The History of Balenciaga is intertwined with the evolution of women's fashion and their roles in society. Cristobal Balenciaga was born in 1895. He opened his first shop at age 12. His influence expanded so much that in Paris, he became avantguarde but never forgot his Spanish origins. His attention to detail attracted some of the most powerful women in European Aristocracy. Throughout the 50's Balenciaga made it his mission to free the female body whereas others went a different direction. He is best known for his Slack Dress, the Cocoon Coat and the Balloon Mini Dress. He also used his talent to invent two new fabrics. The Gazar which is very malleable silk raffia, suitable for the creation of the volumes; and he also created the Cracknyl which is a plastic coated, sparkling and waterproof fabric.
Radical changes in social, political, and popular culture in the '60's frustrated Balenciaga's style. As the role of women changed, fashion icons launched prêt-à-porter. This concept was directly opposed to Balenciaga's haute couture. So in 1968, at the top of his success, he retired. The house is quiet until 1986, when Jacques Bogart SA acquires the rights to Balenciaga. Then, In July 2001, Gucci acquired the brand.