, Balenciaga and Spain (museum catalog, 2011).
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