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Beau Brummell: The Ultimate Man of Style (2005)

por Ian Kelly

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224791,993 (3.85)4
In this fascinating new biography Ian Kelly reveals the man who changed the way we dress forever - and how his life reflects upon and has influenced our own 21st century culture. Beau Brummell's life is a riveting story of unparalleled fame, fashion and admiration followed by a descent into poverty and madness. The man who put Saville Row on the map, who could win friends, political arguments or the favours of women with apparent effortlessness, and who was responsible for some of the wittiest put-downs in history, Brummell created the myth of the British gent typified by wit, style, sex, and the finest tailoring in the world. In this biography Ian Kelly brings the clothes, fashions and people of Regency England vividly to life. Brummell's life is a mirror to his own age and also to our own. Part Andy Warhol, part David Beckham, part Oscar Wilde - Brummell became famous by virtue of his image at a time when the modern concept of 'celebrity' was first termed.… (mais)
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Such a familiar name, and yet I knew nothing about the man. Ian Kelly's biography of Beau Brummell proved an interesting read. ( )
  Roarer | Nov 17, 2019 |
Expecting a standard sort of biography, I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised by this book. It succeeds not only as a biography of a man, but also as a fashion history of Brummell and his impact on the tastes of both men and women from then up till the present. The descriptions of cloth, cuts and tailoring sent me scurrying to Google a number of times, as many of the terms were unfamiliar to me, but while challenging to the reader it is also very rewarding as I did learn a great deal. A reader not so interested in the details can however draw enough inference from the text to continue without the extra research if desired.

Additionally the book serves as an fascinating social history of the period, with much detail on the clubs, the entertainment and other facets of how the privileged kept themselves occupied. The author uses quotes from many primary sources and weaves these together with his narrative in such a way that they help illustrate the tale, rather than bogging it down. It also delves into the complex social relationships that often meant the difference between being a sought after member of the elite and a social pariah, shunned and ignored. This may sound trivial, but it's surprisingly interesting reading.

Finally it should be noted that the book is seriously considered history, not fluff or a pop narrative. There is much depth to the book and serious students of history will find much to appreciate here. ( )
  jztemple | Feb 28, 2011 |
Very absorbing. But still find it hard to visualise him - maybe because there is no official portrait. What a fascinating period! Harrowing ending. ( )
  Panfried | May 23, 2009 |
I thought this biography was an extremely interesting and lively account of the life of the preeminent dandy in Regency London. Kelly treats Beau Brummell like a modern celebrity, documenting his ascent from common beginnings to the peak of high society (he was friends with the Prince of Wales and became, basically, the guy everyone wanted to know), and his later descent into debt, prison, and syphilitic insanity. Obviously the subject matter is probably only of interest to Regency geeks like me, but if you're into the period, you should definitely read it. It paints a picture not only of Brummell himself, but of the high-society life of the period, and there's an extensive list of sources at the end for further reading.
  christina_reads | Mar 11, 2009 |
Very readable account of the life and times of the well known late 18th, early 19th century metrosexual whose influence on minimalist male fashion lasted far beyond his life. ( )
  beadinggem | Jan 5, 2008 |
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In this fascinating new biography Ian Kelly reveals the man who changed the way we dress forever - and how his life reflects upon and has influenced our own 21st century culture. Beau Brummell's life is a riveting story of unparalleled fame, fashion and admiration followed by a descent into poverty and madness. The man who put Saville Row on the map, who could win friends, political arguments or the favours of women with apparent effortlessness, and who was responsible for some of the wittiest put-downs in history, Brummell created the myth of the British gent typified by wit, style, sex, and the finest tailoring in the world. In this biography Ian Kelly brings the clothes, fashions and people of Regency England vividly to life. Brummell's life is a mirror to his own age and also to our own. Part Andy Warhol, part David Beckham, part Oscar Wilde - Brummell became famous by virtue of his image at a time when the modern concept of 'celebrity' was first termed.

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