When Cristobal Balenciaga closed his business in 1968 it’s likely it never occurred to him that his legacy would go on to mean any more than just clothes and couture. But in the Ball subculture (a world that has been brought to light by the profound documentary Paris Is Burning), his name has taken on different but equal meaning. Urban youths organized into clans called “Houses”, often named after the greatest of designers, compete in categories such as “Voguing”, “Runway”, and “Realness with A Twist”. Individuals assume the name of the House as their surname and it’s for their prestige that they strive for excellence. It’s a different kind of glamour than the chic aristocracy that Cristobal designed for but it is no less awesome.


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