Born in the Basque region of Spain, Balenciaga was apprenticed to a tailor from the age of twelve. In 1914 he opened the House of Balenciaga in San Sebastian, where most of his clients were aristocrats. After the Spanish monarchy was deposed in the 1930s, Balenciaga moved to Paris. Here he became known for dramatic black coats and dresses which recalled Spanish fashions of the Elizabethan age.