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The Allure Of Men [Hardcover]

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Item description for The Allure Of Men by Francois Baudot...

Masculine elegance, so flamboyant and colorful up until the end of the 18th century, became almost non-existant in the 19th century. From the frock coats of Gainsborough's portraits to the city workers' two-piece suits, the structure of men's clothes evolved at a slow pace. But the language of this uniformity has subtly varied in its details, in the cut, proportion or materials of a piece of clothing. Though individually these different elements are almost imperceptible, each is resolutely identifiable, and each makes a vital contribution to the even more intangible notion of style. This book juxtaposes paintings and photographs of movie stars, politicians, artists, or lesser-known figures dating over almost two centuries, whose very different silhouettes, when placed along-side one another, encapsulate a certain idea of modern elegance and its concern with style.

Outline Review
In scholarly words and stunning, mostly black-and-white photographs, stylemeister Franois Baudot uses the coffee-table book format to pose an important fashion question: How in the world did the vain modern male give up colorful clothing? As he puts it, "How is it that those 17th century birds of paradise ... turned themselves into jet-black crows?" Baudot says it was the Sun King's fault. Louis XIV, mad for frills and flounces, made everybody who was anybody in France circa 1650 wear billowing shirts with lacy sleeves, plumed hats, polychrome silk stockings, "breeches so voluminous that they made walking a problem," high-heeled shoes, "their bows shaped like a windmill's sails," garters, ribbons, makeup, rings, and miserably hot, outrageously expensive wigs. Louis made fashion "lose all contact with reality."

What could possibly come next? Revolution! "The Louis XIV effect was not to be reproduced.... Thenceforth, in his dress, modern man could now only proceed by way of successively and irreversibly discarding things."

This sounds like a lot of French philosophical jive, but the photos Baudot adduces of fashion-plate men--movie stars, politicos, artists, and anonymous guys--do bear him out. Compare, say, the intricately embroidered getup of the Nawab of Bahawalpur in India, or T. Philips's renowned painting of that mad dandy, Lord Byron, with the book's main procession of men in customary suits of solemn black. England's Prince Philip, looking imperially slim in 1950s London, has much the same stylistic allure as James Joyce posed in his most famous picture in Paris in the 1920s. Mao and de Gaulle evoke similar auras of scary power precisely by renouncing outward sumptuousness for authoritative sartorial abstemiousness. Gary Cooper and Jimmy Stewart, Errol Flynn, Fred Astaire, JFK and Bobby, Prince William at Eton, even fatally flamboyant Jean-Michel Basquiat in the full flower of fame--these men resemble so many distinguished penguins. Even the naked men in the book--Sudanese Nuba tribesmen circa 1949 and Yves Saint Laurent launching his "Y pour homme" perfume in 1971--can be seen in terms of the male expression of power by emphatic understatement in dress.

Ultimately, it's tough to sum up Baudot's thesis. But the man sure knows how to pick cool photographs. --Tim Appelo

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Item Specifications...

Pages   108
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 10.25" Height: 13.5"
Weight:   3.15 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 15, 2000
Publisher   Assouline
ISBN  2843232155  
ISBN13  9782843232152  

Availability  0 units.

More About Francois Baudot

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Jean Demachy has been the creator and publisher of French Elle Decor for 10 years.

Francois Baudot has written many books on fashion and style and is the French Elle Decor journalist specializing in style.

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Product Categories

1Books > Bargain Books > Arts & Music > Art
2Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Fashion > General
3Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Fashion > History
4Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Graphic Design > Commercial > Fashion Design
5Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Graphic Design > Design > Textile & Costume
6Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Collections, Catalogues & Exhibitions
7Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Fashion Photography
8Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > General
9Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Photo Essays
10Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Portraits

Reviews - What do customers think about The Allure Of Men?

A Fascinating Survey of Man as Peacock: The Question of Style  Jan 4, 2006
There are few books on men's fashion that compare to this extraordinary survey by François Baudot. It is at once informative, scholarly, hilarious, and visually satisfying as Baudot plucks images from history and the present in his approach to defining male Style!

From paintings of the romantic period when color and excess created the Peacock Male to the down dressing style of elimination of all filigree to the bare essentials, this beautifully illustrated book uses images of famous men in paintings then photography, after the camera stepped to the forefront, in documenting fashion. The book is full of men in dark suits - from movie stars to royalty to students to common man. Images include two fine photos of the young Marlon Brando as he defined a style all his own, countless images of 'dressed to the nines' businessmen, politicians, and other dignitaries. The final image is of Prince William at Eton, looking as royal as they come!

But the true joy of this photography portfolio is the witty yet erudite writing of Baudot. This is a dissertation on male vanity that serves equally well as a history book. Recommended. Grady Harp, January 06

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