ViacomCBS Prepping Drama Series About Fashion Icon Cristobal Balenciaga

Balenciaga : Runway - Paris_Split - Getty - H 2017
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The scripted series about the life of the famed Spanish designer will be directed by James Kent.

Famed Spanish fashion designer Cristóbal Balenciaga is getting the biopic treatment, with ViacomCBS International Studios, a division of ViacomCBS Networks International, now developing a scripted series.

Director James Kent (Testament of Youth, MotherFatherSon, The Aftermath) and writers Rebecca Pollock and Kas Graham are signed onto the project, with award-winning independent film and TV producer, Frida Torresblanco (Pan’s Labyrinth, Disobedience) of Braven Films set to serve as executive producer.

Slated to begin production in 2021, the project is set to be the first made-for-television series to depict the life of one of the fashion industry's most admired and influential designers. A deeply private and elusive individual, Balenciaga — who passed away in 1972 — only gave two press interviews during a 50-year career. Yet he led a revolution in fashion, and his precision skill and perfectionism earned him the admiration of colleagues and contemporaries, such as Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy and Coco Chanel.

Born in 1895 in Getaria, a small fishing village in the Basque region of northern Spain, Balenciaga was introduced to fashion by his mother, a seamstress with clients that included the most fashionable and noble families in the area. In 1917, at the age of 22, he established his first fashion house in San Sebastian, and later opened fashion houses in Madrid and Barcelona, before moving to Paris in 1937 where he was brought into contact with a cosmopolitan clientele of tremendous social, economic and cultural importance. In the 1950s, Balenciaga unveiled never-before-seen styles and shapes, which were considered radical designs at the time, but gradually were refined and considered fashion staples for every season, marking fashion in the central decades of the 20th century.

"I have long admired the genius of the greatest Spanish fashion designer in history," said Torresblanco. "After discovering Balenciaga’s influences this triggered the implacable need to capture the life of a brave artist who intensely and relentlessly lived for his love of an aristocrat, a handsome gentleman whose life was threatened by the dangerous times he lived in. He liberated women who were restricted in their corsets, by creating a timeless, provocative and avant-garde way to live that continues to influence future generations. I couldn’t be prouder to have the support of ViacomCBS International Studios and our incredibly talented team of writers and director for this inspiring project."

Added Kent: "There are few artists who have affected our world’s material reality - its texture, color, shape and form – in the way Balenciaga has. His creations changed the face of fashion, and his story, until now, has only been told through his fashion designs. I am thrilled to have the challenge of pulling from this visual, aesthetic space, and Balenciaga’s intense life, to share this glamorous story with the world."

Kent is represented by CAA and United Agents. Pollock and Graham are represented by CAA, Kaplan/Perrone, Independent Talent and JAB Management.