Cecil Beaton on the design totalitarians of Paris fashion archive

An aura of secret envelops the artists at this time of gestation. Concepts that will emerge from their incubators throughout the next weeks are protected like state tricks. Who are these people whose word brings such weight?

FIRST Balenciaga, who of all dressmakers is to-day the most revered and influential. Even his rivals are charitable in appreciation of his genius. He is our master, states Givenchy. During the war he entirely altered the concept and construction of women s clothing, states Castillo. All the most recent patterns can be traced to him, acknowledge the younger generation who live off his concepts. His work is based on eternal guidelines; even his dream is improved the classic. He is the Moli re of dressmakers, says the lover, Marie-Louise Bousquet.

Balenciaga is a raven-haired, stolid looking Spaniard of middle height and age, with piercing eyes, hooked beak, and birdlike movements of the head. He is of humble origin, his taste is impeccable and he expects excellence in all things. A male of such granite stability is quickly surprised by the techniques of the jungle warfare of fashion. He overlooks the offers to design for wholesalers, participate in promotion, or enjoy types of exploitation that save numerous companies. He refuses to enlarge his company and could never be backed by an excellent organization. His taste and talent might not be bought. He should work with total flexibility.

Unlike most designers, Balenciaga understands every element of his craft. He understands as no one else how to make stuff live to play with product and give it articulation. Even to-day he can be captured behind the scenes stitching one of his gowns.

In none of his work is there that slight touch of indecency which is so frequently the reason for a dressmaker s success. There are no surprises for their own sakes. He never ever indulges in bluff or trickery. His designing is entirely built on the significance of the linear of procedure and proportion. His collections rarely differ from one weather to another, however continue to follow a guaranteed development, and they are constantly 3 years ahead of others.

Prior to Balenciaga, well-dressed women wore an excellent match (well-fitting, with a neat neck), a blouse, and an ending up being hat. Balenciaga took away the blouse, pulled open the coat at the sides and back of the neck, cut the sleeves in between elbow and wrist, thickened the shoulders, discharge all joints, and put a pet dog s hat on the head. At first women looked like if they had actually gotten away from a calamity using another person s clothes, but the provocatively covered types and loose-fitting sacks, in reality the shape of to-day, were all creations of this only master mind.

Balenciaga is rarely to be seen by his customers and rarely heads out into society. By his elusiveness he is vouchsafed an environment of mystery. He is sad and somewhat taciturn of nature, and leads a very quiet life in a luxurious house decorated with the acme of restraint in sombre Spanish taste.

As Balenciaga, shy and dignified, peers at you through his blue glasses (he is anxious about his eyesight) your heart goes out to him. Here is a guy of such deep intensity of sensation that suffering is something he cannot get away, and you speculate that somewhere life went wrong for him. Perhaps success came to him too late; perhaps he simply works too hard and worries.

IT is a wonder of style that someone who, forty years earlier, made all women dress the method she did, should still, with unabated vitality, be continuing to do just the exact same thing. Chanel is indestructible.

Neglecting the vagaries of style, Chanel s clothes now have become outfit. Yet based on an impact of simplexes they fit completely into the principle of to-day. With brief jackets, shorter skirts, immaculate white cuffs, and a tam-o-shanter, this living legend has the power to blast any who do not concede that, in all elements of the art of living, she is the supreme oracle.

I PREDICT a long, healthy future for Pierre Cardin. He is a well-bred, peaceful young man, with the pallor of a convolvulus, but he is flaring with inner combustion; when he speaks of his work his eyes scorching, his saliva runs dry, and his voice assumes sufficient volume to break the Edwardian plasterwork of his ceiling.

He learned as a tailor for Dior all the arts of fitting and cutting, then in spite of being no draughtsman moved to phase designing for Cocteau and Beard. The business that he now owns goes in for the contrary of outfit. Style ends up being costume only prior to or after its day, he asserts. Nothing lasts. Anything too much seen instantly becomes awful. The strip-tease and Paris nudes have made the tight-fitting dress not pretty or even young.

When a rich manufacturer upbraided him for his present mode of camouflaging the feminine type divine, Cardin took off. You boast of your mistress s body however you don t show it when you cover her in a huge sable coat. Why should I show it in cotton? It is for us to offer her a mystery. We must make an enigma of her busts and haunches. All artists, from Brueghel to Modigliani, have used distortion to develop appeal. To-day breasts must return, the sex thrust forward.

Cardin, like Givenchy, belongs to the Martian school: his young designs are geared up for any science-fiction activity. Their heads protected by crash helmets, firefighter’s masks, or cooking weapons, they are silhouetted like pears, torpedoes, or rocket missiles, in light hairy materials. They remain in the advance guard of those checking out celestial spaces; they leave Lollobrigida listed below, looking earth-bound and pedestrian.

MAYBE it is still too early to determine quite how skilled Dior s l Aiglon, the young St. Laurent, may be. The legacy of possibly the finest organized style empire in Paris assisted him significantly over the hurdle of the very first collection after the death of the fantastic Emperor.

The very first time I satisfied St. Laurent, he came late at night, after the Bal de T tes had actually started, to make a head-dress of ivy for Madame Ratli. He was timid to the point of being inarticulate, and the excitement of having currently made seven various head-dresses that day had triggered him to faint several times. A plate of cold ham was offered however ignored. His hands, with fingers as thin as cheese straws, trembled paralytic ally. Soon a little work of art of originality was created.

Extremely impressionable, with excellent likes and dislikes, he is at the start of a tough journey, but his vibrant enthusiasm and inspiration allow him no time at all to consider the barriers ahead.