Who’s The Dandy? — Sperelli vs. Chesterfield

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Pictured are two dapper denizens of that online circle of hell known as Dandyland. On the left is Andrea Sperelli and on the right is Winston Chesterfield. Both are in their early twenties, both devote fanatical attention to their appearance, both dabble in the arts (Sperelli does amateurish drawings while Chesterfield writes music), and both have the supreme dandy virtue of being incorrigibly vain.

Beyond that, they couldn’t be more different.

Sperelli (who also goes by Massimilano Mocchia) dresses formally, is fond of bespoke clothing, and assembles carefully matched ensembles. He wears spectator shoes, ascots, and hats that swallow his head. At times, as in the rakish bearded image below, he reminds you of Giancarlo Giannini in “L’Innocente.” Other times a fussy Hercule Poirot:

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Where Sperelli is buttoned-down, Chesterfield is untucked. Instead of bespoke, he weaves individuality out of ready-to-wear. Instead of conveying calculation, Chesterfield expresses spontaneity, mixing tailored clothing with sportswear. Instead of ascots, Chesterfield is fond of nonchalantly draped scarves:

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Their differences don’t end with mere matters of dress. Sperelli is impeccably groomed, while Chesterfield sports stubble. Sperelli’s photos show him rigid and erect, while Chesterfield looks relaxed. Sperelli is haughty and punctilious, Chesterfield passionate and swank.

There’s more.

Sperelli longs for a sepia past while Chesterfield embraces the technicolor present. Sperelli is aristocratic, Chesterfield democratic. Sperelli wallows in luxury while Chesterfield delights in practicality. Sperelli has no visible means of support while Chesterfield has a piano gig at the Sheraton Belgravia and works as an event organizer. Sperelli blogs and writes about dandyism, Chesterfield about the latest fashion trends. Sperelli lives in Paris by way of Turin, Chesterfield in Westminster.

Such is the tale of the tape. And so we ask you: Who’s the dandy? Use the leave-a-comment feature and state your case.

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88 Responses to “Who’s The Dandy? — Sperelli vs. Chesterfield”

  1. M Says:

    The Conte notes: “I have never promoted myself as a dandy. I only write on the subject of dandyism…”

    It should be noted that D.net never said you were dandy or not a dandy. D.net merely put it out there and asked others if you were. You got several votes and compliments, which should please you.

    And I agree with Sacheli about the beard. It goes well with titles.

    Cheers,

    M

  2. the new edwardian Says:

    Bricology, you must be nuts if you think no one here knows of Count Andrea Sperelli from D’Annuzio’s book, Il Piacere. I believe your statement shows how little you know of the talent that exists here at D.net. This is perhaps the most scholarly site which I have found on the subject of dandyism anywhere on the web and one of the reasons I frequent the forum.

  3. Christian Says:

    Perhaps?

  4. HRH Duke of Windsor Says:

    I would like to say, since some of my recent comments concerning the “Is he a Dandy” polls D.net have been negative, that Mr. Sperelli’s first picture (the one beside Mr. Chesterfield’s) is quite nice. I would have a drink with that man.

  5. retropian Says:

    Upon reflection, it seems that Mr. Sperelli and Mr. Chesterfield represent the range of style, attitude and focus a Dandy may take. Perhaps a Dandy today is one who simply enjoys dressing well as a means to express himself. It is simply a matter of personal taste. A Dandy may prefer to look back and bring past classic fashion into the present or he may prefer to emulate current trends and took to the future. Either is acceptable and both are Dandy by virtue of expressing their taste in an idiosyncratic way.

  6. Gordon Says:

    retropian,

    I like that very much. Well said and well done.

  7. Ashley Yakeley Says:

    I have to agree with Gordon, I think it’s only fair that the Junta show what good sports they are and offer themselves up for examination.

  8. Ashley Yakeley Says:

    Ah, except that Gordon wasn’t referring to the junta in particular. My mistake.

  9. retropian Says:

    Gordon, thank you for your kind words. I fear I was too harsh with Mr. Sperelli in an earlier post. I was not aware that in one of the photos submitted he was in costume for Carnival in Venice.

    There has always been a creative push-pull between Classic and Contemporary mens fashion. I’d like to share if I may, two links to current Fall/Winter 2008 collections that I can see myself in, well not the leather pants perhaps, but many of these ensembles I would delight in wearing (if only I could afford them):

    Giorgio Armani

    http://hauteconcept.com/2008/01/17/milan-fashion-week-giorgio-armani-collection-fall-winter-20082009-menswear-runway-review/

    and Gianfranco Ferre

    http://hauteconcept.com/2008/01/16/milan-fashion-week-gianfranco-ferre-collection-fall-winter-20082009-menswear-runway-review/

  10. M Says:

    *I think it’s only fair that the Junta show what good sports they are and offer themselves up for examination.*

    Junta. Fair. Check.

    M

  11. M Says:

    Retropian says: “Perhaps a Dandy today is one who simply enjoys dressing well as a means to express himself. It is simply a matter of personal taste. A Dandy may prefer to look back and bring past classic fashion into the present or he may prefer to emulate current trends and took to the future. Either is acceptable and both are Dandy by virtue of expressing their taste in an idiosyncratic way.”

    Amy Winehouse…

    (http://www.smh.com.au/ffximage/2007/08/29/amywinehouse_narrowweb__300x442,0.jpg)

    …expresses her taste in an idiosyncratic way, therefore Amy Winehose is a dandy?

  12. ferrando Says:

    “If myself, Willard, Mattis and Sacheli were the worst-dressed men in the world (as some surely think we are anyway…”

    Christian can I get names and e-mail addresses? I’d like to share a snap that shows what I’m wearing right now for a typical idle evening at home: bespoke Crocs with skull-and-crossbones embroidery, bike shorts, a pique-fronted Charvet inherited from my grandpoppa, and an $11,000 chronograph (worn on the outside of the cuff, of course). That’ll shut them up once and for all.

  13. retropian Says:

    M, Thank you for your comment, you are correct, every person makes individual sartorial choices but not everyone is a Dandy. I apologize if my previous post offended you. I was trying to keep my comments within the context of this post; the comparison of Mr. Sperellis and Mr. Chesterfields distinctive styles and within the context of Dandyism.net. That is all.

  14. M Says:

    Offend me? Tosh! You’d have to work a lot harder than that!

  15. Ryan Oakley Says:

    Chesterfield is better dressed. And I hate half suit – half jeans. It’s the mullet of dressing. All business up front but all party at the back. But even that beats monocle.

    Sperelli needs a whole set to pull off his look. Chesterfield is a set.

  16. M Says:

    *It’s the mullet of dressing*

    That’s a good one, Ryan!

    The other day I read a quote from a curator from the new museum of tobacco in Paris: “Cigarettes are the fast food of tobacco.” The same could be said of the jeans and sportcoat look (Which, on my way to buy towels at the bed and bath store, I’m sporting right now. Sue me.)

  17. Morgan Says:

    I prefer Chesterfield for his pure effortless look. I can see him quietly reading a book in a cafe or dining in a fine restaurant. His style is Dandy with a modern feel. Tres chic.

  18. Nick Willard Says:

    Here’s an interview with Chesterfield.

  19. Ryan Oakley Says:

    I won’t sue you, M. You don’t have any money and, even if you did, I wouldn’t want it.

    At the risk of heresy, I think everyone needs Pajama Land. This is an area immediately surrounding your home where you’re free to dress only for comfort. If, after immediately waking, you want to buy cigarettes at the store next door, you should be able to do so in your pajamas without raising an eyebrow or being kidnapped by the police. You are in Pajama Land. A fine place but one with borders.

  20. Michael Brendan Dougherty Says:

    Except for pictures 2 and 5 Sperelli looks ridiculous to me. I agree that he knows something about clothes, but nothing about style. Exactly where was he wearing an ascot and monocle. I’d guess: his bedroom.

    Chesterfield makes some interesting choices. I agree with the previous comments about pairing a txedo jacket with jeans. I’m also against mixing the punk aesthetic with the dandy – but he’s on to something, I think.

  21. Christian Says:

    MBD, you’ve just given more evidence that we’re a bunch of “imbeciles” (his word, though in Italian) in the eyes of Sperelli by not reading his above remark in which he explains that the outfit in question was for a costume ball.

  22. Michael Brendan Dougherty Says:

    My fault for not reading the above 69 comments in full.

    I think that makes for two points in my favor. 1) For blatantly ignoring the rabble. 2) For contributing to the bad reputation of this site.

  23. Ginger Mayerson Says:

    Wow, you boys are intense. I really must drop by more often.

  24. Beau Brown Says:

    Sorry for my late reply. I did not read this article as in-depth as I should have.

    In my honest opinion, it is a hard choice. While my personal taste is the of Sperelli’s, Chesterfield also shoes the “good humor” aspect of Dandyism which so many of us look for. However, my vote would have to be for Sperelli. This is not because of personal taste, but instead that he knows about color coordination and can look respectable, while Chesterfield looks as if he stepped “right out of a fashion magazine,” as mentioned in a previous comment.

    However, I agree with Michael Brendan Dougherty about how some of his pictures look ridiculous. I can understand the views of picture 2, but picture 3 looks as if he’s trying to pull off a cowboy “Colonel Sanders” look. Chesterfield’s style, while not bad, just looks too “lazy” and “trashy” to me.

    -Beau Brown

  25. w. adam mandelbaum esq. Says:

    Sperelli hands down. If I had just finished reading THE DANDY by Ellen Moers, I would envision Sperelli, and try never to think of the other jeans wearing twit. Any would be dandy that would contemplate wearing anything approaching jeans, should have his moustache wax confiscated, and his 4711 turned into VO5.

  26. Adam Says:

    w.adam.mandelbaum.esq: Calling Chesterfield “a twit” is just childish and not at all dandy like. What is the point? He has never claimed to be a dandy you know. The Beau not only had style but also ‘beautiful manners’ – nothing we could ever credit you with I am afraid.

  27. w. adam mandelbaum esq. Says:

    Adam-
    The Beau was often extremely rude,and may I refer you to the aforementioned work by Ellen Moers for proof. If Chesterfield does not claim to be a dandy, then he is correct, and through you, I apologize to him. Were anybody to accuse Chesterfield of being a dandy without his permission, I would defend his decided non-dandy status with my last breath.(Certainly not with any preceding breaths, which could affect my longevity). In any event, my namesake, I enjoyed your commentary, and wish you an overabundance of wine women and song.

  28. Adam Says:

    Interesting response. However, you never elucidated as to why you are calling Chesterfield a ‘twit’. Why does he deserve this defamation? Is it so that everyone wearing denim is to be called ‘twit’? Your blog ‘Justice Never Sleeps’ is quite interesting too but it is rather sad that you do not employ your vision of justice for all in your comments about others or is every representative of a large corporation like GMAC or Fidelity Bank also automatically a ‘twit’ to you? Is the world largely full of ‘twits’ – called so without even a syllable of conversation? I would certainly be ‘justified’ in considering you something of the kind but ‘twittishness’ is something I generally decide upon introduction.

  29. w. adam mandelbaum esq. Says:

    In the verb form, twit means, inter alia,”to vex by bringing to notice” ergo, those who mix formality in dressing, with what was originally, (and should always remain) the attire of an unskilled laborer (to wit:jeans). Chesterfield, I believe is guilty of the above. It is the like with those who think the mixture of a tuxedo with sneakers is clever, or daring, or some other adjective other than TWIT. But as differences of opinion are the basis for the stock market, and the less risky form of gambling known as horse racing, let us agree to disagree, friend Adam, and direct our efforts to some other form of endeavor than increasing interesting controversy on this enjoyable website.

  30. Laguna Beach Trad Says:

    Would a genuine dandy even wear 4711? I’m sceptical.

  31. Miguel Antonio Says:

    Natural (Chesterfield) is almost always better than fake (Sperelli). And I also think Chesterfield is a genuine dandy as he’s got sprezzatura.

  32. reixach Says:

    Talleyrand : ” Ce qui est exagéré est insignifiant”.

  33. aRTie Says:

    Will someone kindly tell Chesterfield that his pocket handkerchief appears to be making an escape from his ill-matched ensemble in that photo where he’s holding the camera? No wonder as it appears to match absolutely nothing that he’s wearing. Both fellows seem to be pining for days of yore, and John Bull would certainly gawk at both were he alive today.

  34. Alexander Says:

    Artie: That kind of pocket square style is called a waterfall pocket or like. Even I know that and I have never called myself a dandy ever. Pathetic.

  35. Robert Says:

    There is a huge difference between true style and affectation. Men with true style wear suits to quiet perfection, and he is above trying to make a statement. Affectation tries to hard to be noticed, and wears hat brims that are too broad, or wears ties that are too shiny, or sports spats that make him look like the penguin character in “Batman.”
    Alas, most of the dandies on your site are indeed drowning in their affectation.
    As the line in “Gypsy” stated, “Ya either got it, or Y’aint!”

  36. Winston Chesterfield Says:

    I am overwhelmed by the response. There are many things that I might respond to, but I shan’t – what good will that do? Only to mention perhaps to aRTie that John Bull IS alive today, as he is simply a personification of the United Kingdom. Much like Uncle Sam. In that context he might be considered Joe or John Q Public. He does look, dear old John, but it’s not consternation or surprise I see in his face. I wonder what it could be…

  37. Stefano Says:

    Solo Andrea Sperelli ( Massimiliano Mocchia di Coggiola )è un vero Dandy ! Chesterfield è un ciarlatano. Tutti si possono vestire come lui. Risulta ridicolo !!!

  38. Ray frensham Says:

    I know you both and refuse to be drawn into comparisons.

    Suffice to say you each have your own Unique styles. And that is what makes it all the more pleasurable.

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