I observe Mme’s very dress, sprawled flat on a table before me. Let me make this as objec­tive as I can. Its pale pink organ­za is still crisp, its del­i­cate embroi­dery still fresh, its rib­bon ros­es still pert but… It’s ruined. We have ways of know­ing when a dress is worn – a lit­tle smooth­ness here, a few crin­kles under the arms, a lit­tle stain or two. But nev­er has a gar­ment been so dis­fig­ured by a stain in my many years of search­ing for mean­ing in the name of fash­ion.