Organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and sponsored by Google, 'Balenciaga and Spain' is a focus on the influence of Spanish culture on the work of the famous 19th century designer, Cristóbal Balenciaga.

The exhibition runs through July 4, 2011 and features around 120 haute couture garments, hats, and headdresses, all designed by Balenciaga.

Major patrons of the exhibition are the San Francisco Auxiliary of the Fine Arts Museums and Christine Suppes while the lead sponsors are Neiman Marcus, Marissa Mayer and Zachary Bogue, and Diane B. Wilsey.

Born in the fishing town of Getaria, Spain, Balenciaga's interest for fashion and designing started at an early age of twelve where he began work as the apprentice of a tailor. His success as a designer was evident even during his early career phase when he started his own boutique in San Sebastián, Spain.

However, it was only during the post-war years that the full scale of the inventiveness of this highly original designer became evident. His creations started gaining worldwide prominence as masterworks of haute couture and Balenciaga became the source of inspiration for designers like Oscar de la Renta, Mila Schön and Hubert de Givenchy.

The current exhibition illustrates Balenciaga's expansive creative vision, which incorporated references to Spanish art, bullfighting, dance, regional costume, and the pageantry of the royal court and religious ceremonies.