The invention of "puce" is an amusing story in itself. Every fashion in France had to have a special name and these ranged from the basic to the downright humorous (ie: dauphin's poo). The socially awkward Louis never knew how to tell his wife how to ease up on the extravagant fashions and attempted many methods that all failed. Being straightforward is always the best policy says I! One day when he walked in on the queen trying on a new dress, he attempted to discourage her with the mean humour common at court. As Caroline Weber tells, in Queen of Fashion, "When the Queen asked her husband how he liked the confection, which was made from taffeta of an odd pinkish-tan hue, he replied laconically: 'It is the color of a flea [puce].'" The plan backfired, and the queen (and everyone else with her) loved the nickname for the colour and it stuck.
When Lady Spencer visited France in 1775 she noticed the trend in full-force,
"I have no material intelligence to give you except that you can wear no colour that is not either dos de puce or ventre de puce, it is the uniform at Fontainebleau and the only colour that can be worn..."A few days later she wrote again to Georgiana to tell her she bought her a coat of ventre de puce but had yet to find her something nice in dos de puce. The following month Lady Clermont wrote to Georgiana to tell her
"[Marie Antoinette] has desire'd me to wear the uniform, which is a polonaise, couleur de puce."I'm guessing she did too! You can't reject fashion advice from the Queen of Fashion! It is probably safe to say that the Empress of Fashion (as Walpole dubbed Georgiana) had already sent in her order for a polonaise in puce as soon as these letters had reached her.