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MADAME GRÈS: SCULPTURAL FASHION
Wednesday, 12 September, 2012 - Sunday, 10 February, 2013
MOMU Fashion Museum Province of Antwerp,
This autumn, MoMu will present Madame Grès: Sculptural Fashion, an overview of the work of the Parisian couturier, Madame Grès (1903–1993). Madame Grès felt herself 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.’ 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.
Her customers were the famous international celebrities of their time, including Edith Piaf, Marlène Dietrich, Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco. Madame Grès worked with the greatest photographers
(including Guy Bourdin, George Hoyningen-Huene, Cecil Beaton, Henry Clarke), whose original photographs are also included in the exhibition, alongside original drawings by Madame Grès. 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.
Even today, great designers like Azzedine Alaïa, Yohji Yamamoto, Jean Paul Gaultier, Alber Elbaz and Haider Ackermann, consider her work an inspiration for their own. Countless collections have been crea-ted in homage to her, some silhouettes of which are included in the ex-hibition. Her mark on contemporary fashion cannot be overestimated, and the timelessness of her creations is brought home in this encounter of her work with the work of contemporary designers.
Conceptually, the design of the exhibition at the Fashion Museum will be consistent with the sculptural fashion of Madame Grès. To achieve this, the Fashion Museum is working with the Belgian artist Renato Nicolodi, who has designed new elements and installations for the exhibition spaces and will also exhibit own work. His archetypal, minimalist and classically inspired works take on a stimulating dialogue with the work of Madame Grès.
MoMu welcomes and recomposes the retrospective of Madame Grès from musée Galliera, musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris, which was presented in 2011 at the musée Bourdelle in Paris. This exhibition reunites Madame Grès silhouettes originating mostly from the Galliera collections as well as some private collections.