(Originally published in Violet7 Magazine, April 2015 Violet7 Archive password: paris)

From the 8th of March to the 23rd of August 2015 the Palais Galliera is hosting a Jeanne Lanvin retrospective, designed and curated by Alber Elbaz, artistic director of the house of Lanvin.  I had the immense pleasure of visiting the exhibition this weekend, and it truly took my breath away. Photos were not allowed, but that’s okay- to only look at photos of the pieces on display would be cheating yourself out of unbelievable grace.  With 90 examples of day and evening wear spanning from the aughts of the 20th century to the advent of World War II, the exhibition headily transports you through half a century in a glittering, bygone world.  The pieces are dazzling, with an intricacy made organic by Lanvin’s virtuosic eye for line and curve. While the fashion side of me salivated, I couldn’t help but think throughout the exhibition about the world inhabited by Lanvin’s customers before the war crumbled the last vestige of a genteel Europe; then, by 1939 gown, a quote from one Christian Dior: “Paris was rarely more sparkling…People flitted from ball to ball; dreading the inevitable cataclysm, they hoped desperately to avoid it, and whatever happened, they wanted to go out in style.”

Lanvin dresses 1Lanvin dresses 2Lanvin dresses 3

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