Friday, April 29, 2011

Dresses, Dresses . . .Paris Dresses . . .

What with us all ogling Kate's dress, and with me heading to the opera tomorrow night, I'm reminded that I promised more of Mme Grès' creations. I have oodles of pics from this exhibition which I'll dole out over the next few weeks. These photos should all be click-able for a bigger picture.
You'll want to look close for some of the couture details, the buttons and buttonholes, the gathering at the sleeves, the magnificent pleating. . .
Look at that very sexy back on the otherwise buttoned-up dress in the background below -- and check out that wonderful contrasting lower skirt emerging from the dress in the foreground.
Most of these were from the late 30s, early 40s. My favourite might have been the silk jersey dress below -- I'm crazy about the way the pleats drape to form generous pockets . . . and speaking of craziness, these dresses boasted hem circumferences of up to 21 metres! Granted, this is more true of dresses in the 40s and later, of which more later . . .

Note the slimness of this arm, achieved by tiny fasteners, all, of course, hand sewn . . . I couldn't resist snapping many shots of various couture details -- neatly stitched waists, beautifully inset contrast fabrics, and cunningly rolled pleats. I hope you'll be as keen on them as I was, 'cause I promise you there will be many here over the next while.
For now, though, let's play a little game: maybe you could choose a dress for me to wear to La Traviata tomorrow night. Imagine having a closet with these resources!

Isn't that back amazing? And don't you love how wonderfully its sculptural draping complements Bourdelle's work? What do you think? Let's play dress-up -- which would you pick if you were heading off to the opera or somewhere equally deserving of a spectacular outfit?


  1. Ooh! Pretty. I like the one with the contrasting lower skirt emerging but I think that jersey one with the pleat pocket would look great on you.

  2. Hey F: I left you a message on Ravelry and a propos of it, the young woman I was talking about actually sells her patterns! The shawl scarf is gorgeous. I saw it and touched it. And she teaches a class on how to make it... Oh, knitting is so fun if only for the great in-the-know opportunities!

  3. OK - at this point I'm writing to you 6 diff ways, but seriously F, check out this post: Did I not just write something totally similar with no knowledge of this woman's blog? It's amazing how the world works. Just as I'm looking for feedback on how to be ok with loving more than one creative pursuit, I meet someone who's actively considering the same thing. Of course, till just now I didn't know it because we haven't discussed it!

    All this virtual world / real world stuff is totally fun.

  4. Thank you for posting these pictures. Mme Gres was a genius. I'm not sure which dress I'd pick for you. I'm influenced by memories of the Zeffirelli film (possibly faulty; it's been a long time) to see white and light costumes. So maybe the saffron dress in the third from last photo? Or the yellow gown? Whatever you chose, it would be stunning. Have fun at the opera tomorrow night. I love the music in that work.

  5. the draped pockets ARE beautiful. I am wondering about the weight of a dress with a hem that long!

  6. Fabulous, just...transporting. Makes me even crabbier about the quality of what's sold today. Granted, these were couture dresses but even so, when have you last seen artful draping anywhere?

  7. Susan t: Thanks, I'll just borrow it for a few hours, 'kay?
    K: Synchronicity! Or just K's very-plugged-in-ness. Funny, it's a question I've never been concerned with -- I do guilt very well, but not over spreading myself 'round the needlework world. I've done crewelwork, smocking, sewing, and knitting, a bit of cross-stitch. The last couple of decades, I've been monogamous (knitting), but that's more a function of the way I can fit it into a super-busy life. Sewing requires too much continuity at the moment. Lately, my body's been indicating that switching it up might be a good idea -- I get shoulder, elbow, and wrist issues with knitting.
    You'll have such fun with the knitting an cyber-world connections. Knitting blogs were what originally pulled me in -- not sure why it is, but knitters got here really quickly -- and you'll have noticed by now how many are multi-talented.

  8. SewingL: I haven't seen that film and I'm so curious about the costumes for tonight's production. I can't wear saffron, yellow, any of that family, but they're fabulous dresses and if offered a few hours in one, I'd probably do make-up to compensate!
    Terri: Good question -- she will have chosen those fabrics carefully, but still . . . so much of it! What do the sewists think?
    Duchesse: I know! There have been enough examples, over the past few years, of artful draping in tunics, often in jersey, to let us see the brass ring, but it seems to remain out of reach in terms of dresses. And I really love dresses!

  9. Dresses of that era are among my favorites. I'd choose by color for you - perhaps the coral?


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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