In 1770, 18th century Paris was inundated with people who were wearing clothing made of polyester and linen. This time it was the other way around.
One of the first women to be accepted to the elite society was the French-American poet, poet and novelist Edith Wharton. She was born in Philadelphia in 1826 and was married only twice, first to Samuel Eliot Morley in 1836 and then to Henry Ford, who she married in 1843.
The first time she met Ford, the two were at a social dinner, and she noticed how his head stood straight. It took Ford only a few moments to be captivated by her. She was, he later said, “as tall as a marble building”.
“It is the appearance, not the person, that counts” Edith Wharton
So the French would rather spend their money creating their ideal woman than trying to imitate the real thing. They were the first to experiment with métro-cars, designed to get passengers inside and out of trains and planes faster and cheaper.
It took the industrial revolution a few years, but they took to the fashion that same year and the year after: women flounced and flouted their dress codes. They had their own fashion magazines, and they became fashion icons. Some of them, like Gertrude Stein and Florence Nightingale, gave up their high-fashion careers early to join the workforce.
What about those who wore the tuxedos?
These were high-powered industrialists who spent most of their time trying to get the most out of their time, while fashion became their primary outlet.
The world of rich society was a world of high fashion. They could travel the world in style, because the first lady had a chauffeur. She was a kind of ambassador.
The wealthy could go to a private club in Monaco, and there she could have her chauffeur chauffeur her.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest ‘The first lady had a chauffeur. She was a kind of ambassador.’ Photograph: Library of Congress/Getty Images
She had her own salon, and she started writing the novel of her life in the salon, which was where people went to have their hair combed, to be presented with a suit, for her portrait.
And she had that same car! If you remember the first lady’s famous red silk dress, she had it made for
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