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Liszt, Mayakovsky, Macklovitch: Case Studies of a Nineteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-first Century Artist-Dandy

Fashion, Costume, and Visual Cultures (FCVC) International Conference

University of Lille, Roubaix, France, July 9-11, 2019

The world-renowned composer and pianist Franz Liszt exhibited many of the traits that authors such as Baudelaire, Blazac, and Jules Barbey D’Aurevilly identified in their essays on dandyism. Liszt’s flair for fashion certainly revealed him to be sartorially-concerned. However, it was his personal style and the cult-like “Lisztomania” that he inspired, that truly qualified him as an artist-dandy of the nineteenth century. In the early twentieth century, the Futurist writer and Revolutionary-era artist Vladimir Mayakovsky was a fierce proponent of socialism, creating agitational propaganda with the hope of inciting Marxist action. Ironically, he was also very careful with his appearance, earning him a reputation for being a globetrotting dandy. Mayakovsky rendered his infatuation with sartorial matters not just in his fashionable physical appearance, but in his writing as well. In this early twenty-first century era, David Macklovitch, also known as Dave 1, is the is the artist-dandy who makes up one half of the electro-funk duo Chromeo. His attention to sartorial detail compelled him to amass a large collection of motorcycle jackets, which have become part of the self-proclaimed ‘uniform’ that perfectly complements what fashion writer Greg E. Foley would classify as his "cool” personality. Through these case studies, this paper highlights the similar dandyesque traits amongst these three male artists, and consequently, the elements of dandyism that have transcended time.

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