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Who's A Dandy?

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Well Known Bond Street Loungers, 1820., Digital ID 802011, New York Public Library Men’s clothing would never be what it is today without George “Beau” Brummell (1778-1840). This ingenious man, the father of the modern dandy, was initially a court favorite who fell from grace. He was a walking advertisement for the modish man. Although he took only one dip into literature, his reformation of masculine style was transformative. Le Grande Journée De Longchamps (1820)., Digital ID 802039, New York Public Library One of the things I find most interesting, however, is how few portraits exist of him. The one or two of those that have come down to us are actually suspect likenesses. And this in an age when English printmakers were at their most vicious and satirical… That Brummell’s influence endured throughout the nineteenth century is the subject of an essay by a Frenchman, Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly. The Anatomy of dandyism kept the Brummell legend alive. The author’s study of masculine dress taste would prove influential indeed.

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