Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Modern Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

Christine Henseler




high fashion, couture, personal life, Paris


Cristóbal Balenciaga (1895-1927) began his life as the son of a fisherman and a seamstress in a small Spanish fishing village, and ended his life in Paris as the undisputed king of high fashion. Many photos of his couture creations and articles written about his fashions by journalists and critics still exist today, along with many structural and stylistic innovations that Balenciaga introduced and other designers have since conscripted and adapted for their own work. However, apart from his clothing, little is known about the life of the notoriously mysterious and press-shy man, and the little that is known about his personal life often presents as contradictory to his professional choices. For this reason, Balenciaga was and will remain mostly an enigmatic mystery. The objective of this paper is to delve into and expose the contradictions and juxtapositions inherent in the life of Balenciaga, and if not to reconcile them, at least to explore the potential reasons behind them.