Fabiola from Belgium. A royal wedding

Having featured in the exhibition “Balenciaga and Spanish painting”, organised by the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum between June 18 and September 22, and prior to its rest for conservation purposes in the Museum warehouses, the exhibition “Fabiola of Belgium. A royal wedding” extends an invitation to explore the history and specific context of this iconic piece, the wedding dress worn by Fabiola de Mora y Aragón.

The current exhibition, Cristóbal Balenciaga. Fashion and Heritage, looks at the Contexts which offer us the chance to understand where and how Cristóbal Balenciaga’s creation developed. Some of these contexts are concealed and belong to the haute couture trade and knowhow, while others are absolutely public and are related to the sociocultural environments and historical facts which marked the moment of the creations and the processes of disseminating and adopting 20th century innovations in culture, art, design and fashion.

In these latter contexts, the media play a fundamental role, reflecting them for us, and, in the precise case of fashion, even creating them and turning them into a landmark within the collective imaginary.

This is the case of the wedding dress worn by Fabiola de Mora y Aragón, queen consort to Baudouin of Belgium. The production of this dress was all of an event at the Maison Balenciaga, both for the proximity of the client (her great grandmother was Micaela Elío y Magallón, the Marquess of Casa Torres), and for the expectation generated by the royal wedding in its day.

The dress is on display in the exhibition galleries of the Aldamar Palace, former summer residence of the Marquises of Casa Torres, and is accompanied with documentation (photographs, magazines and press, sketches from the time) to give a better idea of the importance of the historic event and the relevance of the piece within the Museum collection.