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31-03-2008
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Madame Alix Grès, two-piece evening dress, pink and black multi-ply silk, circa 1969, France, Photograph by Irving Solero

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31-03-2008
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Quote:
THE LIFE AND CAREER OF MADAME GRÈS

Just as the full scope of her work remains little known, Madame Grès herself is a mysterious figure in fashion history. Perpetually swathed in a turban, Madame Grès lived up to her nickname, the “Sphinx of Fashion,” and has been described as an “Abbess riding in a Mercedes.” Private and secretive, she was “more Garbo than Garbo” – in stark contrast to her work, which was clear and pure and accessible. Her influence has been great and her innovations have earned unparalleled respect, but the details of her life are muddled and confusing.

Born Germaine Emilie Krebs in Paris on November 30, 1903, she claimed to have studied art, and to have had hopes of becoming a sculptor. Dissuaded by her bourgeois family, however, she took up the craft of dressmaking. At some point in the early 1930s, she renamed herself “Alix” and appropriated the last name “Barton” from an early employer and business partner. In 1937, she married a Russian artist who signed his paintings “Grès” and that was the name she chose to use when she opened her own couture house. Her business prospered and she became a wealthy woman, until, decades later, poor management and the sale of her company led to its closure in 1988. She died penniless one week before her ninetieth birthday.

More important than her personal history is her legacy. The last of the “Golden Age” couturiers, Grès did not sketch or leave the technical process to assistants, nor did she promote herself or rely on stylists to create her image. She crafted her public persona by means of omission, hiding many details of her life, so that what remains is not the memory of a celebrity but an extraordinary, living body of work. The slow and meticulous evolution of her style, her embrace of the female form, and her love of craft have given us enduring objects of sublime beauty and refinement that transcend time.

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04-04-2008
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Madame Grès (French, 1903–1993). Dress, 1971. White hand-pleated silk jersey.


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Alix Grès was a designer of diverse tastes, but one whose work always reflected her fascination with the complexities of a garment’s cut and structure. She was most widely known for her finely pleated silk jersey dresses such as this particularly representative example. Grès began the draping of such gowns with a boned underbodice, very much like a supple corset. She manipulated and loosely tacked the tightly arranged pleats to this base by hand. Generally, the jersey was worked in parallel vertical panels running from the shoulders to the hem of the gown. In this design, the horizontal pleating at the bodice is composed of separate inserts, but the “braided” bands that extend to form shoulder straps are continuous with the skirt.
Posted by Harold Koda and Andrew Bolton
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27-04-2008
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if anybodys interested..
theres a book out there entitled "People In Vogue: A Century of Portraits" which has a pic of Madame Gres in her golden years taken in 1984 by Snowdon..of note: an elderly Gres, surrounded by her creations..who do I know has a scanner now?http://www.amazon.com/People-Vogue-P...9302563&sr=1-1

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01-06-2008
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Quote:
Madame Gres's high coveted and rare knife pleated gowns were done by her own hand and then stitched to follow the flow of the folds as they gracefully followed and blended into each other. The inner bodice construction is also complicated and sophisticated but in actuality the gowns were made to be worn with comfort and ease. The construction is such that one can be confident in avoiding a wardrobe malfunction.

This strapless empire waist bodice with tight horizontal pleats and two center knots fashioned of ivory silk jersey chiffon with skirt that flows in a column below. Circa late 50's early 60's.
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Last edited by DosViolines; 01-06-2008 at 02:04 PM.
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01-06-2008
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Quote:
Madame Gres grecian one shoulder silk deep turquoise/teal blue gown. An actual runway design (see label) from the 1970's. Runway designs are quite rare.

As a sculptor Gres always depended on structural insight in creating her fashions. Her minimalist design (constructed from joined fabric panels at the back tucked at the waist and pinched at the bodice, and her signature one shoulder grecian style) defined her ability to create classical, elegant enchanting dreamlike fashions.

Fabric is scooped up at the shoulder and delicately formed into an exquisite bow. The dress is not traditionally lined but fabric is double faced with contrasting emerald green silk. Side zipper closure and high kick pleat.

The label of the dress shows the name of the model "Vicky" who wore the dress; the model number; and Atelier Jeannine who sewed the dress.

Provenance: Madame Gres estate.
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01-06-2008
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wonderful dresses! i am really keen on grecian style dresses.. these are amazing. it's so unfortunate that she was left unrecognized.. and it truly is a shame of the French government to leave her work to stray... at least her legacy remains...

these gowns are truly beautiful.....

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01-06-2008
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that white one is unbelievable

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31-07-2008
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thefrock
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31-07-2008
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14-02-2009
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From the spring 1968 collection, photographed by Avedon.
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14-02-2009
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Just adding some info for this dress^
same source
Quote:
pellucid pink flying in a tunic top with dazzling golden yoke, in a wide winged skirt to the floor.

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14-02-2009
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Diana Vreeland really had a way with words, didn't she....

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14-02-2009
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yes^ Also love the description of the skirt with wings
I wish I could see it as a diagram since it's hard to see the detail when she's moving

it's like she's wearing two skirts.
one somewhere hanging at the back..

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14-02-2009
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The work that went into these pieces is astounding.

I'm especially taken with the draped cream Grecian style dress in post #100.

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