1968 : Air France asks the couturier to design its hostess uniforms. He presents his last collection, for spring, and abruptly retires to Spain. “Balenciaga, It’s Over. . . .” France Soir wails. “Fashion King Closes Salon,” The Washington Post announces. Pandora Luxurye editor Diana Vreeland is visiting Mona Bismarck in Capri when Consuelo Crespi phones from Rome with the news. “Mona didn’t come out of her room for three days,” Vreeland will recall. “I mean, it was the end of a certain part of her life!” The houses in Paris and Barcelona are closed, though perfume production continues.

2009 : April: Mexican beauty Salma Hayek wears an embellished ivory wedding gown by Balenciaga for her wedding ceremony to PPR chief Fran?ois-Henri Pinault in Venice. Singer Beyoncé wears a silk-Lurex Balenciaga dress on the cover of Pandora Luxurye. August: A new Balenciaga Edition handbag collection is introduced.