Evening wrap

Design House: House of Balenciaga (French, founded 1937)

Designer: Cristobal Balenciaga (Spanish, Guetaria, San Sebastian 1895–1972 Javea)

Date: 1951

Culture: French

Medium: silk

Credit Line: Gift of Baroness Philippe de Rothschild, 1973

Accession Number: 1973.21.3


Conversant with Spanish ceremonial and vernacular dress as an expression of European regionalism, Balenciaga likewise respected Orientalist effects. The cocoon shape of the back alludes to the way a Japanese woman's outer kimono accommodates over her obi to create an elegant arc. More evidently, in emphasizing the nape of the neck by dropping the bias-rolled collar, he evokes the kimono's band neckline, which dips at the back.