Drum roll please! Finally, FINALLY I’m posting my pics from the catwalk project. Ta-daaaaah!
My brief was to research a particular period of history and design a piece of catwalk jewellery.
I decided to take the 19th Century dandy aesthetic as my design inspiration. So, what is dandyism? The quote that always immediately springs to mind (even though it’s related to pornography) is “I can’t tell you what it is, but I know it when I see it…”. This is now quite possibly my quote of the year incidentally 😉
When it came to the style, what it really boils down to is tailoring, tailoring, tailoring and sharp accessorizing, but there was much more to being a dandy that just a natty sense of style.
Dandyism was actually a philosophy, the triumph of taste over the banality of convention, and at the end of Romanticism, the superiority of the man-made over the natural world.
One of the key associations with the dandy style was the dyed green carnation buttonhole. Worn by Oscar Wilde and his clique, the green flower became a symbol of gender ambiguity and homosexuality, but, when asked as to what it really symbolized, Wilde said “nothing whatever, but that is just what no one will guess”.
Dandyism was also strongly associated with decadence and debauchery, with modern-day characters like Sebastian Horsely perfectly capturing the essence of the modern-day dandy.
So dandyism was and is an attitude as well as a style. Which appealed to me a lot.
So, I decided to use these themes in my piece. The body piece is made from the collar and lapel of a velvet jacket which has been lined with thin copper sheet to make it rigid. The floral buttonhole itself is made from layers of copper and paper petals. Etched onto the copper petals is a quote from Baudelaire on the dandy aesthetic “beauty and conception of style is enough for me”. The cunning bit is that the buttonhole is detachable from the jacket and can sit as a free – standing piece in its own right.
I have to say that I was really pleased with the finished piece, modelled here by my very nice, long-suffering classmate. In theory, all the pieces made by my class are going to be exhibited at some point so I’ll keep you posted.