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Louis Iv’s Influence on French Culture and Style

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Essay title: Louis Iv’s Influence on French Culture and Style

When Louis XIV began his reign in 1643, France's capital was on the move, undergoing one of the greatest periods of expansion in its history. Louis was a young king with a great sense of style and history, and decided to make both himself and his country legendary. In the sixteenth century, the French were not thought of as the most elegant or sophisticated European nation, but by the end of the early eighteenth century France had a firm hold on culture, style, and luxury living.

Before the mid-seventeenth century, and Louis XIV's influence, fashion was exclusive to only the wealthiest nobles. Only a small portion of the elite had stylist garments and outfits, which they replaced very rarely. Outfits were more a display of wealth and social status than of fashion personality; the vast majority of the population had only simple clothing made from coarse homespun fabrics. As soon as Paris became the world capital of style, fashion began to spread gradually through French society. The lower classes might not have been able to own much, but accessories such as ribbons and stockings began to transform the appearance of the French population. Within decades, the fashion industry convinced its clients to give up the concept of a few outfits rarely changed in favor of multiplicity and rapid turnover.

In the 1670's, a number of developments critical to the transformation of the "fashion industry" came together. First, there was an expanded clientele for high-fashion goods. Second, there was an increasingly sophisticated means of

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