The Rebirth of Dandy Fashion

Glenn O'Brien on Beau Brummel, Patti Smith on Baudelaire, plus John Waters, Andy Warhol, and more.


Those familiar with the street-style set know the premium some men place on the perfectly rolled pant cuff, puffed pocket square, and stacked bracelet combo. Some might call this peacocking, but it taps into a rich history of meticulous dressing that dates back hundreds of years. In Artist/Rebel/Dandy: Men of Fashion, editors Kate Irvin and Laurie Ann Brewer reclaim the time-honored dandy tradition. Tracing the evolution of menswear from Beau Brummell's introduction of the modern suit at the turn of the 19th century to Andre 3000's audacious ensembles, the essays in this book recast the dandy as a figure whose style is his substance.

With commentary from tastemakers like Glenn O'Brien and Patti Smith, as well as a foreword by Thom Browne, the book pays homage to notable dandies and reflects on the politics of fashion and the intersections of hip-hop and dandyism with page after page of full-color illustrations and photographs of archival menswear.

A concurrent exhibition of the same name is on view at RISD Museum of Art through August 18. Click through for a curated list of quotes from some of our favorite writers on some of our favorite dressers.

Daniela Morera on Andy Warhol

"His fashion choices are iconic. The Picasso-style horizontal-striped T-shirt, the turtleneck, the necktie, the black motorcycle jacket, the eternal jeans, preppy shirts, cowboy boots, daypack, and his various styles of glasses—even though most of his wardrobe was totally conventional…he always looked different."

"He realized the double bind of sartorial self-consciousness: A man caring about how he looks is usually trying very hard to be attractive, but that's very unattractive in a man."

"He wasn't dressed in custom-made Savile Row suits, he didn't wear a pochette in his breast pocket, a pin on his cravat. But he did hide a diamond necklace under his shirt, slid on his dandyesque Ferragamo shoes even while painting, and was as certain of his own style as anyone could be."

Slide 1: Photo courtesy of RISD Museum, Yale University Press, and respective personalities.; Slide 2: Photo courtesy of RISD Museum, Yale University Press, and respective personalities; Slide 3: Photo courtesy of RISD Museum, Yale University Press, and respective personalities; Slide 4: Photo courtesy of RISD Museum, Yale University Press, and respective personalities.; Slide 5: Photos courtesy of RISD Museum, Yale University Press, and respective personalities; Slide 6: Photo courtesy of RISD Museum, Yale University Press, and respective personalities; Slide 7: Photo courtesy of RISD Museum, Yale University Press, and respective personalities; Slide 8: Yousuf Karsh; Slide 9: Photos courtesy of RISD Museum, Yale University Press, and respective personalities; Slide 10: Greg Gorman.
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