Notorious

The Faces Of Dandyism 2013

Dandy Wellington photographed by Rose Callahan in NYC on Jan 19, 2013Since the release of Callahan & Adams’ “I Am Dandy,” D.net has assiduously followed the media coverage, shining our diabolical monocle on the images chosen to accompany posts, articles and book reviews.

We are self-pleased to unveil a final tally of the top faces of dandyism for 2013.

As you’re surely well aware, ours is an age of extremes. Indeed the very word “extreme” is tirelessly used in product marketing. (To attempt to go beyond extreme, of course, brings about a conundrum: the only possibility is to begin making amplifiers that go up to 11.) And so it should come as no surprise that the dandies of 2013 are rather extreme. As we’ve said before, every era gets the dandies it deserves.

The cover boy of “I Am Dandy,” Massimilano Mocchia di Coggiola, became without a doubt the most widely disseminated personification of dandyism for the year. But as he was depicted any time the cover of the book was reproduced, we have not counted dear Massi.

A few more remarks about the tally. Each post on the web or in print was evaluated on a case-by-case basis. We only included Facebook photos if the shots were taken and selected by a reasonably neutral party — Bergdorf Goodman, for example. We did not count the photos of men who posted pictures of themselves on their own blogs or Facebook pages. Moreover, the recent CNN slideshow was not included as the men depicted were chosen by Adams, not by CNN.

And so, in the eyes of the media, the top face of dandyism for 2013 is Dandy Wellington, who’s on quite a roll, as “selfie” was also the Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year. Patrick McDonald and Michael Attree were not far behind.

Here’s the full tally, with the number at right referring to the total number of photos used by the media:

Dandy Wellington 10

Patrick McDonald 9

Michael “Atters” Attree 9

Nick Wooster 7

Matt Fox 7

Enrique Crame lll 6

Nick Sullivan 6

Mr. Burton 6

Dr Keith Churchwell 5

Fyodor Pavlov 5

Barima 4

Zack MacLeod Pinsent 4

Domenico Spano 4

Cator Sparks 4

Ray Frensham 4

Michael R. Davis 4

Tony Sylvester 4

Gay Talese 3

Kevin Wang 3

Robert E. Bryan 3

Ignacio Quiles 3

Andrew Yamato 3

Dickon Edwards 3

Doran Wittelsbach 3

Winston Chesterfield 2

Ed Hayes 2

James Sherwood 2

Robert W. Richards 2

Michael Andrews 2

Peter McGough 2

Dr. Andre Churchwell 1

Sean Crowley 1

David Zyla 1

Thomas Crowley 1

Sven Schneider 1

Hamish Bowles 1

David Carter 1

Michael Haar 1

Guy Hills 1

Robin Dutt 1

Lord Whimsy 1

Christian Chensvold 1 (bribed)

G. Bruce Boyer 0

Of course we remain skeptical, if not despondent or even slightly dyspeptic, at the thought of how our great fraternity of dandyism now resonates in the mind of the public, whose brains have been rotted by Hollywood. Cover boy Massi, for example, surely makes John Q. Public think of post-transformation Dirk Bogarde in “Death In Venice:”

bogarde

Michael Atters, on the other hand, conjures up this actor:

terry_thomas

Patrick McDonald can’t help but make one think of…

elizabethtaylor2

And then there’s Welly:

little-shop-of-horrors1

Put them all together, and the general impression of dandyism is that of an overbudgeted B movie.

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The Frankendandy

frankendandy

Need a last-minute Halloween costume? Consider dressing up as the Frankendandy.

Comprised of signature components of the 21st-century’s leading dandies, Frankendandy is, to borrow a line from a ’50s B horror movie, “pieced together like some monstrous jigsaw puzzle.”

The best part is that most of costume’s ingredients can be found right in your own closet!

Happy Halloween. Watch out for goths.

Illustration by Stephen Teater

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What Am I? The Dandy Word-Association Poll

dandy-cover

Halfway through dressing for last night’s New York book-signing party for Callahan & Adams’ “I Am Dandy,” it occurred to me that the evening would present a rare congregation of people with the word “dandy” on their minds.

So when I arrived to the sound of Dandy Wellington & His Band serenading the packed crowd, I took out my notebook and began chronicling guest responses to the following question:

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “dandy”?

The results were rather fascinating.

A few respondents immediately thought of individuals (none of them Brummell). Others thought of qualities they association with a dandy, making it clear that the legacy of “dandy,” in both word and concept, is that of the butterfly variety, clad in a kind of snazzy anachronism. Others still chose specific items of clothing they felt symbolically represented the word. Hardly anyone responded with a personality trait or an abstract concept, showing that in the minds of most “dandy” is something visible and sartorial.

Most of the responses are anonymous, though a few are credited to sitters in the book, many of whom were in attendance.

Finally, while I have not invented responses, I have taken the liberty of organizing them into small clusters for your entertainment. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

* * *

“Eccentric”

“Fedora”

“Peacock”

“Flamboyance”

(more…)

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Flagrantly Attired: A Review Of Callahan & Adams’ I Am Dandy

p244_PeterMcGough

With unwonted alacrity, we publish, on the first day permitted by the publisher and under the terms of the Geneva Convention, our review of Rose Callahan and Nathaniel Adams’ “I Am Dandy.” Armed with anatomical chartshis quizzing glass, and an arsenal of phrases lifted from dandy literature, Nick Willard guides us through the book’s assemblage of elegant gentleman and tells us who’s the dandy. 

* * *

How very delightful Rose Callahan’s photographs are! They reveal, with sure delicacy, the psyche of her sitters, even when they’re standing. Look at her magnificent photograph of the artist Peter McGough, pictured above.

His face is so open. Peer into his eyes and you can see his artistic soul, intimated by the surrounding art. The intensity of the image is heightened by her decision to rely on chiaroscuro, yet there is an air of placidness.

The most illuminative photograph of the whole series, and of the species dandy, is her photograph of Mr. Massimiliano Moochia di Coggiola, not the one on the cover, but this one:

p277_MassimilianoMocchiadiCoggiola

Here he looks comfortable in his own clothes (in the cover photograph, there is a tinge of pose in his visage), without the fussiness to which he is prone. His muted navy suit blends with dark voluptuousness of the settee. The dark colors and lighting are punctured by the pink of his socks and the stripe of his shirt, adding caprice. The glimpse of artwork on the wall suggests his classical taste. This is Sig. Coggiola, who can sometimes veer into nostalgic excess, at his best.

Natty Adams’s libretto is the perfect accompaniment. Adams is one of the most knowledgeable and astute observers of dandyism, having cut his eye teeth here and going on to share his perspicacious thoughts over at his blog “Lives of the Dandies,” which has been understandably moribund since he decided to record his thoughts in print and on page rather than in the ephemeral ether of the blogosphere. His introduction sets the proper tone of what to expect from the men who appear in the following pages, and his profiles complete the reveal started by Callahan’s photos.

The book’s sole flaw, universally acknowledged, is its title, which was given by the publisher. Callahan has mentioned on several occasions that it was not her and Adams’ choice. Echoing the authors’ dubiety, many of the those in the volume have gone on record to decline, like Caesar, the proffered laurel wreath, denying that they are dandies.

Glenn O’Brien, in his excellent preface, agrees:

I might not consider this aggregation of flagrantly attired to be true dandies in the classical sense, but an eclectic admixture of dandy, fop, and gay blade.

So does Natty Adams in the introduction:

I’d say that only a handful of the men in this book rise into this exalted realm of elite dandyism, and I’ll leave it to you to decide which ones they are.

With such disclaimers and caveats, it seems that a better title would have been “Who’s the Dandy?” But we are not shackled by diffidence. Here, then, is a taxonomy of Adams and Callahan’s gentlemen. (more…)

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Dandy of the Year: Luca Rubinacci

My eyes first fell upon Luca Rubinacci while exploring Scott Schuman’s website The Satorialist.  I can still remember being quite impressed by Luca’s use of color. “Now that is how you dress boldly,” I said to myself. I must admit that I thought nothing more about him for some time afterwards. Then one day as I flipped through the pages of my favorite men’s magazine, The Rake, there staring back at me was that same stylish individual from several months earlier. I recognized instantly the same style, and once more I was taken by his bold use of color, his beautifully fitted bespoke clothing, and the distinct originality that he projected. I was so impressed with what I saw on those pages that I actually took the time to read the entire article, something which I’ll admit that I rarely have time to do. Come to find out, Luca Rubinacci is a very interesting man whose style exemplifies his originality—in his clothing, his work, and his lifestyle, all of which help him cut the dandyish figure.

(more…)

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Yes Sir, That’s Our Beebe

beebe-1.jpgWhen Dandyism.net launched four years ago, we stated as our mission the desire to rescue the dandy from the slag heap of history through rigorous scholarship and unflinching self-righteousness.

Now it is time to rescue one particular dandy: Lucius Beebe, an all-but-forgotten American original who barely warrants a mention by the academics of dandyism, who are more concerned with muddled abstractions like “performance” and “self-invention” than the tangible plumage of top hat and tails.

To Beebe, this plumage was essential as it was to Fred Astaire. In donning it, Beebe simultaneously defined himself, an era, and the new genre of celebrity journalism. His gold-headed cane cut a wide swath through stuffiness, social conventions, and hoi polloi (he was called a notorious “peasant baiter”). Beebe’s patrician style was unmatched, as was the notoriety his wardrobe brought him.

Read the second and third installments of this article.

During his lifetime he was equally as famous as the stars and socialites who populated the small and swank universe he called “crazy luxe,” but within a few years of his death in 1966 he all but disappeared from public memory.

“The Passionate Spectator” columnist and burgeoning staff biographer Robert Sacheli, whose appreciations of Noel Coward and Fred Astaire have brought D.net acclaim on the Web and in print from as far away as New Zealand, ransacked a bevy of buried texts on Lucius Beebe in preparation for what is certainly the freshest and most thorough account of the man written in many decades, which will be presented in three parts.

The Junta encourages its faithful myrmidons to join us in a toast to Sacheli for his assiduous research, and to a long-lost member of our fraternity.

Welcome back, Lucius. (more…)

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