The Master of Us All by Mary Blume
Balenciaga, His Workrooms, His World

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews

What she has produced is a book of elegant layering and cultured vivacity.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

A sparkling life of the monumental fashion designer Cristóbal Balenciaga

When Cristóbal Balenciaga died in 1972, the news hit the front page of The New York Times. One of the most innovative and admired figures in the history of haute couture, Balenciaga was, said Schiaparelli, "the only designer who dares do what he likes." He was, said Christian Dior,"the master of us all."

But despite his extraordinary impact, Balenciaga was a man hidden from view. Unlike today's celebrity designers, he saw to it that little was known about him, to the point that some French journalists wondered if he existed at all. Even his most notable and devoted clients―Marlene Dietrich, Barbara Hutton, a clutch of Rothschilds―never met him.

But one woman knew Balenciaga very well indeed. The first person he hired when he opened his Paris house (then furnished with only a table and a stool) was Florette Chelot, who became his top vendeuse―as much an adviser as a saleswoman. She witnessed the spectacular success of his first collection, and they worked closely for more than thirty years, until 1968, when Balenciaga abruptly closed his house without telling any of his staff. Youth-oriented fashion was taking over, Paris was in upheaval, and the elder statesman wanted no part of it.

In The Master of Us All , Mary Blume tells the remarkable story of the man and his house through the eyes of the woman who knew him best. Intimate and revealing, this is an unprecedented portrait of a designer whose vision transformed an industry but whose story has never been told until now.

 

About Mary Blume

See more books from this Author
Mary Blume, a native New Yorker who lives in Paris, was a longtime columnist for the International Herald Tribune. She is the author of Côte d’Azur: Inventing the French Riviera and of a collection of her Herald Tribune pieces, A French Affair.
 
Published February 5, 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 240 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Economics, History, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for The Master of Us All
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Liesl Schillinger on Jan 25 2013

In her penetrating and entertaining new biography...Ms. Blume acknowledges that, even in his heyday, Balenciaga was something of a cipher.

Read Full Review of The Master of Us All: Balenci... | See more reviews from NY Times

WSJ online

Good
Reviewed by Laura Jacobs on Feb 08 2013

What she has produced is a book of elegant layering and cultured vivacity.

Read Full Review of The Master of Us All: Balenci... | See more reviews from WSJ online

NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Jeffrey Felner on Feb 05 2013

...I would urge everyone who has an interest in fashion on any level to read this book. Ms. Blume will also stimulate the reader interested in Monsieur Balenciaga’s way of life, his circle of friends, and his rarefied client list...

Read Full Review of The Master of Us All: Balenci... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Reader Rating for The Master of Us All
75%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 29 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×