Orientalism and Cristóbal Balenciaga
Spanish-born couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga explored a number of international themes in his prolific oeuvre; one of the most significant being the influence of traditional Japanese culture on his designs.
A number of Balenciaga’s most iconic creations exhibit subtle odes of Orientalism. While full backs and generous proportions were common elements in Balenciaga’s design vernacular, the cocoon shape of his Evening Wrap from 1951 was in specific allusion to the additional fabric needed in an outer kimono to accommodate a Japanese woman’s obi. Similarly, the rolled collar that makes up the neckline of the evening wrap is almost identical to the fabric band that lines the neck of a kimono.