AGE OF LUXURY.
"COSTI/Y SIMPLICITY" IN FRANC^. In the matter of extravagance and general and ever-increasing luxury among wealthy and middle-classes, Paris is In advance of Berlin. Paris practises the art of refinement in simplicity, and there is no more costly art. The extravagance of an up-to-date Parisian dinner no longer Ilea In the number of Its courses or tbe variety of tbe wines, but rather in the exquisite refinement of its surroundings. The dinner itself is short, never longer than forty-five minutes to an hour. There are three, or four courses at the most, and never more than two or three kinds of wine. Indeed, it Is now the fashion to drink mineral waters more than wines. But on the table Is a light and delicate display of the rarest flowers, for the setting and supply of which the florist i charges from f2 to £5 a day. No heavy silver-ware is on the table, only the most exquisitely chased and carved Louis Seize silver of the lightest kind but of great beauty.
The befit known silversmith In Paris informed a correspondent that in future centuries the present age would be looked back upon aa the real Louis Seize age, for never has the style been brought to such perfection. "For one customer wbo formerly spent 150 on table ware," he said, "there are now twenty." So, top, It it with re. gard to table linen. Tablecloths, with real Venetian or other lace insertions, »costing from 420 to £30, are now common in the houses of the middle classes. Ordinary small napkins for tea are exhibited in thi) beet Paria shops at 120/ and more a dozen. ' '■ ' i .
j One of the most striking sign* of toe luxury of ihe age Iμ Parla is th« fashion ia Jewellery. ,ii + lt; has become "bad form" to wear many rings, and wor&e still 'to wear on the «*me; hand stones of variegated coiours, It is the' custom , for those women who can afford' it to wear one or at most two rings at a tlme. : But these rings contain either diamonds or other precious stones worth hundreds of' pounds. The wealthy woman will bow display a single diamond ring of tiie utmost purity and brilliance, and leave the well-to-do : tradesman's wife to adorn each of her fingers with rings of different-coloured precious- atones.
The revolution that has recently taken place in women's attire has necessitated a, complete change in the outfit of every follower of fashion; A lady recently paid £160 to her dressmaker for one of the newest gowns, and spent an additional £70 In lingerie, hosiery, and boots to enable her to wear the new dress. The "Richelieu" boots which women now wear to match the rest of their attire are frequently made wltim real pearl and rear gold as well as .ellyer gilt buckles.
There has been a vast Increase In the number «f expensive tea-rooms. Hundreds of women in Paris daily spend from 8/ to 10/ on afternoon tea. The same tendency towards extravagance has spread to every class of French society.
M. Gabriel Ilanotaux, the ex-MipJster of Foreign Affairs, commenting on tie nntFeraal spread of luxury, says that It Is due to the ever-irowiug wish to enjoy life as mncfe as possible. The desire to obtain at much repoee as possible after every day* labour, coupled with the accompanying desire of spending money, Is becoming «nl j renal Among the laborious and hitherto thrifty French.
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