In the mid-20th century in the world of haute couture, headdresses added glamour with a touch of daring. Hats were items worn on a daily basis until the 1960s, when they fell into disuse with the rise of social movements demanding social and gender equality, as headdresses were associated symbolically with the upper classes and a society organised as a patriarchal hierarchy. Nowadays, hats appear from time to time in fashion shows and at celebrations or social events.
Cristóbal Balenciaga designed hats essential to the elegance, exquisiteness and creativity of the total look. He experimented freely, using a style and shape that were highly individual, so much so that one type of hat became known as the ‘Balenciaga Shape’.
We have no information regarding the existence of specific millinery departments in the three EISA salons in San Sebastián (1927), Madrid (1933) and Barcelona (1935) prior to the opening of the House of Balenciaga in Paris in 1937.
This exhibition features headdresses made in the House of Balenciaga millinery departments in Paris and Madrid, taking into account the importance of this accessory in the social and cultural context of the time.
BALENCIAGA. The elegance of the hat is an exhibition derived from years of joint research on the collection of hats of the Barcelona Design Museum and the Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa, which also co-produced the exhibition.
Igor Uria. Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa
Sílvia Ventosa. Museu del Disseny de Barcelona.