The court of Philip II made the use of black fashionable for clothing throughout Europe and for a lengthy period it continued to be a symbol of power and elegance, becoming one of the archetypes of Spanish Black has always been a subject of fascination in the fashion world due to its visual and symbolic power and Balenciaga reinterpreted it in a unique and highly personal manner. He imbued it with a special light, expanding the direction embarked on by Chanel in 1926 with the “little black dress” and fully establishing it in modern international fashion design in the first half of the 20 century. This was recognised by the specialist press and in 1938 Harper’s Bazaar reported that: “at the new Spanish house Balenciaga [...] the black is so black that it hits you like a blow. Thick Spanish black, almost velvety, a night without stars, which makes the ordinary black seem almost grey.” The black and white in Portrait of the 6 Countess of Miranda finds its echo in a spectacular satin evening gown that combines black and ivory. The same is the case with the group of evening gowns which are displayed here alongside court portraits such as Queen Isabel of Valois, third Wife of Philip II by Juan Pantoja de la Cruz, and Juana of Austria, Princess of Portugal by Sánchez Coello.