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Deco DandyDesigning Masculinity in 1920s Paris$
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John Potvin

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526134790

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526134806

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Art deco, the ensemble and Einfühlung

Art deco, the ensemble and Einfühlung

(p.1) 1 Art deco, the ensemble and Einfühlung
Deco Dandy

John Potvin

Manchester University Press

The chapter identifies and establishes the deco dandy, that hybrid, ambivalent and ambiguous creature that only existed for a brief time in Paris following the war. The figure was also capitalised as a key character for the reconstruction of France’s alleged cultural supremacy. Already under duress, France’s exports, namely its luxury industries, came under threat from foreign sources. Menswear and satellite design fields were targeted, the chapter suggests, to alter the course of action, to expand the terrain of sorts, to compete in a field France was not yet well known for. The figure of the dandy was reoriented to lead the charge. The conjuncture of the style moderne and masculinity is explored by remaining sensitive to those gestures that hint at the contours of the deco dandy’s ever-evolving lifestyle modernism. Ambiguous and ambivalent in his position as both the subject and object of consumption, he was at once decorative and masculine, and displayed effeminate contours despite his athletic prowess. Endemic to the deco dandy’s allure and success are two key concepts: the ensemble and Einfühlung. Together, the force of these two concepts facilitated, empowered and reinforced the potentialities of the deco dandy’s lifestyle modernism.

Keywords:   empathy, art deco, modernism, queer theory, masculinity, gender, design history, dandy, ensemble, fashion

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