Evening dress

Designer Madame Grès (Germaine Émilie Krebs) French

Not on view

Conspicuous and selective areas of nudity are always more provocative than total nudity. Grès's calculated bareness invariably suggests more revelation of the body than is actual. The designer is on the wearer's side in seeking unequivocal control over exposure. But a leaf motif on the white dress does not perform as in nature; Grès anchors the apparently meandering leaf to cover the breast as patently and securely as she creates a diagonal across the other. Here, the sheer organza that veils the bodice tantalizes further. Grès created a smoke-colored organza wrap to go with this dress that played even more on the idea of nudity and transparency.

Evening dress, Madame Grès (Germaine Émilie Krebs) (French, Paris 1903–1993 Var region), silk, French

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© 2020 Nicholas Alan Cope