The Musée Galliera, the museum of costume and textile in Paris, is fortunately closed for renovation. I say fortunately because yesterday, I went to see the Madame Gres exhibit at the Musée Bourdelle and the setting was an ideal and unexpected place to exhibit the extraordinary work of Madame Gres.
"La perfection est l'un des buts que je recherche."
It is a meandering museum as is the show. At first, I thought the exhibit was only a small number of dresses but you keep walking and you discover in the artist's studio, two beautiful gowns, then hidden behind a partition is another group of extraordinary dresses, then all of the sudden there is a room filled with original sketches from the Maison Gres archives which Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent bought and donated to the museum. So it is really very thrilling to turn a corner, walk through a garden, enter a room and each time, you think to yourself: this is the most beautiful dress I have ever seen. But then you walk along, come upon another dress and you think: no, this is the most beautiful dress I have ever seen. But then you think: well, that other dress was so beautiful...
The museum is dedicated to the sculptor (we all know that Madame Gres considered herself a sculptor) Antoine Bourdelle. I think exhibiting the dresses amongst Bourdelles' massive and monumental sculptures which were classical but not literally from ancient Rome or Greece added to the sense of timelessness to the clothing. I saw one dress that was very similar to a Madame Gres dress we had at RARE vintage and a sketch that looked very similar to another dress we had - it is an extraordinary honor for me to have and have had some superb examples of Madame Gres' work at RARE vintage. Here are some photos from the show. Enjoy!! I know I did!
and a detail of the dress that will break your heart: the last dress Madame Gres ever did. There was an old and fragile woman waiting to see Hubert de Givenchy in his atelier. It was Madame Gres. She gave him the last dress she did as a thank you for supporting her work.
all photographs by my most wonderful and ever so patient husband, Andrea Cairone
Madame Gres: Couture at Work. Musée Bourdelle. Through 24 July.
I am always interested in purchasing Madame Gres dresses and accessories for RARE vintage from those who can bear to part with her pieces.