Balenciaga, Cristóbal [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 the fluid silhouette of his clothes, for his huge evening coats with dolman sleeves; stand-away collars; 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 memoir by M.-A. Jouve (1989, repr. 2004); biographies by L. E. Miller (1993, repr. 2007) and M. Blume (2013); 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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