5 Famous Fashion Designers from the Basque Country

Today we go again to the Basque Country but this time – for fashion design, and for names like Paco Rabanne or Cristobal Balenciaga, as well as other contemporary, world-renowned creators.



Paco Rabanne

Francisco “Paco” Rabaneda Cuervo was born in 1934 in the Basque town of Pasajes, Gipuzkoa province. His father, a Republican Colonel, was executed by Francoist troops during the Spanish Civil War. Paco Rabanne fled Spain for France with his mother after the Francoists won the war, in 1939, and he started his career in fashion by creating jewelry for Givenchy, Dior, and Balenciaga. Rabanne founded his own fashion house in 1966.

He is famous for his use of unconventional material such as metal, paper, and plastic for his Metal Couture and outlandish and flamboyant designs, that converted him into l’enfant terrible of the French fashion. Today, his house is still going strong and is known for its perfumes as well as its garments.



Cristóbal Balenciaga

With a reputation as a couturier of uncompromising standards, and referred to as “the master of us all” by Christian Dior, Balenciaga revolutionized fashion and his classic patterns are still on-trend nowadays. Born in 1895 in the town of Getaria, at the age of 22 he opened his first boutique in San Sebastián, and then expanded to include branches in Madrid and Barcelona. It wasn’t long before Spanish royalty and aristocrats heard about his talent and sought out his designs. Still, the Spanish Civil War forced him to close his business and immigrate to Paris, the fashion Mecca.


From this point onward, his talent spread throughout Europe. During the 1950’s, he made the one most important contribution to the history of fashion, the introduction of a new silhouette for women, by breaking away from the established forms to create fluid lines and surprising volumes. He also taught fashion design classes, inspiring other designers including Oscar de la Renta, André Courrèges, Emanuel Ungaro, Mila Schön and Hubert de Givenchy. Balenciaga closed his house in 1968 at the age of 74 after working in Paris for 30 years. Today the Balenciaga fashion house continues under the direction of Demna Gvasalia and under the ownership of the Kering Group, and the Cristóbal Balenciaga Museum can be visited in his home town of Getaria.



Ion Fiz

Ion Fiz founded his own fashion firm in 2002 at the age of 24. He studied Fashion Design at the Basque Fashion School with Honors, and has received important prizes such as the L’Oreal Paris Cibeles, the Prix de la Mode Marie Claire, the Fad Prize or the Golden Thimble for Best Designer. He has designed collections for other important haute couture masters such as Pertegaz.  He is recognized and appreciated for his “Semi-Couture” creations, and his collections are distributed in Spain, France, Italy, Russia, Norway, Australia, the Arab Emirates and Japan.



Roberto Etxeberría

From the town of Éibar, Roberto Etxeberría, born in 1976, studied fashion in Barcelona, worked as an assistant to the designer Serguei Povaguin, then created his own label, Etxeberría, specialising in men’s fashion. Over the years the designer has won many awards for his designs including the L’Oreal Award, the International Woolmark Prize or Spain’s National Fashion Award. His collections have been exhibited at fashion events in Madrid, Praga, New York and Vienna. Today he designs menswear, womenswear and unisex clothing.




Born in Bilbao in 1968, the twin brothers Iñaki and Aitor Muñoz moved to Barcelona where they graduated in Fine Arts at the University of Barcelona. Ailanto is their women’s fashion design company, based in Barcelona since 1995. The universe of Ailanto is famous for its combinations of colors, geometric shapes and references to vanguard artistic movements. Their collections are marked by signature prints, delicate fabrics and elegant juxtapositions of textures.


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