The Victoria and Albert Museum’s exhibition Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion finished on 18th February but my visit confirmed my view that the Spanish designer is ‘Cristóbal Balenciaga the master of structure and style’.

About Balenciaga at the V&A

About Balenciaga at the V&A

A thoughtful gift from my son Ian, of a V&A membership, saw me heading down to London to catch the exhibition before it closed.

Membership also included a fabulous guided tour of the galleries by one of the V&A’s curators. Her knowledge and ability to make the galleries and exhibits come to life were awesome. I discovered galleries I didn’t know existed.

The garments may appear, at first glance, to be simple shapes.

Closer inspection reveals Balenciaga’s artistry of linking fabric to form and the use of inner construction techniques and materials. This is most probably my favourite way of working. Although I love designing clothes it tends to be the fabric that inspires my design ideas.

Green gown Balenciaga - Jane White Couture Tuition

Green gown Balenciaga – Jane White Couture Tuition

Matching fabric to design and design to fabric is one of the challenges for a dressmaker. It comes with practice and a few miss-hits.

The silhouettes are inspiring and balanced.

The construction attention detail reminded me very much of the Yves Saint Laurant exhibition at the Bowes Museum.

About Balenciaga at the V&A

About Balenciaga at the V&A

X-rays of the garments revealed inner construction and corsetry.

Balenciaga’s tailoring tools could be used in any modern workroom and show how little techniques and equipment have changed.

The exhibition not only highlighted Balenciaga’s work but in the upstairs gallery a wide collection of work by other designers inspired by the couturier.

Designer inspiration Balenciaga at V&A

Designer inspiration Balenciaga at V&A

Balenciaga’s influence continues to be seen on the catwalk with pleating from Issey Miyake and smocking from Molly Goddard.

Was I inspired? Yes, I was. It was a reminder of why I love making clothes, playing with fabrics and why we need ‘ahead of their time’ designer’s like Balencigia to constantly drive fashion forward.

Any sewer can learn skills to produce couture level clothes. Our Couture Sewing Skills covers using challenging fabrics, the role of underlinings and couture hand sewing stitches.

Our pattern cutting courses, starting by making basic blocks, are a great way to start making your own patterns.

The new Jane White Couture Tuition Programme closely follows the recently withdrawn City & Guild 7160 syllabus where you learn how to design, pattern cut and construct clothes with stylish individuality and a fantastic fit.