Thursday, 19 September 2013

I am Dandy: The Return of the Elegant Gentleman - a must for your bookshelf

Earlier this week the British launch of Rose Callahan's new book, I am Dandy: The Return of the Elegant Gentleman was held at Gieves and Hawkes, No.1 Savile Row.

I've written about Rose before (see my previous post here) and met her earlier this year in London. Based in New York , she has for a while been documenting the dandy, the man who exceeds in taste and sartorial style. This book collects some of her best images with a vibrant and thoughtful commentary written by Nathaniel Adams.

This is more than street style photography, which tends (with some marked exceptions) to record style and clothing while ignoring the personalities of the subjects. Here Rose sensitively and skilfully brings out the character of her sitters, while displaying the exceptional quality and sumptuousness of what they're wearing.

Rose Callahan - image Grey Fox

She is clearly fascinated by these gentlemen and, more widely, by the meaning and definition of the word dandy. I remember discussing with her whether the word carries subtly different meanings here and in her native US - I think we decided that it did - but in whatever country he is, the dandy has to have courage. Some dress quietly for public display, preserving their more eccentric dress for private or internet display; others feel able to live their lives as dandies. Nathaniel Adam's text nicely complements the images, telling us more about the characters shown in Rose's images.

This is a book to read through, then revisit regularly. It's not the type of book that is bought and then languishes on the shelf. Like dandies themselves, it demands to be looked at and admired. I recommend it to anyone interested in elegance.

Even if you don't dress so boldly, you will learn a lot from the quality of the clothes and the dandy's eye for detail will inform your own search for style, however conservative or flamboyant. I'm learning much from this wonderful book - it's a masterpiece of writing and photography.

Available from all good bookshops and online at Waterstones and others.

Oh, and the Gieves & Hawkes launch party was excellent - although it was easy to feel under-dressed.

Some of the dandies featured in the book gather at the party - Grey Fox image from Instagram. Rose and Nathaniel at back L & R


Anonymous said...

Not sure this look would work in Aldi on a Saturday afternoon

Grey Fox said...

No - perhaps not!


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