Summary of The Essence of Style

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The Essence of Style book summary


8 Overall

6 Importance

8 Innovation

9 Style


France was not always the global hub of stylishness and panache, but it assumed that role on purpose. Before 1660, the world did not look to Paris for the latest trends in food and fashion. France became the indisputable arbiter of style and taste due to the deliberate efforts of King Louis XIV during “the half century between 1660” and his death in 1715. Today, world of luxury still feels his influence. getAbstract believes history buffs as well as modern style-makers will enjoy this fascinating history of the rise of haute couture and haute cuisine under King Louis. Professor Joan DeJean’s prose will remind you more of an insider sharing delicious, slightly scandalous secrets than of a formal history’s cold text. While this isn’t a light read, it is a captivating, thorough account of a particularly glamorous and creative time.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How the deliberate efforts of King Louis XIV gave birth to haute couture and haute cuisine,
  • Why several luxury industries trace their roots to 17th-century France,
  • How French style continues to wield influence today.

About the Author

Joan DeJean, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, is the author of several books about French culture.



The Sun King
Before the latter half of the 17th century, only an elite few enjoyed the finer things in life. This began to change when haute couture and haute cuisine took root and bloomed under the careful eye of King Louis XIV of France. Because the Sun King and his right-hand man – ...

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