Dandy of the Year: Sebastian Horsley

screenshot_02.jpgWhen Oscar Wilde arrived in the United States, he said, “I have nothing to declare but my genius.” When Sebastian Horsley arrived, he said, “I have nothing to declare but Oscar Wilde’s genius,” and was promptly sent back to England.

In March of this year, on tour promoting his book “Dandy in the Underworld,” Horsley — who’s known, in addition to having himself crucified in the Philippines, for his facility with putting a clever twist on established witticisms — was denied entry in the US on grounds of moral turpitude. It was the crowning achievement of the Bush Administration.

For the past 200 years, notoriety has always clouded the dandy: gambling debts, sex scandals and garden-variety egomania have always formed the shadow cast by the man of taste and wit. But with Sebastian Horsley’s various addictions — heroin, prostitutes, himself — this happy breed reached a new low.

In addition to his ghastly taste in clothing and penchant for spouting theoretical nonsense, Horsley broke a cardinal rule in the history of dandy literature: From Barbey and Baudelaire to Beerbohm and Wilde, dandy authors write about dandyism; they do not write about themselves as dandies.

But perhaps Horsley’s greatest distinction is that not one member of the D.net staff felt obligated to read his book.

And for that, Dandyism.net awards Mr. Horsley the title 2008 Dandy of the Year.

Photo by Moritz Steiger

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18 Responses to “Dandy of the Year: Sebastian Horsley”

  1. The New Edwardian Says:

    Is D.net trying to stir up some controversy once again with this new “Dandy of the Year?” Really, I like Sebastian Horsley. He is a riot in everything from his lifestyle to his dress, and appears to pull witty one-liners out of his stove-pipe hat like few people can, but is he “Dandy of the Year?” Economic times must be tough indeed if Horsley is pushed upon us as the best Dandy out there today. I say so simply because Sebastian is complete vulgarity. There simply is nothing elegant about the man. He speaks like a sailor and dresses a bit like a clown. Certainly he is a fun person to invite to the latest club opening along with other club-kids and while he may posses a dandy quality or two he is no true dandy. Surely there must be a better choice for the prestigious “Dandy of the Year” award out there than Horsley?

  2. The Duke of Windsor Says:

    Unlike last year’s selection of Lapo Elkann, I actually don’t have a problem with Horsley’s selection. Not that I think he’s a dandy of course.

  3. M Says:

    NE: I think you may want to read the text of the article more carefully. Remember, TIME made Adolph Hitler Man of the Year. Twice.

  4. The New Edwardian Says:

    True M, I didn’t make down to the part about his “ghastly tastes,” yet one must still ask the question, why him. Is the honor of so being crowned with this title of distinction meant as a joke? If so, then I guess I get it, sort of. Still, it makes one wonder if somewhere out there in the world is there really a dandy who could wear the title “Dandy of the Year?” Granted no real dandy worth his salt would ever want such a title, but it would be interesting to find someone in today’s world who could really be pointed to as what a real dandy is all about. Could it be that we have an idealized image of the dandy today which no person could embody? Could be – I’ll have to think about that some more over another glass of port.

  5. wellesy Says:

    Funny… funny. Dandy of the year is not actually a dandy. Was last year’s choice too subtle a form of satire that we had to sink to the comedic depths of the “(Insert Genre) Movie” franchise?
    Nick is still alive, isn’t he?

  6. Barima Says:

    Well, it’ll probably be harder to cause a meltdown of notorious proportions when everyone’s in on the joke this time, yet I’m sure it won’t stop some of the crowd. I therefore look forward to viewing Apoplexy Now: Redux

  7. Will Says:

    I also have days when I need to get a post up in ten minutes or less.

  8. Christian Says:

    Finally someone who understands what we go through.

  9. Erik Says:

    I seem to recall that last year, forum members voted for Horsley in preference to Elkan, which really means that Sebastian has been anointed Dandy of the Year for two years running. I confidently predict that he will also be Dandy of the Year for 2009, if he remains alive.

    No one knows about Nick, but I’m still alive – in the unlikely eventuality that any of you were concerned. I’m still in self-imposed exile from the forum, longingly awaiting the great purge…

  10. Bassuan Says:

    This “Dandy of the year” business, is the worst bad taste joke I´ve ever read.

  11. scott Says:

    I can’t think of a more fitting personality for such a dubious honor, or such a dubious personality for such a fitting honor.

  12. RKM Says:

    There’s a very definite Dr. Seuss’ “Cat In The Hat” quality to the photo. Something of a Cat In The Hat visits the Great Dickens’ Christmas Fair touch about it.

  13. wellesy Says:

    In the mean time, anyone tired of seeing this dope’s mug hogging up space on the main page should head on over to D-Net’s sister site http://www.ivy-style.com to get an eye full of a generous helping of Bruce Boyer’s “Elegance” making for some rather more interesting reading while we wait for an update to raise us beyond this half-hearted in-joke.

  14. RJS Says:

    Mr Horsley?

  15. Pablo Says:


  16. Master Keller Says:

    I’ve had a thought. So far the Dandy of the Year award has been given in jest to those who surely are not the most deserving of the title. The question I would like to pose: Is the Dandy of the Year award always going to be used for satirical purposes or shall there be someone among our ranks that attains the style that should go in the history of Dandyism that would attain the award?

  17. Miguel Antonio Says:

    Although this is a ludicrous joke, this is a vast improvement over Lapo Elkann. Horsley is a cheap dandy impersonator, while Lapo is the equivalent of a fashion super-model.

    “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.”
    Oscar Wilde

  18. Rachel III Says:

    I think you’ll find the quote upon (almost) entering America was, “I have nothing to declare but my genitals.”

    Yes, the man does spout nonsense, but divinely funny nonsense.

    If you all haven’t changed your minds.. you really ought to read “Dandy in the Underworld”. It’ll pop your cuff-links off like corks.

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