Drawings for the summer collection, 1938, Maison Alix

  • Maison Alix

  • 30x18,2 cm
  • Gift of the Pierre Bergé / Yves Saint Laurent Foundation
  • Summer 1938
  • Gouache and pencil on paper; ink and a sample of silk jersey on squared paper
  • GAL211.E.5.24 et GAL211.E.5.21
  • Palais Galliera, musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris

Numbered 66 and 100, these three collection drawings are not by Mademoiselle Alix – known as Madame Grès from 1942 onwards – but by an illustrator working for her couture house.

All three are stylistically similar, with the elongated silhouette the designer and the period were so fond of and the emphasis on narrow hips and square shoulders. The waist is highlighted – or, rather, enveloped – by the fabric whose elasticity accentuates the wearer's shape; silk jersey was one of Madame Grès' favourites, and its distinctive fluidity and weight are admirably caught here. As the drawings show, it also allowed the couturière to model the wearer's body without recourse to the traditional hip and bust tucks she considered banal and boring; she preferred the skilful cutting whose secrets she had mastered, scorning orthodoxy and often taking inspiration from the sculptor's art.

The squared paper label with its silk jersey sample mentions the price of each article: 2,500 francs for the brown afternoon dress, 2900 for the white evening gown, and 3300 for the two-colour evening gown.

The 'Ateliers Grès Paris' stamps were added after 1942.

Notice's author : Laurent Cotta