Madame Grès (Alix Barton) (French, Paris 1903–1993 Var region)
Gift of Mrs. Disque D. Deane, 1968
Not on view
Grès's propensity for draping does not repudiate tailoring. On the contrary, the methodology she uses in her drapery and its distinctive visual qualities are inherent in her tailored garments. In choosing the strict cut of the spencer from the wardrobe of men's military or service apparel, Grès begins with the regimen of a tailored idea. But she consummates the suit with a draper's forms. The jacket is cut on the bias; a dolman sleeve with underarm tuck creates ease at the front shoulder and thrusts the sleeve to the back. When an arm is placed in the sleeve, the sleeve is brought forward and creates regular folds and a sculpted volume at upper arm and torso. A simple flared skirt features pockets slashed without regard for the grain of the fabric, a rare occurrence in conventional tailoring. Resolutely, Grès is a dressmaker; she thinks as a dressmaker. Even a suit of tailored rigor becomes a manifesto of soft shaping and dressmaker's solutions.