Prince William’s new digs at Kensington Palace, Apartment 1A, were last inhabited by Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon. On assignment for Ralph Lauren Magazine, D.net founder Christian Chensvold looks at their turbulent marriage.
Snowdon is pictured above in a portrait by Roger George Clark that hangs in the National Gallery.
A couple of months ago D.net launched a Twitter account. It didn’t take long for Bloomberg Businessweek to notice, and acknowledge our sophisticated contribution in this vintage-inspired cover of the current issue.
Remember: in business the early bird catches the cigarette holder.
In our last post we expressed our recent surprise upon spying a noted denizen of Dandyland sporting jeans.
It got us to wondering what the Platonic ideal of denim for dandies might look like.
Our train of thought immediately departed to San Francisco and the year 1853, when Levi Strauss went into business making blue jeans, which soon became the favored trouser for gold miners.
We next thought of Oscar Wilde’s 1882 trip to America, including his visit with miners in Colorado and subsequent arrival in San Francisco.
It then became perfectly clear to us that were Oscar Wilde to have shopped for Levi’s, he would most certainly have chosen the color called burntwood (rendered above in the 508 model, which features a regular cut through the seat and thigh and a tapered leg).
Though it appears dark brown from a distance, burntwood is actually a dark eggplant color, and thus the perfect complement to Oscar’s purple prose.
Time marches on, fashions change, and old dandy eras give birth to new ones. Clothes are discarded, deemed outmoded not by society, but by their owners.
And so Lord Whimsy, who once extolled the virtues of the thrift-store women’s department, advocated the use of parasols by gentlemen, and once fell so far off the bespoke deep end he commissioned a Black Watch suit, was spotted last week in blue jeans and the kind of crinkly scarves worn by men aspiring to one day attend Pitti Uomo. When more formally attired, however, his lordship now appears to follow Thomas Mann’s dictum that the only way an author can preserve his dignity is by dressing like a banker.
Time has brought other changes. Whimsy, once in our eyes representative of everything wrong with dandy discourse (at least he has the insight to refer to himself as a “failed dandy”), not to mention the author of a significant portion of the opinions on this site filed in the Idle Talk section, warmly extended his hand last month to us at the Bergdorf “I Am Dandy” party, and to our surprise there was no dagger up his sleeve, just a trace of potting soil.
And so in the spirit of this delightful detente we gladly share the news that Lord Whimsy’s “Affected Provincial’s Almanack” has just been published in Germany, under the title Die Kunst mit einem Hummer spazieren zu gehen: Handbuch für den wahrhaftigen Dandy (try saying that with a mouthful of strudel). We flipped through it but the only word we could make out was “die Blumenpothat,” and so are awaiting the review from Herr Teufelsdröckh. Cheers to you, milord, and may your fencing victories be many, whether with man and foil or net and butterfly.
If it weren’t for Barbey d’Aurevilly, you wouldn’t be reading this.
What do we mean? That if he hadn’t been born this week in 1808 and penned “Of Dandyism And George Brummell” in 1845, Brummell would be just a minor historical footnote, and there would likely be no philosophy of dandyism.
And without a philosophy of dandyism, it too would have become just another historical footnote instead of a topic to digitally delight and vex in the 21st century via this website.
And while Brummell is remembered as the “father of modern costume,” Barbey could be called the godfather of retro-eccentric costume. As Ellen Moers writes in “The Dandy”:
Barbey’s own costume, as an old man… was also a reminder of dandyism, though it certainly owed nothing to Brummell. His garish wardrobe of props and disguises, like de Savigny’s sapphire earrings, proclaimed the essential doctrine of “Du Dandysme et de Georges Brummell”: disdain for the ideas and taste of the day. He affected tight black satin trousers, blood-red gloves, full-skirted frock coats, shirts with lace frills, gaudily striped capes, towering broad-brimmed hats, white linen trousers strapped under the foot and trimmed with a band of mauve silk. The extraordinary feature of this costume was not so much that it was flamboyant as that it was resolutely old-fashioned.
Strolling last night on our way to a concert of clarinet sonatas, we spied this fellow in the window of an antiques shop. It’s an Art Deco bronze called “The Smoker.”
We plugged in the search terms this morning and were surprised to learn it’s by JC Leyendecker (we had no idea he worked in this medium). But that explains the rakish pose and details, such as the scarf draped perfectly about his neck.
He’s currently on eBay with a price of $1,920.
You can get a better look at him in the video below, where, like a figure on Keats’ Grecian urn, he strikes us as forever waiting to exhale.