Chapter 1 is in the can!

Writer’s block was conquered and a decent draft of chapter 1 is complete. Summer is off to a good start.

This photograph Marlene Dietrich wearing her tuxedo from Morocco (1930) and this sketch by the Hollywood costume designer Travis Banton didn’t make it into the chapter so I thought I would share them here.

Viva deco dandies in tuxes!





How to Whitewash A Dandy: A Colorless Account of Queer Fashion History

By Tiffany Mott-Smith

Queer Fashion History Exhibit: The Museum at FIT, 2013

Queer Fashion History Exhibit: The Museum at FIT, 2013

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Queer Fashion History Symposium. I spent six and half hours preparing for this event. Three minutes checking in with my editor for the event, 55 minutes looking for my press badge, two minutes watching my boifriend find my press badge hanging from my doorknob, 30 minutes dropping off my favorite pair of boots at Phillips Shoe Repair, 30 minutes spilling the tea with my favorite shoe repairman’s wife, 30 minutes re-adhering crystals to my favorite pair of boots, four hours deciding on approximately three outfits to match my favorite pair of boots. In case you are wondering, yes dear, these boots are everything!

Arriving at the symposium with my boots and badge in tow, I scanned the room with an immediate furrowed brow. I had imagined wild hair under elaborate chapeaus, statement necklaces and new romantic inspired street fashion. Instead I saw almost exclusively plain shoes, muted colors and dulled accessories- perhaps foreshadowing the day to come.

Continue reading “How to Whitewash A Dandy: A Colorless Account of Queer Fashion History”

“Show me a dandy and I’ll show you a hero.”

Some images, websites, and thoughts I came across while I was contemplating dandyism this weekend:

Les Manteaux, published in Gazette du Bon Ton (vol. 12), 1913. Bernard Boutet de Monvel, illustrator.

“It is a kind of cult of the ego which can still survive the pursuit of that form of happiness to be found in others, in woman for example; which can even survive what are called illusions. It is the pleasure of causing surprise in others, and the proud satisfaction of never showing any oneself. A dandy may be blasé, he may even suffer pain, but in the latter case he will keep smiling, like the Spartan under the bite of the fox.”— Charles Baudelaire, From “The Painter of Modern Life,” 1863

London Dandy; The Squire of Alsatia; Cries of London, Johann Joachim Kändler, Meissen porcelain factory, 1754, The Victoria and Albert Museum, C.124-1940
The Fashionable Mirror addressed to the Man of Mode, Print by William Dent, 1786, British Museum, 1948,0214.573
American, Coat worn by Edward Carrington, ca. 1820, Wool broadcloth with silk velvet collar and gilt brass buttons, Rhode Island School of Design
American, Coat worn by Edward Carrington, ca. 1820, Wool broadcloth with silk velvet collar and gilt brass buttons, Rhode Island School of Design
The actor Sir Herbert Beebohm Tree (1853-1917) as the Count D’Orsay in The Last of the Dandies, c. 1890, © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS
Robert de Montesquiou, portrait by Giovanni Boldini, 1897, Musée d’Orsay, Paris.
Rupert Lycett-Green in Neo-Edwardian dress, 1965
London, England (made) Wedding Suit, Mr Fish (maker and retailer),1967, Wool and synthetic fabrics, machine sewn and hand finished, T.30:1, 2-2010 “Charles Lucas wore this light grey cloth suit with a white satin cravat for his marriage to Antoinette von Westenholz on 9 November 1967.”—Victoria and Albert website
David Bowie's suit, 1972, David Burretti ©The David Bowie Archive
David Bowie’s suit, 1972, David Burretti ©The David Bowie Archive
Jean Paul Gaultier, Fall 2012, Couture


John Varvatos, Autumn/Winter 2013

“You can call this a “peacock complex”—I approve of that. Show me a dandy and I’ll show you a hero, as Baudelaire said…And in the nineteenth century it was more…They’re the aristocracy of elegance. It’s the leather, it’s the placement of the gold embroidery, the small casques with one egret feather; the tasseled boots, the sables…They have the real absurdity of style.”—Diana Vreeland, D.V. p. 181

Check out these exhibit sites and other dandytastic sites:

No People Like Show People: Vesta Tilley and the Tuxedo

Female dandyism – especially tuxedo drag – explored in the introduction of my book Afrochic.

Amber Butchart: Fashion Historian

London chic is masculine: women’s fashion is considered an optional extra, a lesser art that should not be allowed to take centre stage – French Vogue, 1938

Stylistmagazine ‘Androgyny’ shoot, September 2011

In my opinion, there is nothing hotter than a girl in a suit. My own predilection for dressing like Charlie Chaplin is how I manifest this, and I dream of one day owning my own piece of bespoke Savile Row. People seem to be coming around to my way of thinking, as  the bow tie phenomenon shows, an obsession I share with the blogger Man Repeller. And the return to formality in many of the menswear collections as well as current trends for tailoring in womenswear and the condescendingly-named ‘boyfriend dressing’ has left the suit at the centre of many sartorial discussions. ‘Masculine’ dressing has become such a staple of the style media that it’s…

View original post 1,704 more words