Dandyism — The habit of male preening that verges on obsession — is the topic of the new book “I am Dandy: The Return of the Elegant Gentlemen,” a compilation of photographs, lensed by photographer Rose Callahan, and text, penned by Nathaniel Adams, documenting the duo’s fascination with all things debonair. On Thursday, Bergdorf Goodman and Brioni cohosted a book party for the pair at the retailer’s recently unveiled, newly refurbished men’s store.
A jazzy, brass band stationed on the second floor marble veranda welcomed guests off the elevator. Inside, partygoers embraced the dandy sartorial spirit — eye-catching pocket squares, velvet suiting, cocktail-ring-adorned fingers and bowler hats were highly visible. Guests sipped hearty coupes of Champagne, proffered by a fleet of dapperly dressed male servers circulating the room, and snailed over to get their books signed by Adams and Callahan.
“It takes a man of supreme confidence to be a dandy. It has to be unshakable confidence. It’s almost a disorder. They couldn’t live any other way. There are plenty of well-dressed men out there who, their style is not at the very core of their being like this,” Callahan said, taking a break from signing duties.
“They are consumed with elegance and self-expression and have a love of dressing,” Callahan added. “They’ve spent years, most of their lives, collecting clothes.”
“A dandy is a person who’s always in the pursuit of beauty and they live their lives with beautiful things,” legendary New York dandy Patrick McDonald said when asked how he defines a dandy. The question was met with a raised painted eyebrow under his Philip Treacy topper. “I wake up in the morning as a blank canvas and some days I feel modern, some days I feel surreal and I just paint myself with my clothes.”