Photo by Flo Kohl.
The dress is paper thin but malleable, raindrops of sparkle drenching the cream surface. It is laid out on a table whose top, like a grand piano, lifts up to reveal a mirrored underside.
Two visions of this scintillating Jeanne Lanvin dress were therefore in front of me. Yet already I had learned a lot about this designer, famous in the 1920s for her cloche hats, her genteel dresses, a particular shade of blue inspired by the frescoes of Fra Angelico, and her daughter - pretty, perfectly behaved Marguerite, who was immortalised with her mother on the Lanvin logo.
That signalled the first lifestyle brand - children's clothes, a trousseau, daywear, evening dresses and men's and women's sports clothes.
Jeanne Lanvin (at the Palais Galliera, Paris, until August 23) is an exhibition curated by Olivier Saillard with Alber Elbaz, Lanvin's current artistic director, as an alter ego. The result is as light, fresh and charming as lilies of the valley on a May day.