The World and the City
Great wine traders hire special workers, whose only duty is to taste wines. I guess they are referred to as tasters.
Their main responsibility in life is to say whether the wine they taste is good or bad, whether it stores well, whether it is expensive, etc…
Although it seems to me that we, as true Parisian men, and you, as true Parisian women — all resemble these tasters quite a lot. Indeed, what is our constant concern, if not tasting with our lips, eyes, and ears, and with utmost passion asking each other: — How do you find this? What do you think about this? It is good, isn’t it? This one is better than that one, isn’t it? And this one — will it be better this way?
And what else fills our conversations, if not the endless exchange of opinions about books, about people, about dresses, about suppliers, about furnishings, about what people say, what they do, what they wear, what they write, what they perform, what they watch, and what they listen to? Doesn’t our education predispose us to dramatic criticism? They say Frenchmen are people with the best taste in the world. At least, they invest a lot of effort in this. Nothing can please them more, and I don’t think there is any other, more precious compliment for us then: “This man has a good taste. This woman has a good taste.” However, what can be more uncertain and more evasive? Two people having extremely different, even opposing tastes, can be called “people of good taste” simultaneously, because taste can essentially be modified and endlessly renewed. Ah, there are so many complications, so many troubles! Apparently, there are teachers of good taste in Paris — people who are geniuses when it comes to the renewal of art and fashion; however, they may also make mistakes, and it is dangerous to follow them blindly.
The latest thing: Léon Bakst, who instilled in Paris the love for “Russian ballets” without being satisfied with the fact that in the last few years, his amusing theatrical costumes produced an impact on the creations of the great Parisian couturiers, became a couturier himself. At least, a famed fashion house currently displays his quirky and charming models in Rue De La Paix. Bakst wishes to redefine and renew the Parisian silhouette. But what about Parisian women? Are they willing to have their silhouettes redefined? A mystery! We need to take some position and make no mistake. If Mister Bakst succeeds, then ladies will have to become Russian, the sooner the better. But when you become a Russian, very Russian, you need to be cautious and be able to turn into Parisians or someone else without having a maestro of good taste declare in front of your friends: “Well then, Mister Bakst is starting to tire us!”
So, if Bakst triumphs, then Paris gets tired of him, because Paris gets tired of everything, even of being tired. Indeed, the time of fashion for neurasthenia has passed. Neurasthenia is no longer the favorite child that is cherished, lauded, and taken pride in. Fashion wants us to be strong, healthy, and sound — what a wonderful fashion! — and that’s what we look like. However, in this eternal vortex there is a thing that does not tire our poor civilized eyes even when it comes back year after year, and it has been coming for many years, the same, unchanged, and indestructible, at the same hour. You have guessed right — I’m thinking about the charming Parisian spring, which in the last two weeks has pushed through and now sparkles in the tips of twigs. Paul Géraldy