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‘Balenciaga in Black’ Review: Fashion Goes to the Dark Side

Fort Worth, Texas

The color black went deep with the couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga (1895-1972). Coco Chanel, his older peer, liked it too. In the 1920s she launched the LBD, or “little black dress,” cunning understatement that would bring chic to women of every class. For Balenciaga, black was never little. It was his inheritance as a Spaniard—the aristocratic black of Velázquez, the Catholic black of the cassock, the mysterious black of the lace mantilla, the ebullient black of the bullfighter. In 1948, when his longtime…

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