Dandies, also known as beaus or gallants, have been around for a long time. A dandy’s raison d’être is Style – through ‘physical appearance, refined language, and leisurely hobbies, pursued with the appearance of nonchalance in a cult of Self.’ [Wikipedia]
Though not the founder of the movement, Beau Brummell (1778–1840) epitomises the notion of the dandy in English society, and was the arbiter of fashion in Regency days (think Jane Austen for you non-history-nerds). He was elegant, immaculately dressed and groomed, and despised the extremities of fashion as worn by the outlandish ‘Macaronis’ of earlier decades.
Fond of plain, dark suits worn with perfectly starched linen and accessorised with an elaborately tied cravat, Beau Brummell instituted a style of men’s dress that has reigned for the past two centuries. He was one of the first celebrities, famous chiefly for being famous, as a ‘laconically witty clotheshorse’. A socialite of olden days in fact.
This fashion shoot elegantly photographed by Jurgen Teller for Arena Homme in the 1990s is inspired by the dandies of Evelyn Waugh’s era. There is an elegance in these pictures, with a dash of subversive wit to leaven them. The (mostly) black and white photography with faint echoes of René Margritte and the minimal set are immaculate, and the styling and art direction clever.
Enjoy this wonderful homage to the dandy of the twentieth century.
Click on the images for larger versions.