Madame Grès, Afternoon Dress with Brocade, France,
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Lot 0074 Details
Pairs, France, 1960s
Madame Grès (1903-1993) – French fashion designer
Label ‘Madame Grès Paris’
Trapeze afternoon dress with long sleeves and back cleavage
High-fitting turtle neck
Brocade embroidery with geometric flower décor in lavender
Arm length: c. 71.5 cm
Back width: c. 42 cm
Total length: c. 105 cm
Provenance: private ownership Marguerite Wood-Wessely (also called ‘Blackie’)
Classic afternoon dress made of high quality brocade, custom-made for American opera singer Marguerite Wood-Wessely, who stayed in Paris as a painter in the late 1940's to 1960's
The dress is in good condition with minor traces of wear and tear. The left sleeve with three small stains, occasionally further faint stains. In places seams or small threads have detached. The arm length measures c. 71.5 cm, the back width is c. 42 cm and the length is c. 105 cm.
Madame Grès (1903-1993)
Madame Grès, with common name Germaine Èmilie Krebs, worked primarily as a sculptor. Since sculpture was no adequate job for women in the 1930s, she switched into the métier of fashion and tailored for renowned couture houses. Under the name of Alix Barton she opened her first boutique in 1934 and made a name of her designs in the French world of fashion. Later she had the breakthrough with her salon ‘Grès’ – an anagram of the name from her husband Serge Czerefkov. Inspired by the sculptural aesthetic of Roman robes Madame Grès can be seen with her designs as a pioneer of the today’s minimalism in fashion. Typical for her fluent dresses were the asymmetrical cuts and cut-outs: ‘I always wanted to be a sculptor’, she said once. ‘It doesn’t matter, if I work with fabric or with stones.’ Prominent clients of her couture house were Jackie Onassis, Greta Garbo or Marlene Dietrich. Madame Grès was an apologist of the haute couture and changed unwillingly to prêt-à-porter. In 1959 she issued her first perfume ‘Cabochard’, other perfumes followed in the 1990s.
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