The Sculptor “Madame Grès”


The remarkable couturier of 20th century, Germaine Krebs, known as Alix Barton and later Madame Grès(1903-1993), even today is a great inspiration for designers of our days like Azzedine Alaïa, Yohji Yamamoto, Jean Paul Gaultier, Alber Elbaz and many others.
She draped or pleated the fabric directly onto the model, without artificial devices and mostly without using scissors and needles, so that she also came to be known as the pioneer of seamless garments. In the fifty years of her career, her work went through a range of stylistic periods, from Hellenistic, draped evening dresses to modern, minimalist daytime garments and stylish beachwear, always in her own specific style: sober, timeless, sculptural and utterly feminine.

Madame Gres 2

Madame Gres 1


Madame Grès wanted to be a sculptor,but she didn’t get any success. She felt as much a sculptor as a fashion designer: ‘I wanted to become a sculptor. For me, working with stone or fabrics is the same thing.’
After she ventured into millinery, changing her name to Alix Barton(1932-1942),she gained attention by designing the costumes for Jean Giraudoux’s play The Trojan War Will Not Take Place, and quickly became a leading designer of the day.




Her customers were the famous international celebrities of their time, including Edith Piaf, Marlène Dietrich, Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco.She was not only a person admired by her contemporaries (such as Hubert de Givenchy and Yves Saint Laurent), but she has also been a model for successive generations.
The New York Times called her couture house “the most intellectual place in Europe to buy clothes”.


Madame Gres Silk evening Dress 1953

Throughout this period, which encompassed huge changes in fashion, her work remained consistent and timeless.

madame-gres Ilustrations


“Once one has found something of a personal and unique character, its execution must be exploited and pursued without stopping,” she said.

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