Gabrielle Chanel on Cristóbal Balenciaga

“[Balenciaga is] the only couturier. He is the only one who knows how to cut a fabric, and mount it and sew it with his own hands. The others are just draughtsmen.” — Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel

From a placard at Balenciaga: Spanish Master, at the Queen Sophía Spanish Institute.

Christian Dior

“In a machine age, dressmaking is one of the last refuges of the human, the personal, the inimitable. In an epoch as sombre as ours, luxury must be defended inch by inch.” — Christian Dior, 1957

As found in one of my favorite books, Couture and Commerce, by Alexandra Palmer.

Pierre Balmain

The classic way to design a dress is to work on it on a live mannequin.  A sketch is only the ignition of your inspiration, but the dress takes its true shape when made on the human form. I learned this cardinal rule from Molyneux, who saved me from architecture and gave me my start in the fashion world. I also learned from him never to add anything to a dress during a fitting. Always simplify — that’s the rule.” — Pierre Balmain

From the May 1980 Playbill article, Balmain on Broadway, a segment of which was on display at On Stage in Fashion exhibit that I visited yesterday. I went back today with a pen and paper to copy down this quotation because I couldn’t stop thinking about how true a statement it is.