Madame Grès (French, 1903–1993). Evening Gown, ca. 1979. Red silk taffeta. Anonymous Gift, 2005 (2005.294.1).
Although Mme Grès is best known for her densely pleated, silk jersey “Goddess” gowns, she equally favored eveningwear in more varied silhouettes rendered in heavy silk crepes, mohair knits, and silk taffetas. Her reliance on draping may be seen in one element of her work that emerges as a signature: her preference for unbroken lengths of fabric to compose her designs. In this evening gown, Mme Grès used a continuous loop of taffeta with a pouf extruding at the left shoulder. While it is ornamental, the pouf is not applied but is an integral extension of the fabric that forms the bodice of the gown. The fit of the gown is accomplished by the shaping of its two sideseams and the insertion of bust darts.