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Rational Women

The Rational Women

Sara Harris: On April 5th 1899, a woman took the stand as star witness for the prosecution in Regina v Sprague at the Kingston Quarter Sessions. The previous October the woman had been on a cycling trip in Surrey. Arriving for lunch at The Hautboy Hotel in the village of Ockham she had been refused entry to the hotel coffee-room because she was clad in ‘rationals’. Offended by the landlady’s offer of catering in the (less salubrious) hotel bar parlour, the woman had promptly turned tail and left in disgust. Unfortunately for Martha Sprague, landlady of The Hautboy Hotel, her disgruntled… Keep Reading

Holly Rose Swinyard
Fashion/Features/Further Reading

Nonbinary Fashion

Holly Rose Swinyard is a self-proclaimed fashion experimentalist who writes about non binary fashion. Of all the fashions I follow and engage with, I think that this Chap look is the most me. Despite having a very definite male/female divide – Chaps and Chapettes, though there are many ongoing attempts to introduce Chapex, or just to degender Chap as a fashion term – I have found that not only do I love the fashion, but the community is the most accepting of any of the fashion communities. Fun, rambunctious, and downright splendid in their taste and style, these Chaps welcome all with… Keep Reading


Joshua Kane

Darcy Sullivan: Poised like a tiny sparrow on Mr. Joshua Kane’s upper lip is a miracle of moustachery. Immaculately chiselled, it recalls the rapier-like moustache Alain Delon wore as Proust’s Baron Charlus in Swann in Love. It is surprising to learn that this Mephistophelean marvel is shaped not by some perfumer’s concoction but by Clubman, a cheap American brand. “I get sent so many free moustache waxes, and I say thank you but I will never every try another product,” Kane says. “Clubman gives me what I want in a moustache — very defined, very slim, pointed. And it washes… Keep Reading

John Le Mesurier

John Le Mesurier

Steve Pittard: As a boy, John Elton Le Mesurier Halliley received coaching from former Essex pro Walter Meade, who was “only at his best when intoxicated, which happened to be most of the time.” At Grenham House prep school during one innings, John was perched at the non-striker’s end when a sitter came his way. Acting the giddy goat he dropped his bat to catch out his partner! The umpire/master was absolutely livid and sent him off. The scorebook recorded ‘retired hurt’; apt in a way as John later received a damn good thrashing. Le Mesurier’s lax attitude to military… Keep Reading

Benedict Cumberbatch Tweed

Tweed, Glorious Tweed

Liam Jeffries: For some, tweed is viewed as strictly the reserve of the fusty, stuffy gent casually infringing the no-smoking policy in the back of the library. Good; this is the way we want it to stay, with high street merchants “collaborating” with well known estates such as the Harris Co., the fabric is losing some of its lustre, as any barbigerous young bounder can now sport the material. The practice is still adopted in cities throughout the world during the Tweed Run, though at any given one of these events there are bound to be a few unacceptable versions… Keep Reading

Arthur Cravan

Hit the Rogue Jack

Nathaniel Adams: On April 23, 1916, five thousand spectators witnessed a bizarre match-up in Barcelona’s Monumental Bullring: the Anglo-French poet Arthur Cravan, nephew of Oscar Wilde, squared off against former World Heavyweight Champion Jack Johnson. They were two eccentrics, dandies of different stripes, prepared to pummel each other. Cravan had set up and advertised the fight himself, hoping to raise enough cash to get him to America before the French government caught up with him and stuck him in a trench with a rifle and a helmet. For Johnson, unable to return to America for fear of being arrested, this… Keep Reading


Dandies in Decay

Sebastian Horsley: Dandyism is a form of self-worship which dispenses with the need to find happiness from others – especially women. It is a condition rather than a profession. It is a defence against suffering and a celebration of life. It is not fashion; it is not wealth; it is not learning; it is not beauty. It is a shield and a sword and a crown – all pulled out of the dressing up box in the attic of the imagination. Wilde and Brummell are usually held up as the progenitors of dandyism but neither of these men was a… Keep Reading

Louise Brooks

Inventing the Girl

Sunday Swift:   In some ways, silent film star Louise Brooks has much in common with Jackie Kennedy Onassis (the subject of my previous Dandizette profile): each were highly intelligent and strong-willed women who became trapped in a world they longed to escape. Louise once said, “There is no other occupation in the world that so closely resembled enslavement as the career of a film star”. Where Jackie eventually became a prisoner to her own image, however, Louise seemed to feel imprisoned in her life no matter where she was. Born in Kansas in 1906 to parents who could most… Keep Reading

Elvis Presley

The Elegance of Elvis

Sandra Lawrence: Elvis Aaron Presley is one of the very, very few figures worthy of that ghastly, overused, underachieved word: Icon. Like the Byzantine images from which the word derives, his style is gaudy, mosaic-bright, shimmering, unmistakable. A golden face glowing with golden perspiration, golden medallions chinking against golden flesh, golden cape, swept in supplication to devoted disciples at a Vegas sellout like the halo of an Orthodox saint. But just as no-one in their right mind would start dressing like an 8th century Madonna and Child, Elvis’s fashion choices are best left to the man himself. The Elvis Problem… Keep Reading

Emma Peel

Emma Peel

Sunday Swift: She has many names: Cointrelle, Quaintrelle, Dandizette, Lioness, Peahen, Chapette, Dandyess, or, simply, the female Dandy. Whatever you call her, the female Dandy often receives less attention than her male counterpart, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t exist. In a previous issue, I wrote about one of the most iconic male Dandies, Patrick Macnee, and his immaculate Dandyism in The Avengers. In this issue, however, I wish to turn our attention to Steed’s partner Emma Peel’s impeccable fashion sense. Steed’s controlled, sharp, traditional Edwardian-inspired Dandyism seems, in many ways, strikingly contrary to his fluid and lighter mod female… Keep Reading

Sebastian Horsley

The Exhibitionist Punctured by Arrows

The most beautiful word in the English language is “Sebastian”. Sebastian Flyte, Sebastian Dangerfield, Sebastian Venable; the title is divine – all gleaming with crimson. A name should unbalance one.  Indeed, some names haunt us and suggest ways of being and even aspects of behaviour. When I was crucified and was asked repeatedly why I had done it I replied: “Because I am called Sebastian, not Donald.” In the hooligan world of art this was understood. Sebastian, as an icon is attractive – even if only to faggots. Mr Wilde took Sebastian as his Christian name for his alias when… Keep Reading

Hollywood Cricket

Caught Frankenstein Bowled Sherlock

Steve Pittard: English actors were de riguer in American movies during the 1930s. The ‘Hollywood Raj’ formed their own cricket team, which boasted the likes of Leslie Howard, David Niven and Cary Grant. Starlets in the wings provided further glamour. Olivia De Haviland served cake and cucumber sandwiches while Elizabeth Taylor sold scorecards. Hollywood Cricket Club was the brainchild of Sir Charles Aubrey Smith, a redoubtable craggy actor given to wearing baggy plus-fours – with Old Carthusian tassels at the knee – and loud checked socks. His stock-in-trade was archetypal Englishmen, often crusty colonels or benign authority figures. Whether reining… Keep Reading

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