Monday, August 6, 2012

The Chap: Lesser-Known Dandies

The following are some excerpts from an article I wrote on lesser-known dandies for The Chap Magazine:

...Robert Coates, son of a wealthy English sugar planter in Antigua, came to England with dreams of being an actor. But before Coates ever took to the boards, he made his theatrical debut on the streets of London, glittering from boot to hat in his heirloom diamonds and, when not marching around town with the proud stride of a man trying to catch up with his nose, riding in a two-seater open-topped chariot – the convertible of its day. The vehicle was gilded and shaped like a clam, and he sat up in it, Venus-like, and looked out over the giant silver-plated rooster affixed to the yoke....
...Evander Berry Wall was a New York Gilded Age socialite who boasted that he'd gambled away two million-dollar inheritances speculating on horseflesh at racetracks around the world. His memoir is a catalog of million-dollar friends, thousand-dollar dinners, and long nights spent in champagne-soaked evening clothes...Wall wore mad plaids and was famous for owning 5000 neckties, which he wore “a yard long, wound around twice, and knotted into a bow.”

......[Jacque] Rigaut’s obsession was suicide, a fixation and artistic calling which remained with him until the day he died. He declared with proud Wildean flippancy that “suicide should be a vocation,” and then worked at it until an early retirement at the age of 30...His oeuvre is suitably slim for an obscure dandy, but his legacy in this grand company is assured with the boastfully immortal words: “Try, if you can, to arrest a man who travels with suicide in his buttonhole.”...

No comments:

Post a Comment