Madame Grès

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Sphinx of Fashion

Patricia Mears

View Inside Format: Cloth
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Out of Print

While the classically inspired “Grecian” gown designed by Madame Alix Grès is widely recognized and admired, little else of the brilliant couturier’s life or work has received close attention. This book, by far the most detailed study yet published on this influential fashion designer, carefully analyzes Madame Grès’ innovative construction techniques and connects her designs to the art styles and movements that inspired and informed her aesthetic.


Gorgeously illustrated with images of fabulous clothes designed by Madame Grès, the book focuses on her long career (spanning the early 1930s to the late 1980s) and refutes the previous understanding that her work was static and unchanging. Rather, her designs consistently changed and evolved, even as a thread of continuity connected them. The volume discusses how sculpture and the construction of non-western clothing inspired Grès’s fashion, and examines numerous couture versions of her saris, ponchos, serapes, caftans, three-dimensional sculptural pieces, and Grecian gowns. In addition, the book constructs a timeline of her career and discusses her secretive private life, including the circumstances of her death, inexplicably concealed by her daughter for over a year.

Patricia Mears is deputy director, The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She is coauthor of Ralph Rucci: The Art of Weightlessness (Yale).


The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York (dates tba)

"Madame Grès is a timely and welcome trove coinciding with an exhibition at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. . . . Mears brings to her subject a genuine appreciation for the engineering that formed the basis of Grès's innovation and for her tenacious, obsessive pursuit of custom techniques that were inherently uncommercial, severely curtailing the expansion of her business empire."—Holly Brubach, New York Times Style Magazine—Women's Fashion

"With this work, Mears provides a long-overdue overview of this largely unknown fashion designer. . . . Featuring a select bibliography, this thoroughly researched and beautiful monograph is indispensable for all design and fashion collections. Essential."—Choice

Received First Prize for the 2009 American Association of Museums Publications Design Competition.
ISBN: 9780300136920
Publication Date: March 28, 2008
Publishing Partner: Published in association with The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology
184 pages, 12 x 9 1/4
90 color illus.
Ralph Rucci

The Art of Weightlessness

Valerie Steele, Patricia Mears, and Clare Sauro

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American Beauty

Aesthetics and Innovation in Fashion

Patricia Mears

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Japan Fashion Now

Valerie Steele with Patricia Mears, Yuniya Kawamura, and Hi

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Fairy Tale Fashion

Colleen Hill; With Patricia Mears, Ellen Sampson, and Kiera

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