Behind the scenes, Collection, Exhibition

The pink velvet Madame Grès dress from Galliera

Evening gown in pink velvet by Madame Grès, A/W 1956, loan Galliera, Photo: MoMu

For our exhibition Madame Grès. Sculptural Fashion we had the wonderful opportunity to collaborate with musée Galliera, musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris. They entrusted our museum also with the care of the conservation of a pink velvet dress and skirt from Madame Grès’s Autumn/Winter 1956 collection, inventory number 1979.24.25. The material of this dress is a silk velvet. The dress was worn by Miss Hardion, the wife of a French ambassador, and frequent client of Madame Grès.

L'Art & la Mode and L'Officiel de la Mode et de la couture de Paris, 1956

This piece was not shown in the Galliera exhibition at musée Bourdelle. Because of its bad condition it was impossible to present this dress without performing a proper conservation treatment. The dress was torn on stressful points where the huge amount of fabric came together and it was necessary to give these weak points a proper support to protect the dress from further damage. Also the skirt needed a new support to carry the weight of the huge amount of velvet fabric.

Most disturbing was the fact that the dress was wrinkled really bad. After doing some tests, we found a safe way to flatten the dress without squashing the velvet. We laid the dress with the velvet side on a soft pillow, then on the back side we applied a layer of gore-tex, on top of the gore-tex – a moist blotting paper and on top of that small bags of sand for the weight. Thanks to the pillow and presumably the high quality of the velvet, the pile of velvet was not squashed.

View from the exhibition Madame Grès. Sculptural Fashion, 2012, Photo: Boy Kortekaas

The result was really satisfying and now we are proud to show you this beautiful piece in our exhibition!

The author works in the conservation and restoration department at MoMu.