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The SCAD FASH Museum in Atlanta presents a major exhibition on the creations of French fashion designer Madame Grès, secretly collected by the late Azzedine Alaïa.

© Courtesy of Foundation Azzedine Alaïa

Madame Grès, whose real name is Germaine Émilie Krebs, celebrates in 2023 not only the 120th anniversary of her birth in 1903, but also the 30th anniversary of her death in 1993, at the age of 90, in total silence. Double anniversary and double reason to honor this “Vestal of Fashion” of the 20th century. The SCAD FASH Museum makes room for her in a first major retrospective in the United States in over a decade, organized in collaboration with the Azzedine Alaïa Foundation and its curator, Olivier Saillard.

“The Art of Draping” presents, for the first time, sumptuous pieces from the secret collections of Azzedine Alaïa (1935-2017). The late French-Tunisian designer was a lover of her creations and, like her, shared a passion for sculpting shapes. In their early years, both aspired to become sculptors, before embracing their memorable careers in haute couture. Madame Grès has since, throughout the 20th century, elevated her sculptural gowns to the status of works of art, affirming the sensual style of ancient statuary through her draping and pleating technique.

© Courtesy of Foundation Azzedine Alaïa

A testament to exacting standards

The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) continues to be at the epicenter of fashion, couture, and timeless beauty with this exhibition that traces nearly sixty years of design. The exhibition features custom-made ensembles, evening, day, and cocktail dresses. The selection starts in the 1930s, when she was designing under the name Alix on rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré, and ends in the 1980s, when her creations were still adapted to modern life.

© Courtesy of SCAD
© Courtesy of Foundation Azzedine Alaïa

The tour continues with never-before-seen prints on loan from the Azzedine Alaïa Foundation and rare images of this grande dame of couture, taken by photographer Horst P. Horst, whose work is also on view via the “Essence of the Times” exhibition in an adjacent gallery. “Madame Grès ruled fashion with clean lines, neoclassical draping and a timeless understanding of the female form,” notes Paula Wallace, president and founder of SCAD. “Her gowns exude elegance and grace, and transport those who wear them (and all who are lucky enough to see them) through time, from Ancient Greece to the future of fashion.” 

“The Art of Draping”


Through January 30, 2023

Nathalie Dassa