Le beau homme
(image from coilhouse.net):
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.
(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):
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.
(image from ladyamcal.com):
(images from ilstu.ed):
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):
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.”
Sculptor Irene Sedlecka
Unveiled by HRH Princess Michael of Kent on 5 November 2002