Cover image of the review
Cristóbal Balenciaga, *Sack Dress*, 1958.

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion

28 Sep 2019
Bendigo Art Gallery 17 Aug - 10 Sep 2019

I was staying with Mona Bismarck in Capri when the news came. I was downstairs, dressed for dinner, having a drink. Consuelo Crespi telephoned me from Rome, saying it had just come over the radio that Balenciaga had closed his doors forever that afternoon, and that he'd never open them again. Mona didn't come out of her room for three days. I mean, she went into a complete…I mean, it was the end of a certain part of her life!

– Diana Vreeland on Mona von Bismarck in D.V.

Twentieth-century couture is immortalised by three masters: Chanel, Vionnet and Balenciaga. But only one is deemed the “couturiers' couturier”, or so the platitude goes. The title of Bendigo Art Gallery's latest fashion exhibition, Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion, on tour from London's V&A Museum, does little to dissuade this grand narrative. Shaping Fashion not only suggests an allegory for sculpting cloth but also the revolutionary shaping of history itself.

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