Beau Brummell: The Ultimate Man of Style

Ian Kelly, Author
Ian Kelly, Author . Free Press $26 (393p) ISBN 978-0-7432-7089-2
Reviewed on: 03/27/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
Paperback - 578 pages - 978-0-340-83699-6
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-1-4165-8458-2
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-4165-3198-2
Hardcover - 978-1-84032-943-8
Hardcover - 978-1-84032-944-5
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Two centuries after his heyday as Regency London's premier peacock and arbiter of manners, George Bryan Brummell has a name that's still linked with those of Lord Byron and the Prince of Wales (later George IV). A frequent player in modern Regency romances, Brummell (1778–1840) is credited with originating modern menswear: the trouser suit with showy neckwear, in his case, a cravat. His rise to celebrity was rapid: while he was in his teens, his parents died, leaving him with a considerable inheritance, and he fell in with the Prince Regent's fashionable set, quickly becoming a leader—one amusing chapter details how the dandies of the day would gather at his house simply to watch him dress. Brummell's charm was legendary, but it failed him, disastrously, when, piqued by the prince, Beau quipped to someone else, "Who's your fat friend?" His fall was precipitous: dropped by the Prince of Wales, overwhelmed by debt and suffering from syphilis, he fled to France, never to return. Kelly (Cooking for Kings ), who will star in the off-Broadway play The Beau this spring, has a vivacious way of letting specific details (menus, clothes) define the high life of an era, and his book is entirely appropriate to our celebrity-obsessed age. Photos. (May)

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