21st Century Dandy
Background; The British Council is Britain's international cultural relations organisation. Through its work in education, science, governance and the arts, the British Council aims to enhance perceptions of Britain as a creative and forward-looking nation and to challenge negative stereotypes. Art, Architecture & Design runs an international design programme of touring exhibitions, lectures, seminars and workshops with the purpose of extending the influence of British designers and encouraging the development of design elsewhere in the world. We advocate the value of design to business and government as part of our education and development activity and we contribute to the commercial promotion of British design. 21st Century Dandy will form part of the Design department programme for 2003. Target Audience; 21st Century Dandy will engage a young, general audience interested in fashion and international popular culture.The discursive content of the exhibition also aims to resonate with a specialist audience of fashion practitioners, museum curators, design journalists, the design education community (students and lecturers) - all of whom contribute to the discourse of contemporary design in which we need to sustain a profile for Britain. It will also interest garment manufacturers and retailers. The exhibition should resonate in particular in countries where menswear is equally invested with notions of national identity. The Exhibition That The Book Accompanies; Dandvism, the style and the philosophy, is uniquely British. The original dandy of 1800, George Bryan 'Beau' Brummell captured, in the turn of his cuff and the knot of his cravat, the studied irony and languor that defined his age. Brummell's preoccupation with pose and appearance was derided as the last gasp of aristocratic decadence, but in many ways he anticipated the modern era-a world of social mobility in which taste was privileged above birth and wealth.Dedicated to perfection in dress and the immaculate presentation of his body, Brummell's total control over his image finds its legacy in 21st century masculine dress styles in Britain. The tension between old and new, personal/individual and public, tradition and rebellion is just as pressing in contemporary British design language. 21st Century Dandy explores six sartorially self-conscious male types in contemporary British culture and illustrates the debt each owes to dandy philosophy. British menswear design in 2003 is at its most fertile and interesting since the Peacock Revolution in Carnaby Street in the 1960s, and it owes much to the British Iova of dressing up of ironic posturing - that Brummall practised so archetypically. The work of the designers, brands and manufacturing companies in our exhibition show how dandyism is at once an exclusive and democratic stance - democratic because it appears so easily attainable, but elusive in that so few succeed in getting it right. In reality, few British men could be easily categorised into one of our six types. The true dandy's guiding principle (individual style) rejects definition by type.But the dandy principles of exquisite beauty, quality and performance are as influential in British menswear design today as they were over 200 years ago; the cultural referentiality and material quality that characterises the best of British design could not find a better muse in the 21st century than the dandy. Section Divisions: Precis; 1. The Gentleman; A standard-bearer for quality, tradition and heritage, the Gentleman is the epitome of propriety. A Gentleman's wardrobe is detailed to perfection whilst appearing effortless. 2. Hoxton Dandy; Personifying the lifestyle/fashion/music/art nexus, the Hoxton Dandy is a media savvy neo-bohemien who parades ostentatious utilitarianism of his clothes, absinthe in hand, in the wide open spaces of Hoxton's galleries and bars. 3. Terrace Casual; The Terrace Casual's country clothes - hunting tweeds and golfing sweaters - actually
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