What makes fashionistas willing to pay a small fortune for a particular designer accessory? Why does a special occasion only become really special when a champagne cork pops? Why are diamonds the status symbol gemstone, instantly signifying wealth, power, and even emotional commitment? Writing with élan, one of the foremost authorities on 17th-century French culture provides the answer to these and other fascinating questions in her account of how, at one glittering moment in history, the French under Louis XIV set the standards of sophistication, style and glamour that still rule our lives today. Joan DeJean takes us back to the birth of haute cuisine, the first appearance of celebrity hairdressers, chic cafés, nightlife, and fashion in elegant dress that extended well beyond the limited confines of court circles.