In 1764 Horace Walpole described the members of London’s “Maccaroni Club” as “travelled young men who wear long curls and spying-glasses.” While their hair and accessories already served to distinguish this emerging subculture, ardent adherents also adopted other elements of dress that reflected their having been on the Grand Tour. This study aims to investigate the Macaroni’s original appearance and explore their American counterpart by searching for non-satirical evidence. From the cut and fit of their clothes to their use of colors, decorative schemes and materials, these discerning individuals carefully composed their sartorial selves to convey their elevated status and sophistication. Their dress also paralleled European Continental tastes but their studied demeanor were soon deemed extravagant. As the Macaroni became imitated, caricatured and satirized, the origins and importance of this phenomenon became obscured. From group identity to personal self-expression, we will attempt to peel back the layers of meaning of Macaroni dress.
Join us for the Fashion Culture Network's biannual free public lecture where Dr. Anne Bissonnette will present on behalf of her collaborators, Michael McCarty and Mark Hutter, their research on late eighteenth-century men of fashion.
25 October 2016
Fine Arts Building, room 2020
University of Alberta