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I once wrote an article on Which Fashion Era Are You and learned that a ton of our members adore the 30s and 40s, as do I. Today let’s get inspired by the infamous fashion house of Madame Grès and some stunning fashion photographers from her time. Read on…

Madame Alix Grès opened the design house Alix in 1934, but was forced to shutter it’s doors in 1939. In 1942, she opened a new house under her husband’s nom d’artiste, Grès. In the mid-1930s she became known for extravagantly arranged clothes made of silk jersey in the classical Greek style and with few visible seams. Information on Grès from KCI Digital Archives.

The lady herself; Vintage Madame Grès Greek Style Evening Dress c. 1955;

Lilac gown

The above image is from Paris Originals. Visit the website for beautiful photos of Madame Alix Grès’ work and other interesting books.

Gres often used jersey and wool for evening gowns

A Madame Gres label

Horst P Horst (Horst Paul Albert Bohrmann); Photographer. “In the history of twentieth-century fashion and portrait photography, Horst’s contribution figures as one of the most artistically significant and long lasting, spanning as it did the sixty years between 1931 and 1991. During this period, his name became legendary as a one-word photographic byline, and his photographs came to be seen as synonymous with the creation of images of elegance, style and rarefied glamour.” For more info and photos, visit horstphorst.com.

Ginger Rogers, 1936; Marlene Dietrich

1942; Coco Chanel (Reclining), 1937; 1943; Round the Clock I 1987

Lisa as V.O.G.U.E., 1940

Can you guess which one is from the past, and which one is from the present? Horst P Horst; Prada 2011

Model in Christian Dior Dress Abandon, 1948/1949 by Willy Maywald; Dior and model

Horst P Horst; Erwin Blumenfeld; John Rawlings

Cecil Beaton; Constantin Joffe

The 30s

The 40s


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    Jul 16, 2011, 09.22 PMby Tokie Ang

    this is great article..thanks for sharing :D

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    Jul 15, 2011, 01.15 PMby pambox

    i think what makes 30s and 40s fashion so interesting and inspiring is that it is flattering to pretty much everyone. while the 20s and 60s had the really slim twiggy physique and the the 50s had accentuated curves, 30s and 40s fashions can suit both and those in between.

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    Jul 14, 2011, 05.40 PMby nouvellegamine

    maybe it’s bc of my grandma, maybe it’s bc of the movies, but 30s/40s are some of my favorite styles. i also think that with minor tweaks the styles look so perfect for today. shorten the hems just a little & all those lovely little 30s/40s dresses look so fresh. the cuts and seams are just not something you see in todays patterns. wonderful post!

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    Jul 14, 2011, 05.34 PMby aleah

    Stunning photos.

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    Jul 14, 2011, 09.53 AMby Sabrina Wharton-Brown

    On that photo with the two models heads next to each other, is the curly haired one a mannequin? She looks like a wax figure or something.

    1 Reply
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    Jul 14, 2011, 06.05 AMby bhs

    I am in love with Alix Grès’ dresses!

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    Jul 13, 2011, 04.55 PMby Granny15ofTexas

    The elegance and Glamore of vintage fashion seems to have go out of the fashions of today. I for one miss seeing that in our newer designs. Thank you for bring this back for me.

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    Jul 13, 2011, 03.01 PMby daughterfish

    Ah, thank you for posting this! I’ve never seen her work before. How beautiful. My favorite type of clothing. Amazing.

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    Jul 13, 2011, 09.16 AMby spagirl23

    Great article.

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    Jul 13, 2011, 08.31 AMby olg

    wonderful! I get inspired, again. love from Amsterdam

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    Jul 13, 2011, 08.17 AMby Monjio

    Wonderful Article! One of my passions is the history of fashion! Such refined beauty!!

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    Jul 13, 2011, 06.49 AMby natnatcherry

    I would love a vintage madame Gres for my wedding dress. I decided a while back that when we get married I want to make my own dress so I’ll be channeling the spirit of Madame Gres!

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    Jul 13, 2011, 05.17 AMby baka-pepica

    oh really elegant and photos of the past are amazing.. such elegence!

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    Jul 13, 2011, 01.12 AMby candroid007

    I adore this article, such a gorgeous and dreamy era.

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    Jul 12, 2011, 11.33 PMby loyl8

    thank you…this was a very nice post. beautiful era and beautiful work

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    Jul 12, 2011, 09.38 PMby ruthw

    Let me guess…. The model with the neck tattoo is from the present…..

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      Jul 13, 2011, 01.48 PMby alisondahl

      haha— I should have airbrushed it out! funny how modern the image to the left looks when next to the Prada image.

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    Jul 12, 2011, 08.29 PMby carottesauvage

    The current Madame Grès exhibition in Paris is absolutely stunning, perfectly curated with the permanent sculpture collection of the Bourdelle museum. Her style is timeless, I don’t see it as nostalgic

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      Jul 12, 2011, 08.44 PMby alisondahl

      I’m nostalgic for the days of Madame Gres is what I mean by using the word— it means yearning for the past… I agree as well though that her fashion is also timeless. You’re so lucky you get to see the exhibit, amazing!

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      Jul 12, 2011, 08.50 PMby carottesauvage

      got you there! :)
      Perhaps the exhibit will travel to New York, but the musée Bourdelle is very beautiful (Bourdelle’s sculpture atelier in fact). The analogy with her pleating techniques and sculpture is successfully put across

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