Monday, July 1, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 44e Cahier, 5e Figure

The constant Solitaire in a robe à l'Anglaise with a triple collar, hat à la Basile* and trimmed muslin apron: carrying her pretty lion dog without thinking about it, and looking to see from afar an object that is more interesting to her heart. (1784)

- "Women no longer exhaust superlatives, no longer employ the words delicious, stunning, incomprehensible; they speak with an affected simplicity, and express nothing anymore, neither their admiration nor their transports; the most tragic events only tear from them a light exclamation; the day's news, narrated without reflection, and artificial experiences make up their dialogue ...

"Women, even the bourgeoises, no longer say that they are frightfully ugly, that there is nothing more pitiable than the manner in which they are dressed: all these phrases are now unfashionable, and we charitably warn the provincial ladies who still use them.

"The lady who only wants to play with the perfumed cards which required that women use bergamot now only offered a bizarre and peculiar fantasy."

Sébastien MERCIER, Tableau de Paris, 1785.

* Given the Figaro-mania of 1784, this probably refers to a character (the scoundrel Don Basile) in The Barber of Seville, first performed as a play in 1775.

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