Line Vautrin is one of those archetypally French personalities - others are Cocteau, Piaf and Christian Berard - whose talents are compounded of dreams, poetry, images from the past and a mischievous sense of fun.
Since she was five years old, she has, like an alchemist turning base metals into gold, transformed humble materials into miracles of beauty and imagination.
Even the war-time scarcity of metals did not stop her; they made invention all the more important.
Her career took off from a shop in the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore and a Louis XV hotel in the Marais, housing her workshops, showroom and apartment, which became a veritable Aladdin's cave.
Like Schiaparelli, Vautrin pioneered designer buttons; but hers were part of a range of jewelry that is utterly unlike anyone else's: made in a variety of substances from gilt bronze to resin, and in forms inspired by ancient Greek coins, medieval folk art, animals, word-games, or, in her extraordinary abstract ensembles, the material itself.
From jewelry, her love of handiwork and inventing shapes led her on to sculpture, and finally to an altogether new art-form which she calls "pellimorphoses.
"But Line Vautrin is much more than the sum of her inventions: she is a part of history, and her work is sought by museums.
This tribute is the first to fix the shifting colors of her life in permanent form.
Vautrin herself has contributed a witty autobiographical sketch, and supervised the layout of her pieces in the color plates, while Patrick Mauries supplies a knowledgeable assessment of her work.
An incarnation of the ideal Parisienne, Line Vautrin has been fashioning whimsical, charming objects for decades.
Now a new audience has the chance to enter her enchanted world.
Thames & Hudson