New Balenciaga Bio Reveals His Favorite Clients Were Short, Plump And Middle-Aged

f8733ff988df852bc105f5a35ecfc061Now that every great couturier that ever lived has been reduced
to being a coveted label inside the “It” bag contender for the season, it’s time to remember “The Master Of Us All “,  Cristobel Balenciaga before he was a purse.

Author img-masterofusalljpg_185428967798.jpg_article_singleimage-1Mary Blume, in her new book, The Master of Us All, Balenciaga: His Workrooms, His World, reports that Balenciaga was so private that bf6083ef04b9ccc4107f45b53b158c8819b2e977bc7df7147df82f1f439cc9e10b551360ba3898194ec2d45c6b941b2c417LGnpKNvL._SX225_2750c7a2710e9207371c558a7d588d27even his most notable  clients (Marlene Dietrich, Barbara Hutton) had never met him. Told through the eyes of his top vendeuse, Floret Chelot, the book reveals that “The women he really liked to dress, French or not, were oddly enough small, plump and middle-aged.  They were part of his experiments in sculpting form: ‘Monsieur likes a bit of a belly’ was the saying in the house. Their roly poly bodies told him how to confer, or to enhance, beauty.”

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After The Ball Gown: The Haute Couture Secrets of Cristobal Balenciaga

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From the  Wall Street Journal review of a new book about Balenciaga, the reclusive couturier whose sculptural sophitication defined  the extravagance of post-war fashion. “It is from Dior (who called Balenciaga ‘The Master of Us All’ ) that Mary Blume, a longtime Paris reporter for the International Herald Tribune, takes the title of her new book, “The Master of Us All: Balenciaga, His Workrooms, His World.”

“Most books on Balenciaga are balenciaga+pink_black+dress+rear+viewbalienciaga1959Balenciaga-1931-Metropolitan-Museum-of-Artbalenciaga+perfume+ad+1987coffee-table tomes with text by curators or scholars who don’t disturb the zone of reserve that surrounded the master. This book, small and intimate, contains a voice from the inside, that of Florette Chelot, Balenciaga’s top saleswoman and the first person he hired to work in his Paris salon, back in 1936.

“Monsieur likes a bit of belly,” was the soothing refrain in the house.”

“In 1965, Chelot sold the fledgling reporter her first Balenciaga, a wool suit. When Chelot was in her 90s, Ms. Blume taped a series of conversations about life in the fashion house at 10 Avenue George V: its intricate hierarchy of workers; its clients with posh surnames (Guinness, Rothschild, Mellon); and, of course, its discreet deity. The book is a two-part invention, with Chelot’s autobiographical facts and anecdotes punctuating and expanding Ms. Blume’s researched narrative of Balenciaga’s life. The older voice is worldly, accepting of human frailty and folly; the younger voice more skeptical and searching.”–Wall Street Journal