Balenciaga black silk velvet evening dress 1938 France. From the moment Balenciaga opened his couture house in Paris in 1937, he created gowns inspired by those of the Infantas, the princesses of Spain's golden age. Balenci. In this dress the padded hips, or panniers, combined with the rich black velvet meticulously rendered in a cutwork leaf pattern and resembles the technique popular in the baroque era. Museum at FIT New York.