Woman's Evening Ensemble: Dress, Overdress, Bustle, and Petticoat

Designed by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Spanish (active Spain and France), 1895 - 1972

Made in Paris, France, Europe

Spring 1951

Black silk organza, white cotton piqué, black silk

Waist: 24 inches (61 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of John Wanamaker, Philadelphia, 1951

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Additional information:
  • PublicationBest Dressed: Fashion from the Birth of Couture to Today

    The designs of the Spanish-born couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga were simple yet dramatic, perfect in detail, and exquisitely shaped. He frequently drew on his Spanish heritage to create fashions that were inspired both by the works of Spain's greatest painters, such as Velázquez, Goya, and Zurbarán, and by the regional dress of its people. The costume of the flamenco dancer, with its flounced skirt cut short in front and dipping down in the back, was the source for this dramatic evening dress from Balenciaga's spring 1951 collection. In his version, a strapless black silk organza evening dress is topped with a removable, softly tailored, full-length white cotton piqué overdress, which is cut away to reveal a cascade of feathered organza petals. Dilys E. Blum and H. Kristina Haugland, from Best Dressed: Fashion from the Birth of Couture to Today (1997) pp. 50-51.