Author Philip Mann dispels the myth that dandyism centers upon vanity through portraits of the first dandy―Regency England’s Beau Brummell―and six twentieth-century figures: Austrian architect Adolf Loos, The Duke of Windsor, neo-Edwardian couturier Bunny Roger, eccentric writer and raconteur Quentin Crisp, French film producer Jean-Pierre Melville, and New German Cinema savant and “inverted dandy” Rainer Werner Fassbinder. He chronicles their style, identity, influence, melancholy, and often untimely demise, using a mélange of photography, biography, and anecdote. Weaving their stories into an extensive and entertaining history of tailoring and men’s fashion, he offers incisive perspective on the dandy’s aesthetic concerns, pensive nostalgia for the golden Edwardian era, and nonchalant persona. He contextualizes the relationship of dandyism to homosexuality and to modernism, while simultaneously portraying the cultural development of a century punctuated by two World Wars and social upheaval.
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