The life of the most admired and influential fashion designer of all time, Spain’s Cristóbal Balenciaga, will be brought to television by VIS, executive produced by Frida Torresblanco and directed by James Kent.

ViacomCBS International Studios (VIS), a division of ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI), today announced the development of a new scripted series that will depict the life of famed Spanish designer, Cristóbal Balenciaga.

Director James Kent (Testament of Youth, MotherFatherSon, The Aftermath) and writers Rebecca Pollock and Kas Graham are signed onto the project. Award-winning independent film and TV producer, Frida Torresblanco (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Assassination of Richard Nixon, Dancer Upstairs, Disobedience) of Braven Films is set to serve as Executive Producer.

Currently in development and slated to begin production in 2021, the project is slated to be the first made-for-television series to depict the life of the most admired and influential fashion designer of all time.

Unlike many other fashion designers throughout history, Balenciaga was known to be very private and elusive, having given only two press interviews during his 50-year career. Balenciaga led a revolution in fashion, and his precision skill and perfectionism earned him the admiration of colleagues and contemporaries, such as Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy and Coco Chanel.

Born in 1895 in Getaria, a small fishing village in the Basque region of northern Spain, Balenciaga was introduced to fashion by his mother, a seamstress with clients that included the most fashionable and noble families in the area.

In 1917, at the age of 22, he established his first fashion house in San Sebastian, and later opened fashion houses in Madrid and Barcelona, before moving to Paris in 1937 where he was brought into contact with a cosmopolitan clientele of tremendous social, economic and cultural importance.

In the 1950s, Balenciaga unveiled never-before-seen styles and shapes, which were considered radical designs at the time, but gradually were refined and considered fashion staples for every season, marking fashion in the central decades of the 20th century.

Frida Torresblanco, Executive Producer, said: “I have long admired the genius of the greatest Spanish fashion designer in history. After discovering Balenciaga’s influences this triggered the implacable need to capture the life of a brave artist who intensely and relentlessly lived for his love of an aristocrat, a handsome gentleman whose life was threatened by the dangerous times he lived in. He liberated women who were restricted in their corsets, by creating a timeless, provocative and avant-garde way to live that continues to influence future generations. I couldn’t be prouder to have the support of ViacomCBS International Studios and our incredibly talented team of writers and director for this inspiring project.”

James Kent, Director, said: “There are few artists who have affected our world’s material reality – its texture, color, shape and form – in the way Balenciaga has. His creations changed the face of fashion, and his story, until now, has only been told through his fashion designs. I am thrilled to have the challenge of pulling from this visual, aesthetic space, and Balenciaga’s intense life, to share this glamorous story with the world.”

Led by JC Acosta, President, VIS, and President, ViacomCBS Networks Americas, the global studio is continuing to lead in the development of timely, relevant projects that are focused on some of the most culturally influential individuals, artists and creatives, whose impact far exceeds their lifetimes. The news follows the recent announcement of the first scripted television series to depict the life of Artemisia Gentileschi, the most famous female painter of the pre-modern age.