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Beau Brummell
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Beau Brummell

George Bryan Brummell (1778 - 1840), better known as Beau Brummell, was an arbiter of fashion in Regency England and a friend of the Prince Regent. He led the trend for men to wear understated, but beautifully cut clothes, adorned with elaborately tied neckwear. He claimed to take five hours to dress, and recommended that boots be polished with champagne. His style of dress came to be known as dandyism.

A falling out with the Prince of Wales led to Brummell's downfall; his famous remark "Alvanley, who's your fat friend?" (referring to the Prince - who had just cut him) probably didn't help. Brummell fled England in 1816 as the result of gambling debts. His friends arranged for him to become British consul at Caen in France, but unfortunately the post was abolished. He died penniless and insane in Caen in 1840.

Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly wrote an essay about him, On Dandyism and George Brummell.