Fashion

By November 14, 2018 No Comments

Balenciaga and I

The Life of Claudia Heard de Osborn

Claudia Heard was by all means an ordinary Texas girl from Corups Christi when one day her family stuck oil. Claudia’s life was forever changed, transforming her into a striking soon-to-be socialite.
Rafael de Osborne, born of a of a Spanish family
distinguished by its sherry making, fled to Mexico to escape World War II. There he met Claudia, who took up residence in Mexico while recovering from her first failed marriage. Taken immediately by the wistful socialite, they wed in 1948 and promptly took up residence in Europe, with a home in Spain and apartments at the Ritz Hotels in Paris and Madrid. Claudia Heard, now Claudia Heard de Osborne and her aristocratic husband Rafael, became heavily involved in the fashion industry. Particularly in Paris, surrounded by some of the most influential fashion houses of the twentieth century.

An intimate relationship with Balenciaga, and a friendship so deep that she confessed that Balenciaga’s death would cause her more distress than that of her husband.

In a serendipitous encounter, Claudia met designer Cristobal Balenciaga sometime around 1949. Considering fashion as “a sort of religion”, she developed an intimate relationship with Balenciaga, and a friendship so deep that she confessed that Balenciaga’s death would cause her more distress than that of her husband. Balenciaga often visited Claudia in her Paris and Madrid apartments, conducting extensive personal fittings to create ball gowns, cocktail dresses and daily outfits, as well as accoutrements such as hats, bags and shoes. Over the course of their relationship

Closer Look

Designed for donor, the ball gown was worn for the first time to La Scala in Milan, Italy, and to an opera ball that followed in the palace of friends of the donors. It was worn with shoulder-length white gloves and fresh white gardenias. This ball gown of pink silk taffeta was designed by Cristobal Balenciaga (b. Spain 1896-d. Spain 1972), who began as a tailor in Spain and established Eisa Fashion House in 1917. He opened his couture house in 1937 in Paris, France, having left Spain during the Spanish Civil War. The house closed during World War II, but reopened after the war. Cristobal Balenciaga retired in 1968, and died four years later. His creations are known for the sculptural approach he took to designing, with construction and cut that seemed simple was usually very complicated.
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If you see any little drops of water on the dresses, they are my tears. I cried as I packed, as I loved each and every dress, coat and cape.

Claudia collected over 300 of Cristobal’s pieces, all tailored specifically for her. It is rumored she ate the same pea soup every day, in an effort to keep her body exactly the same, so that she may always fit in her beloved Balenciaga pieces.
In 1975, when Claudia was preparing to donate the clothes to the Texas Fashion Collection, she wrote, in a letter to the curator, “If you see any little drops of water on the dresses, they are my tears. I cried as I packed, as I loved each and every dress, coat and cape.”