Eustace Tilley as Dandizette
is a man
who places particular importance
upon physical appearance,
and leisurely hobbies,
pursued with the
appearance of nonchalance
in a cult of Self.
The New Yorker’s third annual contest soliciting readers’ takes on Eustace Tilley, the magazine’s iconic dandy, who appeared on the cover of the first issue and on almost every anniversary issue since, has concluded. Of the twelve favorites chosen out of more than three hundred entries, this was my personal favorite. Entitled “Madame X”. By Claire B. Cotts, Berkeley, Calif
A Dandy is a clothes-wearing Man, a Man whose trade, office and existence consists in the wearing of Clothes. Every faculty of his soul, spirit, purse, and person is heroically consecrated to this one object, the wearing of Clothes wisely and well: so that the others dress to live, he lives to dress … And now, for all this perennial Martyrdom, and Poesy, and even Prophecy, what is it that the Dandy asks in return? Solely, we may say, that you would recognise his existence; would admit him to be a living object; or even failing this, a visual object, or thing that will reflect rays of light….
– Thomas Carlyle, “The Dandiacal Body”, in Sartor Resartus
The model dandy in British society was George Bryan “Beau” Brummell (1778-1840). Ever unpowdered, unperfumed, immaculately bathed and shaved, and dressed in a plain dark blue coat, he was always perfectly brushed, perfectly fitted, showing much perfectly starched linen, all freshly laundered, and composed with an elaborately knotted cravat. From the mid 1790s, Beau Brummell was the early incarnation of “the celebrity,” a man chiefly famous for being famous–in his case, as a laconically witty clothes-horse
In honor of Madame X, a cocktail named after Monsieur Brummell, which, it is said, he relished, before the word “cocktail” was born.
The Beau Brummell
Pour into tumbler with ice a good drink of Bourbon or rye whiskey, a tablespoon of “gum” or powdered sugar, if you prefer, and add a teaspoon of lime juice. Stir well till very cold and strain into an old fashioned cocktail glass. Crown top with a bit of yellow lemon peel previously tweaked over the liquid. It’s “stiff!”