Drawing, Maison Grès

  • Maison Grès

  • 30x20 cm
  • Gift of the Pierre Bergé/Yves Saint Laurent Foundation
  • Winter 1942
  • Pencil, ink, gouache, sample of Rodier jersey, on paper
  • GAL211.E.5.27
  • Palais Galliera, musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris

This drawing belongs to a historic moment in Madame Grès' career. The Alix fashion house changed its name to Grès and the garment shown marked a stylistic turning point for the couturière.

The 'antique' folds were abandoned in favour of a pleating technique that would become her trademark. All reference to antiquity was gone; the complex overlapping of delicately pleated strips of silk jersey no longer took its inspiration from the statues of old, becoming instead an abstract formal interplay intended to shape and highlight the upper torso, while the pleats fell freely to form a skirt as much as 20 metres in circumference. The combined quantity and weight of the fabric meant it eye-catchingly followed the wearer's slightest movement. Here the structure and the use of blood-red jersey give the garment a kind of venomous charm, the virtuoso pleating and the écorché suggestion of the ornamentation being at once tempting and disturbing.     

Notice's author : Laurent Cotta