Thursday, August 16, 2012

Adolf Loos

The English-language scholarship of dandyism has reason to rejoice: Metroverlag press has released an English compilation of some of Adolf Loos' writings on clothing: "Adolf Loos: Why A Man Should Be Well Dressed." The translation reads nicely, although there are some typos and grammatical errors. Loos was an Austrian architect working in fin de siecle Vienna who advocated an aesthetic simplicity which prefigured the modern schools such as Bauhaus and De Stijl. His most famous work is the essay "Ornament and Crime," in which he vents his spleen upon helpless flower boxes on windowsills. His sartorial philosophy is equally uncompromising and austere, based on his forward-thinking and somewhat utilitarian ideas about form following function. His idea of "dandies" come in for a drubbing in the essays, but Loos himself found much common ground in Beau Brummell's classic idea of dandyism - an emphasis on simple and refined elegance over ostentation, ornamentation, and flamboyance. Below are some photographs I took at Loos' famous "American Bar" while researching his life in Vienna.

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