08 August 2011

window shopping: a look in Balenciaga's window

The windows of  10  Avenue George V, BALENCIAGA ,were for many seasons, graced with the fantastic sculptures by Janine Janet made just for Balenciaga. Balenciaga let Janine Janet have free reign to her fantasies-only stipulating that the windows never appear commercial. Within the three windows, perfumes or other hints of Balenciaga were discreetly placed by Janet. The effect of the windows was to suggest the art of the couturier not the production of-just imagine.

The success of the windows was evident in their longevity. Many of Janet's works would stay in place for a year or more. Her first windows in 1952 were representations of Air, Earth and Water. She employed feathers, arrows, sculpted birds, sheaves of wheat, straw hats and flowers eluding to the elaborate work of the famous silk weavers of the 18th century. She continued to work with Balenciaga for years.
Her work can also be seen in Cocteau's. Le Testament d' Orphée,

by Janine Janet- made of wood and nails, with the nails creating the entirety of detailing in the sculpture.

In 1959, La Reine-the Queen, Le Roi-the King and Le Valet-the knave- were commissioned by Balenciaga for his windows.

 from here

One couldn't help see these Janet sculptures and not think of this 1949 Balenciaga gown. 
There was a constant play between the couturier and the sculptor. 

image from BALENCIAGA, by Lesley Ellis Miller

 Janet's La Reine at Balenciaga

Balenciaga window-1962. 
Posing with a Janet sculpture in a Balenciaga Autumn mohair dress, from 1957.
(photograph from BALENCIAGA, by Lesley Ellis Miller)

additional links for Janine Janet here



  1. i hope you are able one day

    to visit his house in the basque country

    and to see from whence he came...

    you will not be disappointed by the vista

  2. I cannot even imagine the extent of her creative genius. Amazing pieces of sculpture. As always, thank you for opening my eyes to new adventures. Mary

  3. fascinating ! I hadnt heard about her LOVE the last image WHAT a fabulous dress thankx Gaye

  4. Am not sure about the sculptures, but love the images here (I wish I could step into them, especially after another weekend of horrible news) and the tradition that was maintained. Curtis Roberts

  5. Balenciaga and Janet = McQueen and Burton. Wheat sheaves, nails, feathers...and the love of late 19th C fashion bind this quartet.

    History and Religion was a constant inspiration for both with the element of Torture being the underlying current that bound their creativity and in the end brought forth BEAUTY of a nature unseen before.

    Stunning images and I would love to own one or all! A privilege to read.

  6. So very interesting- the sculptures are fantastic.

  7. wow, those are amazing.

  8. FABULOUS!! Can you imagine a window nowadays staying in place for a year?

  9. A wonderful posting! There's a Tiffany's store near me, and one of my constant shopping pleasures is to experience the latest creative stroke. The backgrounds of the first display — photos 5 and 6 — appear to be influenced by Florentine architecture.

  10. Beth, I would love to do that.

    Fay- yes the creative windows are perfect foils for Balenciaga, both knew it.

    Jones-agreed, there is a link to see more of her work.

    ACravan- I love the photographs too.

  11. JWC, Valery, Townhouse. thanks for taking a look. The sculptures are captivating-manipulating those materials to such a level is artistry at its most creative.

    Mark- The windows are inspiring, as are many today.
    Q.- a great point, and No-never a possibility.

  12. The Swan- a wonderful comparison. Creating a dress of shells? and hat from a nest-McQueen and Burton are the fusion of Balenciaga and Janet! I wish I had thought so brilliantly to bring them into the posting and thank you for doing it. pgt

  13. What an extraordinary, thrilling post...
    Love that these were not a vulgar,commercial statement, but instead announced that art was created here. There is a decided insider reference, too, of the esoteric.
    Loved discovering her work. Thank you, Gaye.

  14. C'est magnifique, bonne journée, a presto !

  15. PB-as always high praise coming from you.
    Maite- thank you for visiting.



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