This article in "Times Online" (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,20029-1819675,00.html) made me think.
It deals with the "New English Dandy" (btw with Wade Crescent on the cover) a book by Alice Cicolini available at http://www.amazon.com/New-English-Dandy-Alice-Cicolini/dp/2843237564/sr=8-1/qid=1168354433/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-8517710-7018407?ie=UTF8&s=books .
The english dandy is a man who takes his times for dressing with regards to details and who replaced with his look the muscle packed gym boy working out all day. His aim is to stand out from the crowd who is consuming what the mass marked - as a consequence of globalization - presents.
The article made me think of the theories by the french sociologist Pierre Bourdieu we recently discussed at University (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Bourdieu#Bourdieu.27s_theory_of_power_and_practice). "La Distinction" takes as its basis Bourdieu's empirical research carried out in 1963 and concluded in 1967/68. In his often densely-worded prose, Bourdieu discussed how those in power define aesthetic concepts such as "taste". Using research, he shows how social class tends to determine a person's likes and interests, and how distinctions based on social class get reinforced in daily life. He observes that even when the subordinate classes may seem to have their own particular idea of 'good taste'.
I personally tend to be facinated by people who are special and outside the crowd. This doesn't refer only to the way they dress…that would be really superficial I think. Though I try to search for unusual special things as special clothes, restaurants, hotels ( I totally defeat hotel chains), music, parties, people and so on. This is not an easy way of living because most of the people in our environments tend to do what "common people" do. I would call that a kind of "easy superficial" lifestyle which is uncomplicated to handle in this world full of overload information. For me it is the wrong way to life like this...Oscar Wilde said: "It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances." This is exactly what I think. …if you do the oposite you strike a more difficult path than searching for the extraordinary.
...Coming back to the english dandy now...The english dandy is divided in several types belonging to different sinus milieus in London but it could be assigned to any other european city as well I think:
The role model: David Bowie
The look: Sharp, tailored suits with crisp, clean lines that subvert tradition
The Designers: John Galliano, Spencer Hart, Alexander McQueen
Habitat: Sketch, Modern Times Club at the Great Eastern Hotel
East End Flaneur
Role model: Jarvis Cocker
The look: Vintage, branded goods, bohemian, glam rock – and plenty of scarves
The designers: Maharishi, Vexed Generation, Jeff Griffin
Habitat: Kash Point club nights in London, Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, The Bricklayers Arms and anywhere in Hoxton
Role model: Bryan Ferry
The look: Quality informed by tradition, the epitome of sartorial propriety
The designers: Timothy Everest, Charlie Allen, Carlo Brandelli, Richard Anderso
Habitat: New Piccadilly Café (one of the last Fifties cafés in London), Sheraton Club, The French House, the racetrack, the casino
The role model: Malcolm McLaren
The look: Mixing different cultural references with traditional tailoring
The designers: Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith
Habitat: Multiracial suburbs, such as Queen’s Park and Brixton in "real London"
The role model: Liam Gallagher
The look: Giving classic labels new meaning
The designers: Pringle, Lyle & Scott, Aquascutum, Burberry and Belstaff
Habitat: The Phoenix Pub, Edinburgh, The King’s Arms Salford, Manchester’s Northern Quarter
The role model: Tommy Nutter
The look: Vibrant colour, sparkling fabric, idiosyncratic cut and embellishment
The designers: Richard James, Mark Powell, Ozwald Boeteng, John Pearse
Habitat: Savile Row
What I ask myself now is what would be the better half of each dandy? I mean do this kind of role models exist for women as well and what would be the matching ones to the types of dandys listed above?
David Bowie = Madonna
Jarvis Cocker = Kate Moss
Bryan Ferry = Dita von Teese
Macolm McLaren = Deborah Harry
Liam Gallagher = Irina Lazareanu
Tommy Nutter = Audrey Hepburn