Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Madame Gres, Couture at Work

The Musee Galliera is launching its extra-mural exhibition programme at the Musee Bourdelle with the first Paris retrospective of the work of one of the great masters of couture, Madame Gres (1903-1993). Regarded by her peers as the tutelary spirit of the profession, Madame Gres constantly said throughout her life: "I wanted to be a sculptor. For me, working with fabric or stone is the same thing." Her quest led her to the ancient world, but also to North Africa and India. A fifty-year journey from Hellenistic sculpture to the intransigent minimalism she pioneered in the fashion realm.
The exhibition showcases some eighty creations from the Musee Galliera and private collections, and fifty original photographs and a hundred drawings from the Maison Gres Archives, generously acquired and donated to the museum for this retrospective by the Fondation Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent.

Madame Gres, Couture at Work gives pride of place to her most emblematic pieces: the draped evening dresses for which she received the De d'or award in 1976. Created from the 30s to the 80s, always in jersey and often ivory or pearl grey, these sculptural dresses have radiantly withstood the test of time. Photographed by Richard Avedon and Guy Bourdin, they were widely featured in women's magazines. her day wear - the dresses and coats of the 50s and the purified designs in double-sided wool of the 60s and 70s - are still an inspiration for couturiers and designers today. The art of Madame Gres is timeless.

Courtesy Henry Clarke/Galliera/ADAGP, Paris 2010

Gown, around 1955
@Ph. Ladet and CI. Pignol / Galliera / Roger-Viollet

F/W 1974-1975
@Stephane Piera / Galliera / Roger-Viollet

Around 1947
@Stephane Piera / Galliera / Roger-Viollet

Spring 1946
@Stephane Piera / Galliera / Roger-Viollet

Cocktail, Fall 1950
@Stephane Piera / Galliera / Roger-Viollet

Bustier, Spring 1964
@Stephane Piera / Galliera / Roger-Viollet

Eugene Rubin, around 1946
Madame Gres
@Eugene Rubin

Model Alix, Winter 1934
@Studio Dorvyne/FNAC/Centre National des Arts Plastiques - Ministere de la Culture et de la Communication, Paris

Images courtesy Musee Galliera
Madame Gres, Couture at Work
March 25-July 24, 2011

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