Today, Jussi Häkkinen, Finnish menswear designer and a made-to-measure expert, reviews the sequel book by Rose Callahan and Nathaniel Adams, entitled We Are Dandy.
Like the first book, I Am Dandy (which can be spotted in tailoring and menswear shops all around the world), the sequel describes and showcases men who embrace a highly individual way of dressing.
We Are Dandy – The Elegant Gentleman Around the World, the latest book by Rose Callahan and Nathaniel ”Natty” Adams, returns to the thematic world of their previously published I Am Dandy.
Going further than just presenting classically dressed gentlemen, We Are Dandy explores dandyism to its full spectrum, from impeccably suited traditional gentlemen to truly eccentric, interesting individuals with a stylistic sense that one can only admire, never copy. Thus, when offered the possibility to review the book, I took the opportunity gladly, knowing I'd be diving into levels of menswear seldom seen or read about.
Rose Callahan’s eye for portrait photography is remarkable. Despite the importance of clothes - We Are Dandy is a book about style, after all - and even if the photos won't disappoint, the book also ventures into the exploration of the characters themselves. Having the pleasure of being familiar with some of her subjects, I can only admire her way of displaying personalities through the camera lens, as well as her eye for capturing details of the dress--an approach that shows bravery and confidence and makes the book indefinitely more intimate.
What is seen in Ms. Callahan’s photography is complemented by Nathaniel Adams' beautifully flowing text. His writing gives a lively background for the personalities and invites the reader to spend a while with each individual. In this way, the reader is introduced to the subject far better than a rote description of personal clothing style would do, giving the book its unique character. Adams' writing is spiced with sharp anecdotes and notions, making the reader feel as if he has been conversing with the featured gentleman in-person.
However virtuous the photography and text are, the subjects themselves are what makes the book. In We Are Dandy, the photographed individuals take the reader on an exhilarating journey around the world of style and individual expression.
Although 'classic style' is the general foundation for the depicted gentlemen’s sartorial choices, their creativity and self-expression have taken the highest hand--revealing unique and sophisticated modes rarely seen, and I must issue a warning...are impossible to recreate successfully by anyone else.
We Are Dandy goes to great lengths to pay tribute to and spotlight diverse cultural backgrounds. From the mid / southern African dandy movement to the unique, serene and full-blown radical Japanese approach, this book challenges one to look more carefully into his own culture and its aesthetic conventions for sartorial inspiration.
Aside from its place as an important book depicting an exclusive way of life, We Are Dandy is also an ideal coffee table book. It can be leafed through almost absent-mindedly, while enjoying the pure beauty of its photos. On the other hand, it also can be studied deeply as a serious work and interpretation of the modern dandy lifestyle in its unique presentation around the world--acting as a catalyst for sartorial discussion.
These pages present a vivid display of the self-expression of people who live intriguing lives, and who are each connected in cultivating a heightened state of being--with each subject building his own personal sartorial cathedral upon a foundation of classic menswear style. We are Dandy may convince you that peacocking and dandyism really can appear anywhere in the world, even in real life...and isn't limited to fashion fairs and tradeshows for the pleasure of media and fashion photographers.
Written by Jussi Häkkinen (Instagram) for Parisian Gentleman
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We Are Dandy – The Elegant Gentleman Around the World by Rose Callahan and Nathaniel Adams.
Gestalten. ISBN: 978-3-89955-667-4