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Balenciaga, Cristobal

Cristobal Balenciaga was born in the town of Guetaria in the Basque region of Spain on January 21, 1895. At a very early age he began his life's work in fashion at his mother's side as she worked as a seamstress. It is fabled that the Marquesa de Casa Torres, who was so taken with his talent, sent him to Madrid for formal training in tailoring when he was just a teenager. Upon graduation he became a Spanish sensation, opening branches of his boutique Eisa (named for his mother) in Madrid, Barcelona, and San Sebastián. The Spanish Civil War brought an end to his Spanish boutiques, so Balenciaga took it as an opportunity to move his operation to Paris and very soon after, he was the toast of the town. Balenciaga's designs were more often than not, linear and streamlined. While Fath and Dior produced curvy confections know as "The New Look", Balenciaga created forms that hovered around the body in fluid lines. Balenciaga achieved what is considered to be his most important contribution to the world of fashion: a new silhouette for women. Balenciaga died on March 24, 1972, in Spain. The clothing he produced is still relevant in todays fashion, and his work is highly sought after and collected.