Disney’s latest international original series is “Cristobal Balenciaga”, which is a drama series that recreates the life and legacy of the Guetaria-born Spanish creator, one of the most iconic fashion designers of all time.

This series has an interesting style, often feeling like a period piece from the time. The whole presentation was done with a more elegant style that fits the theme of the subject piece.  It certainly doesn’t feel like most modern biopics.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve zero interest in fashion, and the only reason I knew of the brand Balenciaga, was because it was mentioned on “The Kardashians”.  So I came into this series completely blind, with no idea about who Cristobal Balenciaga was.    

To be honest, had this been on any other streaming service, I’d probably have never started watching the show, but in this case, watching something completely outside what I would normally be interested in, enabled me to watch this fantastic series.   

The best dramas are able to captivate you, tell you a story about someone you don’t know, and pull you into their world.   I was doubtful this show was going to pull me in, especially after the first episode, but it was the second episode that pulled me in, seeing how Cristobal and his company managed to survive working through World War Two was very interesting, leading to the show getting its hooks into me.

With each episode, spending more time with the character, seeing how he had to hide his sexuality from the authorities and had to deal with the loss of his partner, plus a changing landscape of high fashion.  It’s a truly interesting story, that I never would have normally been interested in, but the series fully captured my attention.

Another interesting subplot of this series is how it shows Cristobal’s fear of being exposed as homosexual. this series is set during the 30s through to the early 70s, so it was a completely different era, where it wasn’t as accepted as it is now.  One of the most emotional scenes in the series is when Cristobal goes to see the body of the love of his life, following a stroke, where he has to try to hold his emotions in when around other people.  Heartbreaking stuff!

I also found the later episodes to be interesting, as Cristobal struggled with letting go of the business he created, while the world of fashion turned to mass production and how he just couldn’t give up that control.  It’s also very telling that he shut down his business rather than let anyone else design anything new because he was an artist, not a business.  I have no doubt he would have hated what the Balenciaga brand is today.

This is an international original, with the actors jumping between Spanish, French, Basque and English throughout, which was rather distracting at first.  One of my biggest bugs about how Disney+ is releasing its international originals now, is that they aren’t offering dubbed versions; instead, they are only offering subtitled versions.  Which I suspect is because it’s cheaper to make.

I know some people love subtitles and prefer to hear the original performance, but I’m the opposite. I like to sit back, relax and be entertained.   Listening to conversations in multiple languages that I don’t understand isn’t relaxing, as my attention starts drifting off.  That’s not necessarily a knock on “Cristobal Balenciaga” but on Disney’s overall approach right now, which is stopping these fantastic originals from reaching a larger audience. 

“Cristobal Balenciaga” is a fantastic drama series that really showcases how pulling in stories and creators from around the world can deliver some exceptional shows for Disney+, that probably wouldn’t have come out of the more traditional studios.  

Overall: “Cristobal Balenciaga” is an extremely well-made international drama series that I’m sure some people are going to love, and it’ll be a critical success.  It’s a bit of a slow burner. It wasn’t until the second episode that it caught my attention, and then I was hooked.   Sometimes a show comes along that you don’t expect to like, but really enjoy, and this was one for me.  If you are interested in fashion or  Balenciaga, I’d certainly recommend checking out the first episode out, and see if you like it.

Rating – 4 Out Of 5.

“Cristobal Balenciaga” is being released on Hulu/Hulu On Disney+ in the United States and on Disney+ around the world on Wednesday, 19th January 2024.

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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Roger@WhatsOnDisneyPlus.com Twitter: Twitter.com/RogPalmerUK Facebook: Facebook.com/rogpalmeruk

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