Youngwon Jo

Memorial of Cristobal Balenciaga

Class of: 2023

Major: Fashion Design BFA

Medium: Wire, silk, lace, mesh fabric, thread

Faculty: Sarah Jimenez

Prompt: This assignment aims to choose one artist and create a memorial that's inspired by the artist's life and their work. After creating the work, students have to find a physical space to present their work, and photoshop to combine the photo of the work and the photo of the place. This will allow the student to demonstrate where will their memorial will be displayed, and how the place could amplify the synergy of the memorial.

The artist I chose is Cristobal Balenciaga, a Spanish couturier who designed and created elegant ball gowns, suits, and other classical garments. I was dragged by him because he revolutionized women’s wear silhouettes and gave comfort to women, by adding volume around the waist and going asymmetrical on the length. These features are shown from his semi-fitted suit and peacock tail dress, and his progressive actions are similar to Coco Chanel’s achievement in which I admire. Thus the biggest inspiration of my final memorial design is “Balenciaga’s achievement of revolutionizing women’s silhouette” So for the final product, I put a little twist on my inspiration and made a ‘headpiece’ that revolutionizes the shape of the head. Nowadays, many people are affected by beauty standards, such as having big eyes and sharp chins. So this headpiece breaks the stereotypes of beauty, allowing people to express their identity in a unique way. I also used materials that Balenciaga utilized on his dress such as silk, lace, and mesh fabric.

Furthermore, the site I chose to present my memorial is the ‘Oculus’ in NYC. I loved how it didn’t follow the traditional style of architecture. Instead of making it rectangular and long, the curved lines of the Oculus are stacked together making a shape that resembles a bird’s wings. So I thought that the concept of ‘revolutionized silhouette’ of my headpiece and the curved shape of the Oculus has a direct connection. If I were to present the memorial in real life, I will present it through a fashion show in front of the Oculus, and this headpiece will be one of the collections.

I also put on makeup with freckles to emphasize femininity and beauty. So it supports the idea of the ‘revolutionized beauty’ that comes from the headpiece.