I’ve looked at other renowned couturiers on the historical timeline, jumping down the line from Worth. I found some designers that I’ve not looked at before. Cristobal Balenciaga, Madeleine Vionnet & Elsa Schiaparelli.
Born in Spain, 1895, he was a little after Worth’s time and was very much part of the next generation of couturiers. From a young age he worked as an apprentice for tailors then in 1914 he opened the House of Balenciaga. Most of his clients we of aristocracy class, then in the 1930s he moved to Paris and began to establish his own identity. He created black coats that were influenced by Spanish fashions & he worked with stiff fabrics that gave his designs structure and enabled him to sculpt the material around the figure.
In a short biography from the V&A website he is described as being a private man that rarely gave any interviews. Clearly from his tailoring background he had a strong connection with his work and took his time in appreciated his garments.
Sadly in 1968 Balenciaga closed his fashion house after the younger fashionistas of the decade had started to purchase ready to wear clothing. This wasn’t a stand alone case either, it was a common occurrence as time moved forward, for example, in 1946 there were 106 fashion houses but by 2002, there were only 12 left. This shows how fast the times changed and mass production took over.
From looking in further depth at the journey of Balenciaga, I’ve learnt that how drastically some changes can affect society, the economy & the culture. How Paris was clearly the place to be for couturiers and that even in wartime, there were more fashion houses producing couture garments than there are today which is shocking, especially with the financial differences of the wealthier society in todays life in contrast to the earlier years of the 20th century.
I am going to look further into other couturiers, see if the same global issues affected them as it did Balenciaga or did they escape the downfall?