I discovered her work when I was a student. She was not the most famous fashion designer, but she remains one of the best. Her work is so timeless and beautiful to look at and to touch: very simple, discreet, and elegant. Absolutely everything was done by hand—every pleat.
Coco Chanel once said, “Elegance is refusal,” and Madame Grès was all about refusal. When you see someone in a dress by her, you don’t look at the garment first; you look at the woman. I own one dress by Madame Grès, which I bought years ago from a friend, and I went to see her exhibition at Musée Bourdelle in Paris last year five times. It was incredible. If a girl wore any of those dresses to a ball today, she would look like one of the most modern women ever.
Photography by Patrick Demarchelier