Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Female Dandy

Marlene Dietrich
The Female Dandy

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by Sasha Soren
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The ability to make a pair of suit jacket and a pair of trousers look the epitome of chic isn’t exclusive to male dandies.

Historically speaking, there’ve been female dandies as well, although admittedly, there are far fewer of them. Female dandies are usually referred to as quaintrelles; in the 19th century, they were called dandizettes.

Famous women with the necessary je ne sais quoi and remarkable style that would mark a quaintrelle: Designer Coco Chanel, Art Deco artist Tamara de Lempicka, 20th century heiress and eccentric Luisa Casati, and, possibly, 19th century novelist George Sand.

But what a long and complicated word, when we could simply call them female dandies.

Or just dandies.

And one of the most obvious and enduring examples of the type is actress Marlene Dietrich, who managed to look more sleek and dashing in a pair of pants than most male Hollywood actors in her onscreen heyday (1920s-1940s), and even well into her later years.

Like the aging dandy Maurice Chevalier portrayed in Gigi, Dietrich had that certain eternally youthful esprit of the true dandy.

Yes, there are many more dandy fellows to talk about -- the 1890s, in particular, seemed to produce a bumper crop of dandies -- but hopefully this brief discussion about some of the more famous dandies in history is enough to sate your appetite for all things dandy.

For the moment, of course, until a new diversion becomes utterly irresistible.

Adieu, dear reader, and à tout à l'heure.

Tomorrow is sure to be lovely…


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by Sasha Soren
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