A wardrobe full of garden design ideas is packed into this breathtaking exhibition.

It’s the only way to describe the momunmental influence Balenciaga had on fashion, and to some extent the wide field of design. I know that I would certainly look to his work when looking for garden design ideas. A true mastercraftsman his creations are utter works of art. Adept at pattern cutting and a pioneer in his field the Balenciaga:Shaping Fashion at the Victoria and Albert Museum blew me away.

Described as ‘the master of shape’ he had a reputation as a couturier of uncompromising standards. He created a distinct style which endures today. The exhibition examines this legacy ‘with over 100 pieces crafted by ‘the master of couture’ his protegees and contemporary fashion designers working in the same tradition’. It goes on ‘famed for his exquisite craftmanship and innovative designs, Spanish couturier Cristobel Balenciaga was known as ‘The Master’ of haute couture. An inspiration to those who follow in his footsteps, his work continues to shape fashion today.

Balenciaga drew upon his native homeland as well the Spanish Renaissance when in 1937 he had his first runway show. His success was immediate and he went on to have trademark styles such as the bubble skirt, square coat, ballon jacket and sack dress. His manupulation of the waist is what is considered to be ‘his most important contribution to the world of fashion, a new silhouette for women’

He became an innovator in fabrics using heavy, bold fabrics alongside intricate embroidery. His garments were considered works of art and his influences far reaching.

I’ve thought about the idea of genius, to define an existing artform, or to reinvent it. What a legacy, and one most ‘creatives’ surely are striving for across all the artforms, both mainstream and avant garde. For Balenciaga the design process started with the fabric rather than with a sketch, ‘its the fabric that decides’ he stated, proving that he knew how to exploit materials to the very best effect.

This exhibition will form the basis for a series of urban garden design sketches which attempt to break down materials, to challenge shape and simplicity. Taking a series of Balenciaga creations, dissecting them and transposing them into a garden design for an urban space.

To see more of the exhibition photos please visit the Balenciaga album