Cristobal Balenciaga. No name in the history of haute couture is more fraught with significance, for the impact he had on this important industry was profound. When he closed his atelier, the era of high haute couture had truly ended. An artist, a sewer, his clothing was classic, an exemplar for the ages. His artistry is not compared to other fashion designers, but to the likes of Casals, Picasso, and Goya. When Shiaparelli and Vionnet closed their ateliers, they only bought from him.