Madame Alix Grès (née Germaine Emilie Krebs) was born in 1903 in Paris, France. She desired to be a sculptor, but without a fruitful career, she soon switched to women's hat-making. Her first fashion house, "Alex Couture," opened in 1934 and was her shift towards couture.
Madame Grès designed her gowns in the fashion of a sculptor—directly on the bodies of her models. Very soon she became famous and her name became a synonym for elegance—"The Star of Elegance." She created garments for royal families, aristocracy and the celebrities of her time: Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Vivien Leigh and others. One of her first muses was Isadora Duncan.
Several years after marrying Russian painter Serge Czerefkov (1937) the famous creator changed her name to Madame Grès in 1942, as it was an anagram of her husband's name and also his alias. Soon after they got married, her husband left France for French Polynesia and "forgot to return."
During World War II and the German occupation of France, Madame Grès, patriotic to the core, was creating clothes around the three colors of France—blue, white and red. The first perfume of the Grès house, Cabochard, was created in 1958, after Madame Grès returned from a trip to India. Cabochard was inspired by a new generation of perfumes, includingTabac Blond(1919),Cuir de Russie(1924), Scandal (1933), andBandit(1944).
In 1982 Madame Grès had to sell her perfume business for the sake of her Haute Couture house. The company Parfums Grès changed hands several times until it was finally bought by Silvio Denz in 2001. Today Parfums Grès is based in Switzerland. The first perfume launched by the new owner was Cabaret (2003), after which comes Cabaret Homme (2004) and Caline (2005).
Madame Grès died in 1993 in her house in the South of France, but her death was not announced until a year later, on December 14, 1994 inLe Monde.