Sunday, February 3, 2008

Cold Shoulder

Madame Grès

Madame Grès

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.

Comments (93)

  1. Valentine Says:

    This dress is perfect for the cocktail party. Flowing and free, Grès knows how to show that the wearer is ready to party steadily.

  2. Larrythesnail Says:

    This dress is beautifly constructed. It has a flawless silohette and is fabulous for an evening or cocktails dress.

  3. c willow Says:

    AHHH i love the color. i noticed when i was sketching it that the position of the seams is extraordinary

  4. Laurie Aron Says:

    Madame Gres was brilliant, but this example, with the one-sided shoulder hump, strikes me as one of her less-inspired moments, no matter how integral it is as part of a “continuous loop of taffeta.” All I see is “extruded pouf,” and it’s not pretty.

  5. Merna Says:

    Love the color!

  6. Jane Says:

    I think it is really pretty. I love the puff on the shoulder.

  7. Kristin Says:

    This is a very pretty dress. I love it and would even wear it now. We saw a lot of the one shoulder dresses and shirts a few years ago. It’s always interesting to see hard evidence how fashion repeats itself. The big flowers and embellishments were trendy not too log ago also.

  8. Krista Beth Says:

    Oh, this bores me to tears. How often have we seen one shoulder poofy sleeves? The concept has been designed to death and I can’t pick out anything extraordinary about this one that makes it stand out against the other 87,000 of them.

  9. Anne Says:

    Too bad there isn’t a better picture that shows the “extraordinary” seaming c willow noted…

  10. Alicia M Says:

    I really enjoyed seeing her red silk taffeta evening dress. I went to Paris last spring with my school and we visited the shop where her work continues. Her work is very detailed, many hours go into making the drape effect. Many women pay a lot of money for her style dress, because so much time and effort goes into making one dress.

  11. Jennifer Smith Says:

    Mme Gres normally captures a timeless elegance with her silk jersey fabrics and draping abilities. This dress is not my favorite with the one poofy shoulder. It is too much of a distraction for me; although, I do like the color.

  12. Laurie Aron Says:

    Thank you Krista Beth! I was hoping someone would agree with me! Who knows? Maybe it was the first one shoulder pouf dress? But if it was, it should have said.

  13. Beth Says:

    This dress is very interesting to me. I have learned about Madame Gres in various courses throughout school and getting so see an actual garment of hers was very exciting. Although the dress was made in 1979, I think it looks very modern for the time. Also is looks different from other fashion of the same time and it illustrates why Madame Gres is seen as such a innovative designer.

  14. Justin Says:

    Out of all of the amazing pieces she created in her lifetime, I’m having trouble understanding why this one would ever be singled out. It’s a standard early 80’s look, and not even the technique in the construction can make it something amazing.

  15. genevieve hattenberger Says:

    because the draping is concentred only on the top and arround the shoulder forming a pouf that looks almost like a rose (the chosen color for the fabric is appropriate for this idea), this dress is not too much, the bottom is very simple, only the pouf on the shoulder looks complicated, and the flashy color could be connoted as fantaisist. Why cold shoulder…I like the style of this pouf on the dhoulder (that s hot). I can see a classical greek style, then a timeless elegance…Her fashion style turn a fashionable woman into a living statue. This dress is sexy and elegant, today because the draping style is back, I would be happy to have this timeless dress in my closet

  16. Laurie Aron Says:

    I agree, Justin, unless it was chosen for its foresightedness! Maybe we’re so blinded by the poufy 80’s that we don’t see this as innovation. Nevertheless I agree that it doesn’t seem amazing.

  17. kenscott Says:

    i love the single strap dress and the bold color is amazing

  18. Jill Says:

    This is VERY PRETTY! great for maybe a coctail party or any party. I would wear it right now, it’s so cute! off the shoulder is a style I’ve loved for-ev-er and now I guess i know where it came from :)

  19. Cindy Says:

    I think this dress is AMAZING!! I would wear it all the time!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the red and the design is gorgeous!! <3

  20. jada tedder Says:

    i think this would be great dress to go to a ball or prom

  21. stephen borkowski Says:

    Exquisite sparseness, linear simplicity = perfection

  22. lilyana ruiz Says:

    this cold shoulder style was recreated in short sleeved shirts and long sleeved

  23. Karin Westerlund Says:

    Fashion changes, style remains…

  24. Sharon Betesh Says:

    This dress is amazing. Great color, fit, style, I love everything about it. This dress is exactly the kind of dress I would wear.

  25. Kathleen Says:

    I love this dress! My very first impression of it when I saw it was a modern version of the red gown Scarlet O’hara wore in “Gone With The Wind” when she made that fateful entrance, knowing she was despised yet she carried herself in a manner that made her rather untouchable. This dress, worn on a tall, striking woman would achieve a riveting effect on any audience. I am amazed at the ability to use one length of fabric with pleating, draping and poofing so exquisitely to produce such a fluid, beautiful line. The material, red color and design, in my opinion, make it absolutely stunning!

  26. darrell burnet Says:

    i love this dress and i love the colour and design

  27. Esme Says:

    this is so pretty I would totaly wear it.

  28. Triple Rainbow Says:

    This dress is amazing.I love it.I would definitly wear it.

  29. Shane Corcoran Says:

    I found the most inspiration from the Mme. Gres gowns. The draping is impeccable and creates a completely stunning garment.

  30. kate Says:

    Love this dress…the color and design are gorgeous

  31. Dianne Says:

    What a great fashion week for me — I saw the Madame Gres exhibition at the F.I.T. Gallery last Tues. and this exciting Met exhibition today. This red dress is beautifully simple and interesting in light of the more well-known jersey pleated ones. But, I was more impressed with the white pleated silk jersey displayed as you come down the stairs into the gallery. The workmanship in that one is truly ingenious.

  32. Karla Says:

    I really like the color and the style but i dont really love the big flower/bow on the side but it is an okay dress.

  33. Nicole therese Says:

    This fantastic dress is a phenomenal design and a gorgeous color and a outstanding pattern .Madame Gre’s did a wonderful job on the dress

  34. Tammy Says:

    This really interested me becuase of its style and bold choice of color.

  35. rose Says:

    This dress is beautiful, I adore the stunning red color with the detail on the shoulder. I love the length and I think it is perfect for any event.

  36. Madeleine Says:

    The dress is stunning………it would be perfecet for anything…….i wish i owned it(the color makes it pop)

  37. Isabelle Says:

    I absolutely love this dress and i would wear it any day. I love the color red. I think its so pretty.

  38. Candi Joy Rodriguez Says:

    I wore a dress with this kind of one-shoulder pouf to a New Years Eve party in the 1980’s and it was a practical disaster. It was very difficult to keep the bare-shouldered side from a “wardrobe malfunction” and in fact I had to discreetly stuff a “body part” back into the dress while leaning over the dinner table. I think this style is much better for standing in one place and looking elegant. Dancing would be scary.

  39. Clementine Says:

    This gown is incredibly gorgeous , a dream for a french teenager 14th like me.

  40. Sapphire Says:

    This flawless dress would definatly catch the eye of everyone at any party. It is modern yet wearable and elegant. It falls gracefully and is excellently constructed. The color add the wow factor and gives the shoulder piece a flowery look. I love this and I think it is one of the best in this excibit.

  41. Nora Says:

    I think this dress is extremely elegant and graceful. It would really turn heads at even the most extravagent affair. I would love to wear it.

  42. Lin Fox Says:

    I think this is a very nice exhibit. It is worth the trip from Fairfield Connecticut.

    I would recomend it to all my friends and family. My mother and I had lunch in the
    restaurent which was a very nic exibit.

  43. Devan Gallagher Says:

    I can tell that whoever made this dress put much effort and thier heart into it. I chose to comment on THIS dress becauswe first I really like how the artist made it and how it has a sash and a big bow or rose thing at the top of the sash. I really like the color because my favorite color is rasberry( which is a shade of red) and so I like how it all kind of goes together. I myself wou8ld never wear something of the sort because I would be afraid that I would ruin it, bhut I really like it all the same.

  44. CC Says:

    well we had a good insite but the damn computor erased it! guess you’ll never know….Oh Shucks

  45. ILE Says:

    Dress is very cute, perfect for an opera or a cocktail party.

  46. Jesssica Ireland Says:

    This exibit is amazing!!!!!!!!!!! it would be even cooler if they let you try on the clothes. That would be even more amazing. Anyway, the exibits cool so KEEP UP TH GOOD WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  47. ♥Juliette♥ Says:

    I love this dress. The flower brings out the real quality of the dress.

  48. JACKIE Says:

    wow this dress is really PRETTY.<333333
    i luv it!!!! =]

  49. Kim Says:

    I would only wear this for the most decadent of occasions but I would love to wear it to an event with music in many rooms…

  50. Meghan Says:

    This dress is awesome. I love the ruffle-ish thing on top. :)

  51. rose r. Says:

    some were nice, but some of them were just overwhelming!!!!!!! But they are beautiful in their own way. So come and see them and you will be amazed.


  52. Jan Says:

    what a unique construction !!
    “… Mme Grès used a continuous (single!!!) loop of taffeta …!”

    Dont forget to visit and review the other “Mme Grès” in the same
    exhibition as well. It has not been commented yet .

    You ll find it right next to the entrance at the stair landing
    together with the contemporaries from Yeohlee Teng;
    Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto .

    This other dress is even a more amazing simple genius put in to
    fabric. A stunner !! Thanks for that !

  53. charlie Says:

    Hi! The cold shoulder is amazing! I love it! The fabric is amazing.

  54. Janet Says:

    Lovely workmanship and design. Chris March must have seen this dress!

  55. Hannah Says:

    this part of the meuseum was exelent i may only be a tenn but this was an interesting eyeopener i l y u guys!!!!

  56. Aurore Says:

    this dress is beautiful

  57. Marci Says:

    Stunning dress. For PR afficionados, the similarity of the shoulder treatment to what Chris did for his MMA challenge cannot be denied. He shouldn’t have been criticized for extending a theme that worked with the painting he chose. And you can see the painting in the gallery upstairs.

  58. Valentina Says:

    Where is italian fashion? I think the best fashion art comes from Italy, isn’t it?
    My best regards

  59. Anita Says:

    I think of “Pretty Woman” when I see this dress.

  60. Ellie Says:

    LOVE IT!!!! I would totally wear it

  61. Maria Ines Strasser Says:

    En febrero de 2008 estuve filmando las colecciones de pasarela Cibeles en Madrid, en mi calidad de periodista de moda, por mi especialidad, pues soy diseñadora y directora de una escuela de diseño y alta costura….noté que en varias colecciones el peso del efecto del modelo estaba puesto sobre el hombro derecho, al igual que en este modelo de Mme Grès.

    De forma redimensionada, estos apliques, con variantes menos definidas y muy expresivas podríamos adelantar que son una señal de retro…..quizás inspirada en la diseñadora……en las últimas colecciones de las temporadas pasadas, vimos la moda de Poiret …..también descubrimos el toque Balenciaga, El Dior de las campanas y el talle justo, y ahora me atrevo a pensar que la musa de muchos ha sido esta época de La Sra. Grès y sus contemporáneos.

    Sin olvidar el rescatado geométrico del contrustivismo ruso tan cercano a Rodchenko y Stepanova.

  62. Gmalvy Says:

    This dress is just simply beautiful!! It’s elegant and chic, and is perfect for the perfect evening out to someplace special! I love it and was glad to see such a style displayed in this museum=]

  63. Jen Says:

    I feel like I’ve seen this dress in a million different incarnations, which speaks to how much more influential Gres might have been than I realized.

  64. AMELIA Says:


  65. rebecca Says:

    Amazing to see and provokingto think about who thought of this geneous design.

  66. Romi Says:

    I relly like it!

  67. Gretchen Parisi Says:

    This dress is stunning. The cut, the color and the silhouette are all fabulous!

  68. izzy brown Says:

    this is so cool… i would wear it any time. it’s lovley.

  69. Rubber Duck Says:

    very cool. i wish i had one

  70. cami Says:

    this one is my favorite dress of the bunch. i love the color (red) and the sholder. it is a very flatering garmett.

  71. Carina Kahane Says:

    This dress is a gorg shade of red!

  72. Carly Says:

    So cool…

  73. meimi1995529 Says:

    The color and style is beautiful although I do think the flowery ribbon at the top is a little bit too much.

  74. Kalaya Says:

    The choices of cut, color and fabric all come together to create a wonderful dress. This dress truly appeals to me on many levels.

  75. Ratna Says:

    Galliano is outrageous and while I’m typically not a fan - his punchy and irreverent designs are great. Never thought I’d become a follower - lovely.

  76. Sandra Says:

    The color is great, it is super sexy, and perfect.

  77. momo Says:

    a lovely evening gown

  78. MikoandFaison Says:

    What a fabulous gown. We love Madame Gres.

  79. Kat :-) Says:

    Who said the shoulder thing wasn’t glamourous?

  80. Alexandra Says:

    it is very pretty and fashionable. I am sure a lot of people would like to wear it.

  81. Katie Keim Says:

    This dress is elegent and is a magnificent red/pink colored dress that any girl would enjoy wearing!

  82. Marytere Acosta Says:

    This dress is gorgeous. I love the rose on it.

  83. NB Says:

    That dress was beautiful,I would most certainly wear it.It is simply gorgeous!I love the rose on it.

  84. ashley Says:

    i lovwe it so much

  85. John Dorcinville Says:

    This was one of my favorite dresses in the entire gallery. The rich colour and the dramatic construction made it an absolute winner. It appears to be perfectly wearable as of today and woul do any woman justice. It certainly belongs in this museum.

  86. michaela Says:

    i <333333333333333 it

  87. THEA Says:


  88. Susana Says:

    omg this is my prom dress i loooooooove it, the crinkling and the stratgeic placing of the poof on the shoulder, i can like rest my head on it when i’m tired. After a long day of walking around in my heels partyyyy hopping i can use a good pillow. Works well on the bust. Way to go. i totally want this…yaaaaaaa

    Washington State Champs 2008

  89. liz Says:

    This dress is very interesting. I am surprised that they have survived that long. This dress is very unusaul and is made with a very soft kind of fabric.

  90. she Says:

    i think that the dress is very cute. i would wear it anyday. i also think that it represents the time period too.

  91. missmamei Says:

    This dress is a stunner!

  92. Steph Says:

    awesome dress

  93. Emelyn Says:

    My mom and I both thought this dress was breathtaking. The color and style were very pretty. It reminded us of the dress Ann Hathaway wore at the Oscars. Very pretty!

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