Parfums Grès was introduced in 1959 by Madame Grès, one of the most important and enigmatic Parisian fashion designers of the mid-twentieth century. Grès was born Germaine Krebs in 1903. Throughout her career, she chose not to reveal the details of her family background or early life. Even her name was an invention: she first designed as “Alix Barton,” then took the surname of her husband, the Russian painter Serge Czerefkow, who had changed his own name to Grès.
After training as a sculptor and working at other fashion houses, she opened her own business in Paris in 1942. Even during the difficult circumstances of World War II, the house of Grès was successful. The designer became famous for her sculptural draping of flowing materials, resulting in gowns that evoked the styles of ancient Greece with a modern twist. Grès’s innovation and craftsmanship were on a par with houses like Chanel or Vionnet, and her designs were favorites of elegant women including Jacqueline Kennedy and Princess Grace of Monaco.
In the 1980s, however, the business went bankrupt and was liquidated; the brand’s name was bought by the Japanese company Yagi Tsusho. Grès died in 1993. Typically reticent, her family did not reveal her death until a year later.
The first perfume released by Parfums Grès was the classic chypre Cabochard (1959). More recent releases include the green floral Cabotine and its many limited edition flankers; the fruity floral Grain de Folie; and the spicy rose Cabaret.