Rica to Rhedi in Venice
The whims of the French in fashion I find amazing. They have forgotten how they were dressed this summer, and they are even more unaware how they will be dressed this winter ; but above all it is unbelievable what it costs a husband to dress his wife in style.
What good would it do for me to give you an exact description of their dress and ornaments ? A new fashion would come along and destroy all my efforts, as it does those of their workers, and before you received my letter everything would be changed.
A woman who leaves Paris to go spend six months in the country returns as antique as if she had buried herself there for thirty years. The son fails to recognize the portrait of his mother, so greatly does the costume in which she is portrayed seem foreign to him ; he imagines that it is some American woman  it represents, or that the painter wanted to express one of his fantasies.
Sometimes the coiffures rise gradually, and a revolution brings them back down all of a sudden ; there was a time when their immense height put a woman’s face in the middle of herself.  At another it was the feet that occupied that position ; the heels formed a pedestal that held them up in the air. Who could believe it : architects were often obliged to raise, lower, or widen doors, according to whether women’s apparel required this change of them, and the rules of their art were subordinated to these fancies. Sometimes you see a face sporting a prodigious quantity of mouches,  and they all disappear the next day. There was a time when women had a waist  and teeth  ; today there is no question of those. In this changing nation, whatever the critic may say,  daughters are made differently from their mothers.
It is the same with manners and the way of living as with the fashions : the French change their ways according to the age of their king. The monarch could even succeed in making the nation grave if he had attempted it. The prince impresses the character of his mind on the court, the court on the city, the city on the provinces. The soul of the sovereign is a mold that gives their shape to everyone else’s.
Paris this 8th day of the moon of Saphar 1717