Cristobal Balenciaga was one of the most iconic and important designers of the 20th century. He was born in 1885 to humble circumstances in Spain. By the humble age of 13, he was already designing wardrobes for women.  

Balenciaga's designs presaged a lot of major fashion trends. Vogue magazine, the industry trade magazine of record, declared him to have the "flame of prophesy." He introduced velvet, lace, and satin in numerous of his creations and shunned the fashion press, preferring instead to work at his own pace and improve in increments. He mentored numerous future designers, such as Ungaro.

Balenciaga was obsessed with the craftsmanship. He particularly focused on the sleeves, viewing them as emblems of mathematical precision. He focused on simplicity in both his design and his color schemes. He became obsessed with black and seaside colors, hot pink, oak marine, teal green, and nutmeg, and he eschewed prints in favor of sequins. Today, Balenciaga handbags, skirts, jackets, and eveningwear are at the top of Hollywood stars' wish lists. The Balenciaga Motorcycle bag, with its bold colors, rivets and trim, has been pictured in fashion magazines and tabloids.

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