Eric Musgrave

Since 1980, menswear & fashion retail commentator, opinionated thought-leader,
event host & all-round top bloke. Contact me to discuss working together.

Celebrating dandies in Rhode Island

Sitting very pretty on my bookshelf is this new book.

Dandy book 001

It’s a very handsome 194-page hardback that has been produced to accompany an exhibition of menswear at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. The event runs through until 18 August; all the details are here. The joint curators Kate Irvin and Laurie Anne Brewer are to be congratulated on bringing together a fascinating selection of historical and contemporary men’s clothes.

Among the many images I like in this sumptuously produced volume is this close-up of part of a three-piece suit made in 1968 for the American author and dandy Richard Merkin. The tailor was F L Dunne and Company of New York and Boston; Merkin donated the suit to the RISD Museum in 1999.

 Dandy book 003

The book carries four long academic pieces on aspects of menswear, surrounded by shorter pieces by a range of authors on notable dressers they admire. Mark Samuels Lasner, senior research fellow at the University of Delaware Library, chose the writer and cartoonist Max Beerbohm as his subject. This 1947 portrait of Beerbohm was taken by Douglas Glass.

Dandy book 004

Motofuni “Poggy” Kogi is a buyer and director of United Arrows, the Japanese menswear chain. He was the choice of Derrick Miller, creative director of the Barker Black shoe line and of Miller’s Oath, a luxury men’s shop in Greenwich Village, New York.

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Ignacio Quiles owns a vintage menswear business called QP & Monty in Greenwich Village and writes an entertaining blog under the same name. He was photographed in 2011 by Bill Gentle.

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Waving the Dandy banner for Britain is Guy Hills, flamboyant and talented partner in the London-based Dashing Tweeds cloth business with Kirsty McDougall. Guy’s sometime collaborator James Sherwood wrote a fine piece on him. the photograph is by Geordie.

Dandy book 007

Huge thanks go to my friend, bespoke tailor Kathryn Sargent, who brought the book back from the US for me. She appeared during the opening proceedings at the RISD talking about her work and some of her fine outfits are included in the exhibition.

Dandy book 002

Even the back cover of the book is well-dressed. Artist/Rebel/Dandy: Men Of Fashion is published by Yale University Press, with essays by exhibition curators Kate Irvin and Laurie Brewer, fashion historian Christopher Breward, and Barnard College English Professor Monica L. Miller; a preface by menswear designer Thom Browne; and “musings” on artist-dandies by 15 contributors, including Glenn O’Brien (Beau Brummell), Patti Smith (Charles Baudelaire), Merlin Holland (Oscar Wilde), Horace Ballard (W. E. B. DuBois), and Scott Schuman (Luciano Barbera). If you like quality menswear, you will like this book.

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