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Le beau homme

(image from coilhouse.net):

Fashion icon

George Bryan ‘Beau’  Brummell, 1778 – 1840

Beau Brummell was the men’s fashion statement -maker

in London during the Regency period.

He was an intimate friend of the regent, Prince George;

-the future King George IV-

and a key member of the Prince’s inner circle.

Prior to the establishment of Brummell-wear

on the London fashion stage,

 Many Georgian gentlemen were peacock dressers, prone to

extravagant attire of excess finery and extravagant wigs

These were the Macaronis who dressed, spoke and

conducted themselves in the most outlandish manner.

Macaroni fashion

(image from bbc.co.uk):

(image from kingpinchic.com):

(image from citelighter.com):

(image from wikipedia.org):

Beau Brummell possessed a wholly different dress sensibility

than that of the over- the -top Macaronis.

His was a palette of subdued colours and a styling approach of

strict understatement,  simple elegance,  fastidious grooming –

all with an ease of manner and confident bearing.

(image from janeausten.co.uk):

Beau Brummell

..

Upon arriving in London, he set a personal goal:

to obtain status as the best dressed man in town.

By all accounts, he was successful in accomplishing his aim.

Quickly following his arrival into London society,

he acquired the apt nickname ‘Beau’  (beautiful)

In the eyes of many, he was the perfect specimen

of men’s fashion beauty.

Having inherited a small fortune from his father,

Brummell was able to finance his sartorial ambitions.

As with any great fashionista

it was not solely a matter of

the expense of  clothes, which impressed

but also the styling of the garments and

the bearing of the wearer.

Beau Brummell was master of both.

He is credited with introducing the modern elements

of men’s suit with neck-tie.

At the time,  Brummell perfected the tie

worn high-necked and

achieved with folds of fabric.

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Many great gentlemen of the day attended his levees,

simply to watch him dress and learn from observation.

The Prince Regent was a frequent attendee.

(image from victoriaweb.org):

King George IV

The Prince Regent (George VI)

It is said, Brummell once remarked that

it took him five hours to dress.

His levees were quite an extended performance.

For a substantial period of time,

Beau Brummell dictated the rules of men’s fashion.

He decided want was in and what was out.

His governing over fashion appeared more effective than

the Prince Regent’s governing of politics.

The expense of maintaining his flamboyant lifestyle

and the pressure of mounting gambling debts,

soon caught up with him.

In order to avoid his creditors,

Brummell was forced to flee the country.

He settled in Calais and it was there

that he began to suffer from the ravages of syphilis –

no doubt contracted from his liaisons with prostitutes.

He died on the 30 March 1840.

In London, there was no acknowledgement of his passing

..

Yet Beau Brummell helped to define

a key aspect of his era :  dress …

fashion,   clothes,   styling

 powerful visuals of an historic moment.

(image from lahilden.com):

Beau Brummell wear:  the complete package

Beau Brummell is probably a more recognisable historic figure

of the Regency period, than most in the royal family.

To commemorate his stamp on his time,

a statue was erected on Jermyn Street, London –

the heart of St. James,  the stomping ground then and now

of London’s men of means and men of fashion.

(image from dandycorner.altervista.org):

George Bryn ‘Beau’ Brummell,

“To be truly elegant one should not be noticed.”

(inscription)

Sculptor Irene Sedlecka

Unveiled by HRH Princess Michael of Kent on 5 November 2002