Year Of The Tango’s 100th Anniversary


Nineteen-thirteen was the year the tango conquered fashionable society, rising from its seedy origins in the brothels of Buenos Aires. On assignment for The Rake, founder Christian Chensvold meditates on this most masculine of social dances. Click here for a PDF of the story.

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Camille Paglia Likes Men (In Theory, That Is)


Camille Paglia has been our favorite lesbian cultural critic ever since her 1990 book “Sexual Personae,” which exhibited vigorous and often embarrassing insight into dandies, decadents and aesthetes. When it comes to her versus Rhonda Garelick, we certainly think Dr. Paglia has a trifle the preference.

It’s also fun to watch the renegade scholar vex and roil mainstream academic feminists.

To wit, yesterday Dr. Paglia posted an essay at crediting men not only with dandyism (OK, while not mentioned, it’s certainly implied), but with far less dandyish activities, such as refuse disposal, and inventing the dishwasher.

Men will also become socially useful to enlightened women once again, Paglia assures us, once  the apocalypse comes:

After the next inevitable apocalypse, men will be desperately needed again! Oh, sure, there will be the odd gun-toting Amazonian survivalist gal, who can rustle game out of the bush and feed her flock, but most women and children will be expecting men to scrounge for food and water and to defend the home turf. Indeed, men are absolutely indispensable right now, invisible as it is to most feminists, who seem blind to the infrastructure that makes their own work lives possible. It is overwhelmingly men who do the dirty, dangerous work of building roads, pouring concrete, laying bricks, tarring roofs, hanging electric wires, excavating natural gas and sewage lines, cutting and clearing trees, and bulldozing the landscape for housing developments. It is men who heft and weld the giant steel beams that frame our office buildings, and it is men who do the hair-raising work of insetting and sealing the finely tempered plate-glass windows of skyscrapers 50 stories tall.

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Birds Of A Feather


Fop together. Via For complete photo shoot, head here.

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To Cut A Dash


Recently we watched the 2011 BBC production of Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations,” in which the protagonist, Pip, who is newly risen from poverty by an anonymous benefactor, is told by an admiring peer how he “cuts a dash.”

And indeed he does. Played by actor Douglas Booth, Pip’s impression of energized elegance comes down to a certain set of qualities, all of which require the blessings of Providence.

In brief, to properly cut a dashing figure in society, you need to be:

• Young

• Handsome

• Tall

• Slender

• Rich, or fortified by credit

The 19th century novel was largely centered around the young man, often from the provinces, who goes to the metropolis in search of love and money. Often these characters adopt dandy airs — and machinations. Never are these characters:

• Old

• Ugly

• Short

• Fat

• Poor

Pip, Pip hooray. We should all be so lucky.

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At Least They’re Not Boring: Spontaneous Impressions Of I Am Dandy

lady friend

One of the more frequent visitors to HQ is a certain Lady Friend who hails from Japan and has spent much of her career in menswear. She’d seen my photo in “I Am Dandy,” but hadn’t gone through the entire book.

Recently, while mixing cocktails, I heard her cry out from the other room. I dashed in thinking something was wrong, but instead found her leafing through the book.

As both a woman and a non-Westerner, her feedback interested me, and I sat down at my keyboard to record her extemporaneous impressions. The exchange ran something like this. — CC

* * *

LF: “Attention please! Attention please! Look at me!”

CC: What’s the matter?

LF: There’s no dandies in here. The title is “I Am Dandy.”

CC: I see. Well how exactly should a dandy look?

LF: Simple. Sophisticated. Mature. Perfect fit.

CC: Thank you.

LF: These guys are like rock stars, gangsters or characters in a movie, but they’re not dandy.

CC: Interesting.

LF: I like the anime characters, though.

CC: The what?

LF: They’re fun. I can imagine characters in movies. But they’re not real. Why is he wearing so many rings?

CC: That’s a good question.

LF: They’re enjoying fashion and I’m so happy to see that. These kinds of guys I really like. But are they elegant gentlemen? They’re like women.

CC: Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

LF: “Watch me. I’m wearing fancy clothing. I’m unusual. I’m special.” That’s the message I can hear from this book. If I don’t see the title I think, “What a fun book!” It’s like scenes from movies. They’re acting. They have their own special characters. At least they’re not boring.

CC: Well put.

LF: The accessories they have are really good. How can I find them?

CC: Another good question.

LF: I really love this teacup.

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The First Biography On Francis de Miomandre

Francis de Miomandre - Pierre de BonneuilWe recently featured the artwork of Paris-based Pierre de Bonneuil. Now he follows up with a post of his own, on lesser-known French dandy Francis de Miomandre.

* * *

C’est avec un immense plaisir que la France compte dans sa bibliothèque la première biographie consacrée à Francis de Miomandre. L’avant-propos occupe 3 pages merveilleuses par une écriture si légitime. En effet, Philippe de Miomandre honore son oncle et présente l’auteur de cet élégant ouvrage, Remi Rousselot. Ami et confrère des feuilles volantes, il donne en 2013 à partir de ses recherches une possibilité d’entrer dans le cabinet d’un dandy presque oublié.

Francis etait un homme de petite taille, l’oeil pétillant et toujours bien soigné. Il portait le monocle et fumait de longues cigarettes. Ses amis épistolaires étaient Gide, Suarès, Larbaud, Breton, Supervielle, Desnos, Milosz, Soupault, Claudel et beaucoup d’autres. Participant aux aventures littéraires de son siècle, il cultivait le paradoxe en considérant bien plus la variété de ses promenades avec son caméléon de compagnie. De Miomandre avait fondé dans sa jeunesse une société secrète nommée Peacocks. Plume féconde, il a une flopée d’ouvrages à son actif et quelques traductions dont ” Elégance des temps endormis ” du sulfureux Vicomte de Lascano-Tegui.

Il habita pendant un certain temps — rue La Bruyère — un appartement qui disposait de deux pièces. L’une lui servait à la fois de salon, de chambre à coucher et de studio; l’autre était un cabinet de toilettes. L’ensemble décoratif ressemblait étrangement aux esquisses d’Aubrey Beardsley — c’est à dire que tout était recouvert de dentelles et de voiles blancs dans lesquels se détachaient quelques objets résolument noirs.

Il se faisait inviter dans les cercles les plus réputés: au Jockey, à l’Union, à l’Epatant, à la Régence, au Fouquet’s, au Flore, où il croisait quelques dandys — Charles du Bos, Robert de Montesquiou, Boni de Castellane et le Prince de Sagan. Son dernier texte fut publié par les nouvelles littéraires, le 4 août 1960, soit un an, presque jour pour jour, après sa disparition. Son titre était prémonitoire: trop de silence. — PIERRE DE BONNEUIL

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