By  on April 17, 2009

PARIS — A 72-year-old Madeleine Vionnet halterneck gown, a crumpled heap of brittle tulle and silk flowers, has been laid out for inspection in the restoration rooms of Les Arts Décoratifs — and Maximilien Durand, director of the restoration department, issues a grim diagnosis.

“This dress is really ill and will necessitate 60 days of restoration without any certitude of being able to save it,” he said. Things looked less serious for a silk frock dyed in a shocking flush of pink and a geometric dress from the Thirties with a circular neckline in broken mauve lace.

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