Madame Grès (Alix Barton) (French, Paris 1903–1993 Var region)
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. William Randolph Hearst, Jr., 1985
Not on view
Madame Alix Grès' career spanned five decades and throughout them all she excelled in her ability to manipulate fabric and use its innate characteristics to enhance her designs. Known for her classically inspired draped and pleated silk jersey gowns, here she takes advantage of the heft of silk gabardine to create volume and dimensionality. She uses the eye-catching contrast of bright yellow and navy blue to emphasize a sculptural silhouette. A study in contrasts, the ensemble both exposes and reveals. The coat covers the body from neck to floor, but what appears to be an elegant and modest evening gown presents a surprising back view: a cutout extending from the base of the neck to the base of the spine reveals a dramatic amount of bare skin. Grès further emphasizes that exposure with a bright yellow obi-like waist sash. The entire presentation reaffirms Grès' ability to produce both timely and timeless creations.