Although venerable designer Mme. Gres is being honored with an exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, no one expects the nonagenarian to storm up the stairs of the Met tonight for the opening party. The designer disappeared from Paris several years ago and hasn't been heard from--or of--since.
"I've tried, but given up," shrugged Jacques Mouclier, the president of the Chambre Syndicale, which Gres headed in the Seventies. Mouclier noted that two letters he sent to her in the last year went unanswered. Her last known address is a family home in St. Paul de Vence, a village in Provence. A spokeswoman for the Gres fashion house--which the designer no longer owns--places her in an old folks' home "somewhere in France."

Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge caught a preview of the Gres show on Saturday, and YSL loved it so much, he went back on Sunday. "It's so beautiful," he said, "I didn't remember how beautiful her things are." Berge agreed, but had to twist the knife a little. "Yes, it's a wonderful exhibit," he said. "She's a genius. But I don't know why everyone in the press is saying it's so wonderful because people in the press love so many ugly things, so many bad couturiers. Mme. Gres is exactly the opposite. What you love you call 'The Kaiser,' whatever--it's what I call disgusting."

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