“Dream Worlds” Part I of II by Rosalind H. Williams. Fashion History and Culture . The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899) by Thorstein Veblen Founded the t heory of “conspicuous consumption”
Fashion History and Culture
“Elitist consumers considered themselves a new type of aristocracy, one not of birth but of spirit,” 110.
The Dandy, Beau Brummell, was an Elitist consumers who accrued power through
But let’s think about the Dandy as trend-setter and tastemaker in 1800’s London. He was written about widely and had an audience who were willing to be subjected to his dictates because following his lead at least differentiated them, his followers, from the “vulgar” masses.
The dandy displayed social leadership at a time when the traditional political and economic sources of aristocratic authority (the fall of the Church’s importance during the middle ages and then more recently the French Revolution ended the legitimacy of hereditary rule) were waning.
In the next half of the chapter, we’ll see a complex and tragic hero, named des Esseintes, in the French novel A Rebours(“Against the Grain,” 1884) attempt to salvage the elitist ideals of the Dandy in an age of mass consumption.