Queen Sophia Spanish Institute Celebrates Balenciaga

by Paul Asher Young · January 21, 2011

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of President JFK's famous inaugural address; it was also a day the Queen Sophia Spanish Institute of New York celebrated the elite fashion house Balenciaga, whose founding designer (Cristobal Balenciaga) turns 77 today. It's a funny coincidence, then, how the two days coincide; Jackie Kennedy was known to frequently purchase the designer's pricey dresses, often to her husband's dismay.

The Institute, located on Park Avenue, serves as a Spanish-American alliance center of sorts, which hopes to keep discourse between the two cultures alive and well.  All the more reason one cannot help but smile at the reasonable possibility that some Spaniard, somewhere, was remembering our great American leader with a wink, and a nod, as he celebrated Balenciaga's birthday.

It only takes a quick glance at these dresses to understand why the first lady was a fan.

¡¡¡Feliz cumpleaños!!! (For such an iconic designer, you'd think the cake would be a bit more... original?)

Fern Mallis (right), director of Fashion Week, looking spiffy in black and white.

Life imitating art.

Life [not really] imitating art.

Black seemed to be a popular color that night.

More black!

Fish-eye view!

Outside shot: nice digs and the perfect complement to a fine lookin' dress...

Oh Jackie, you'd knock either of those outfits out of the park (or ring).