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The Idea of Europe

 | 
Catriona Seth
, 
Rotraud von Kulessa

43. Europe and French Fashion

Texte intégral

1Between 1750 and 1758, Anne-Marie Fiquet du Boccage (1710–1802),i a writer and translator from Normandy travelled in England, Holland and Italy. She published her letters after her return. This document, a sort of epistolary travel journal, is one of the rare works of this genre to have been written by a woman. Here, she provides a description of fashionable circles in Europe and their social etiquette.

2Their morning dresses [the English ladies’] enhance their beauty far more than the French-style outfits that they reserve for evening gatherings, attending court and appearances at the theatre. I do not know why the whole of Europe is so generous as to adopt our fashions, which develop at a speed that makes them impossible to follow, even in our own provinces. Foreigners start wearing them even later, and never in the same way as they have been worn in Paris. Every country has its own language, its morals, its ideas, and should have its own way of dressing, more fitting to its people than any kind of adjusted import. But there are a great number of people here whose splendour, style and substance are borrowed from a multitude of countries.

3All things considered, although magnificence is important to the English, they are still a hundred years behind ours, though they try to imitate it and confuse all of Europe.

4Anne-Marie du Boccage, Letters about England, Holland and Italy (1771).

Read the free text in the original language (1770 edition):
http://gallica.bnf.fr/​ark:/12148/​bpt6k107281v
Listen to the free audio book in the original language :
http://gallica.bnf.fr/​ark:/12148/​bpt6k107281v/​f2.vocal

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