On a recent rainy fall afternoon, some colleagues and I were treated to a private tour of Balenciaga in Black, the fashionable new show at Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth’s Cultural District, just 30 minutes west of DFW International Airport.
It celebrates Cristóbal Balenciaga (1895-1972), the Spanish designer often hailed as “the couturier’s couturier.” On display: more than 100 pieces from his collections, which spanned his atelier’s debut in 1937 until its closure in 1968. The monochromatic approach works especially well against the Kimbell’s stark walls, the ideal backdrop for mannequins bedecked with couture cocktail dresses, daywear, boleros, coats, capes, and more, in what seems like 50 shades of black.
Jennifer Casler Price, the Kimbell curator who coordinated the installation of the show in conjunction with Paris’ Palais Galliera, offered us insight into Balenciaga’s meticulous craftsmanship, from his initial sketches and painstaking patterns to the stitching, embroidery, and embellishments of the final creations. We swooned over the voluminous silhouettes and architectural construction of fantastical dresses. Fort Worth is the only city besides Paris where you can see this show, and it runs in conjunction with a Kimbell exhibit showcasing another Spanish master, Goya in Black and White. The artful combination proves what fashionistas already know: Classic black never goes out of style.
The exhibit runs through January 6, 2019 at Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth.