DANDY AT DUSK: Taste and Melancholy in the 20th Century

DANDY AT DUSK: Taste and Melancholy in the 20th Century

PHILIP MANN    Book Number: 88008    Product format: Hardback

A dandy "refuses any visual distinction except elegance" and in this definitive study, hailed as a classic by arch-socialite Nicky Haslam, the author takes us through the lives and wardrobes of six notable 20th century dandies, analysing their philosophies and noting the strain of melancholy that marks out the true dandy in his aloofness from the world. Beau Brummell started it all in the 18th century with his dramatic transformation of the masculine form from a heavy-stomached pear shape, as worn by the Hanoverian Kings, to the snappier broad-shouldered narrow-hipped silhouette that continues to this day. Falling out with the Prince Regent, Brummell ended his days in penury, but his exquisite taste survived. The fin de siècle architect Adolf Loos combined dandyism with decadence, followed in the 20th century by the Duke of Windsor, although he never knotted his tie in the Windsor style named after him, achieving the desired plump look by asking his tailor to add an extra lining. Freda Dudley-Ward, his mistress before Wallis Simpson came on the scene, popularised the ultra-thin ideal for women. The Duke favoured a loud check and wide Oxford bags, and paradoxically it was in Paris after the abdication that he was able to live out the full obsessive-compulsive detail of his dandyism. With the 1960s, Edwardian dandyism came back into fashion as the Mods flaunted their velvet frills in Chelsea, while couturiers such as the elaborately made-up Bunny Roger came into their own. In the seventies and eighties the flamboyant camp of Quentin Crisp was succeeded by the iconic gangsterism of the films of Jean-Pierre Melville and Fassbinder's tweedy apotheosis of Anglophilia. A superb read. 370pp, black and white photos.
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ISBN 9781786695178
Browse this category: Modern History/Current Affairs

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