« A Dandy should seek to be sublime without interruption; he should live and sleep in front of a mirror . »
After all, who’s better to define Dandyism than Charles Baudelaire ? The writer is one of the emblematic figures of this “art of being” which is interested in the “Self”, at the appearance as well as the search of absolute beauty. This race towards modernity is an approach we observed since the Greek gods, who are often named as the precursors of this art of living, always seeking intellectual and physical perfection. But, being dandy is not summed up in the neat appearance. It’s a question of creating a character in his own right, which goes beyond the ordinary and sometimes becomes a work of provocation, culture and mind.
From Charles Baudelaire to Oscar Wilde, include modern dandies as Gainsbourg and Pete Doherty, the book decrypt this vast notion that sticks to the skin of great French authors in particular. The lifestyle of the dandy is never far from bohemian lifestyle and his destiny is often intimately linked to the tragic and the romantic. The life of the great figures of dandyism, like Oscar Wilde, Charles Baudelaire or Verlaine, has in common to have been traversed by dramas, injustices and great poverty. After all, the dandy flees the everyday, flees Mister everyone, and becomes a double often superior to his original persona. The cursed life of the authors we know has shaped the definition of dandyism as an attitude with or without poverty. In a clearer way, it is not a question of having a mismatched suit and a red pocket-handkerchief to be a dandy, it’s a way of “being” who has to be worked, but which can certainly not be bought.
The book published by François Bourrin Edition, tells the story of dandyism and its characters, analyzing all the (refined) elements that make a dandy. One way to expand the definition of this lifestyle that is to many time reduce to the simple concept of elegance. We definitely learn a lot about the Dandyism trough the tragic life of the great characters that shaped this way of life,as Wilde’s art of seeking pure beauty, Baudelaire’s mind development as much as Warhol’s nonconformism.