Cristóbal Balenciaga's (1895-1972) legacy transcends the notion of "fashion". Known as the couturier of couturiers, his deep cultural connection to Spain is manifested in a body of work that often recalls mourning dresses, bullfighter costumes, and monastic robes.

On another dimension, Black was his muse. Through his mastery of this non-color color, Balenciaga has opened up an entire realm of intricacies, complexities, enchantment, and glory. And the virtuoso's orchestration of light, shadow, form, and texture continues to awaken memories and emotions linked history, symbols, culture, and nature. This is a story of Black—as pure craft —and the countless ways we can experience it.





Fathomless
black

Imposing
black

Profound
black

Undecipherable
black




Mystical
black

Widow's
black

Mourning
black

Vulnerable
black





Authority
in black

Solemnity
in black

Resistance
in black

Rebellion
in black




Black
to conceal

Black,
to vanish

Black,
to distract not






Black,
the absolute

Black,
the elemental

Black,
the primal







Royalty in black
on that gala night

Night sky in black,
dense with stars

Serendibite black,
Burma's jewel

Obsidian black,
velvet glass






Black
carved in mass

Black
granite taffeta

Black
frozen lava






Black
wings of lace

Black
weightless feathers

Black,
in flight





Duality of black,
revealed in light

Alchemy of black
defined in form

Paradox of black
told through texture


Immaculate black,
collars of the monarchs

Austere black,
Habsburgs of Spain

Willful black,
fiery Torreros





Black
in religion

Black,
in folklore

Black
sewn from tradition

Black
as vocabulary

Black
as an architecture

Black,
as sculpture

Black and
light

Black and
shadow

Ever-changing
Black



A special thank you to Musée Bourdelle for their kind assistance in making this story possible.
The exhibition "Balenciaga, l'oeuvre au noir" was held at Muséee Bourdelle, in Paris, from March to July 2017
as part of the Palais Galliera's Spanish Season exhibition series.

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Mona Kim is the Founder and Editor of Moowon. As the Creative Director of award-winning multidisciplinary design studio, Mona Kim Projects, she has been conceiving public space experiences and large-scale experiential projects for global brands and cultural institutions. Her museum and exhibition design for the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, World Expo, Museum of Tomorrow (Museu do Amanhã), and UNESCO-sponsored projects, gave her the opportunity to document and be exposed to some of the most distinctive examples of social realities and cultural expressions. On these projects, she had co-curated world issues such as endangered languages, cultural diversity and sustainability. The Moowon project is an extension of this background. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, WWD(Women's Wear Daily), The Creative Review, and in publications by Gestalten and The Art Institute of Chicago.


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