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V&A makes case for the rebellious beauty of Balenciaga

It is milder than McQueen, but there are monsters, ghosts and glamour in the museum’s account of a fashion giant

The first dress visitors to Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion will see, when the exhibition opens at the Victoria & Albert Museum on 27 May, is a lurid pea-green silk gown made in 1962. Hot-air balloon puffs of volume render the figure beneath irrelevant, and the dress stands with its back turned haughtily on the viewer.

“We chose that dress to set the scene, precisely because it’s so odd,” the curator Cassie Davies-Strodder explained during a preview of the exhibition in the final stages of installation. “Balenciaga is about the kind of beauty which has a weirdness about it.”

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