As the upcoming V&A exhibition Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion proves, the legendary house has a long, storied history that goes far beyond the luxe puffers and bejewelled heels its known for at the moment.
Founder Cristobal Balenciaga opened his Paris couture house in 1937, having fled the Civil War in his native Spain. He quickly won a legion of fans, from aristocracy and royalty to Hollywood A-listers, and was the favoured designer of the rich and famous for decades, despite his dislike of publicity.
In 1968, he suddenly closed his house. A move that caught many by surprise, including loyal client Mona von Bismarck, who was so upset she refused to leave her Capri villa for three days.
Balenciaga died shortly after in 1972, 14 years before his label was brought back to life in 1986 by Jacques Bogart SA. It would reach a new creative high in 1997 when Nicolas Ghesquiere was appointed Creative Director, using Cristobal's ethos as his template. The Frenchman reinvigorated the house, making it one of the most famous in the world today. Following a brief stint as Creative Director by Alexander Wang, it is now helmed by Demna Gvasalia and continues to thrive.
Here, we track the fashion house's most iconic moments in history...