Fintan O’Toole

The New York Review of Books - - Contents - by Peter McNeil

Pretty Gen­tle­men: Mac­a­roni Men and the Eigh­teenth-Cen­tury Fash­ion World

Pretty Gen­tle­men: Mac­a­roni Men and the Eigh­teenth-Cen­tury Fash­ion World by Peter McNeil. Yale Uni­ver­sity Press, 255 pp., $45.00

When Yan­kee Doo­dle stuck a feather in his cap and called it mac­a­roni, he was not think­ing of pasta. And the au­thor of the ditty, prob­a­bly a British pro­fes­sional sol­dier mock­ing the New Eng­land mili­ti­a­men with whom he fought dur­ing the French and In­dian War in the late 1750s or early 1760s, was not in­dulging in mere ami­able rib­bing of the colo­nials. Mac­a­roni was an ex­trav­a­gant and self-con­scious fash­ion in male dis­play and an arena in which anx­i­eties about British mas­culin­ity were be­ing played out. Over the next decade, back home in Eng­land, the im­age of the mac­a­roni mili­tia of­fi­cer would be­come a sta­ple of the boom­ing mar­ket in satiric prints. As Matthew McCor­mack has pointed out in his book Em­body­ing the Mili­tia in Ge­or­gian Eng­land (2015):

Cast­ing mili­tia of­fi­cers in the mould of mac­a­ro­nis serves to in­sin­u­ate that the in­sti­tu­tion had fallen from its orig­i­nal “pa­triot” de­sign, as well as sug­gest­ing that its of­fi­cers were sar­to­ri­ally, cor­po­re­ally, and morally un­suited to the busi­ness of war. The “mil­i­tary mac­a­roni” struck home be­cause army of­fi­cers were vul­ner­a­ble to ac­cu­sa­tions of fop­pery, in an age when they were as­so­ci­ated with or­nate uni­forms, po­lite so­cia­bil­ity, and man­nered for­mal­ity. A critic of the mili­tia in 1785 protested that mili­ti­a­men are dis­tracted from their pur­pose by dress­ing them in “fancy caps and feath­ers, and other or­na­ments of pa­rade.”

The feather in Yan­kee Doo­dle’s cap is also a dis­tress sig­nal, point­ing to fears of na­tional de­gen­er­acy, cul­tural sub­ver­sion, and ef­fem­i­nacy. The im­ages in late-eigh­teenth-cen­tury prints of preen­ing men in tight-fit­ting mili­tia uni­forms with huge frilly cuffs, ridicu­lously high wigs, and dainty shoes are funny, but they also raise a ter­ri­fy­ing ques­tion: How can these Frenchi­fied fops be ex­pected to de­feat the French? The use of the term “mac­a­roni,” the sub­ject of Peter McNeil’s fas­ci­nat­ing, deeply eru­dite, and su­perbly il­lus­trated Pretty Gen­tle­men, reached its height be­tween 1760 and 1780, though the word re­mained in ev­ery­day use for the rest of the eigh­teenth cen­tury. It did in­deed orig­i­nate with the habit of eat­ing pasta, an out­landish af­fec­ta­tion picked up by priv­i­leged young men on their Grand Tours to Italy and one that de­lib­er­ately af­fronted the cher­ished self-im­age of the English as a na­tion of roast beef eaters. It came, how­ever, to re­fer to an outré im­ported style of male dress and com­port­ment.

The full-on mac­a­roni was a top-to-toe af­fair: a vir­tual bee­hive wig, heav­ily pow­dered and per­fumed; a long wig-bag and queue stretch­ing down the back; a com­plex­ion beau­ti­fied by makeup; a soli­taire (bow) with pinked edges wrapped round the throat; a cor­sage of del­i­cate flow­ers pinned to the lapel of a tight-fit­ting silk suit of some lurid hue—coral pink or pea green or deep orange or, in the painter Richard Cosway’s proud self-por­trait, blue­and-mauve bro­cade with sprays of tiny roses; an ex­quis­ite waist­coat with flo­ral pat­terns em­broi­dered with gold or sil­ver thread and se­quins; daz­zling but­tons; striped silk stock­ings tak­ing up where the out­ra­geously short knee breeches left off; and red-heeled shoes with huge di­a­mond-en­crusted buck­les. The es­sen­tial ac­ces­sories merely em­pha­sized the ar­ti­fi­cial­ity of the whole get-up: the small hat was car­ried in the hand be­cause it could not fit on top of the wig, and the highly dec­o­rated hanger sword whose top jut­ted out at waist height was more phal­lic than fright­en­ing.

To us, the most ex­treme as­pect of this kind of dis­play is the in-your-face ex­pres­sion of wealth in a so­ci­ety in which huge num­bers of peo­ple were chron­i­cally mal­nour­ished. McNeil points out that at a time when Thomas Gains­bor­ough was charg­ing 60 guineas for a full-length por­trait (about $10,000 in to­day’s money), Lord River­stone paid al­most half that for a sin­gle scar­let vel­vet suit made in Paris. But in eigh­teen­th­cen­tury English cul­ture, ques­tions of so­cial jus­tice were not prom­i­nent in crit­i­cism of style. As the fash­ion his­to­rian Aileen Ribeiro puts it in re­la­tion to the mac­a­ro­nis, “Vast ex­pen­di­ture was less the prob­lem than the cor­rect—un­der­stated—aes­thet­ics of dis­play.” Not just the aes­thet­ics, how­ever. The mac­a­ro­nis, only ever a small elite, oc­cu­pied a dis­pro­por­tion­ate space in the British pub­lic sphere be­cause they lit­er­ally em­bod­ied a pro­found dis­quiet about English man­li­ness.

Much of this anx­i­ety had to do with English un­cer­tain­ties about fash­ion it­self. On the one hand, sump­tu­ary leg­is­la­tion re­strict­ing lux­ury goods had long been aban­doned in Eng­land, and this could be seen as an ex­pres­sion of English lib­erty that con­trasted fa­vor­ably with au­to­cratic France. Ec­cen­tric­ity was cel­e­brated by the English them­selves as a pe­cu­liarly English trait, a marker of in­di­vid­ual free­dom, and there was no rea­son why this should not be ex­tended into the realms of dress. In­deed, some of the orig­i­nal mac­a­ro­nis could be seen as great ex­em­plars of the power of in­di­vid­u­al­ism in pol­i­tics and sci­en­tific en­deavor. Charles James Fox, the lead­ing rad­i­cal Whig par­lia­men­tar­ian, was de­picted as “the Orig­i­nal Mac­a­roni”—in his twen­ties he was to be seen “strut­ting up and down St. James’s street, in a suit of French em­broi­dery, a lit­tle silk hat, red-heeled shoes, and a bou­quet nearly big enough for a may­pole.” Like­wise the pioneer­ing botanist Sir Joseph Banks, a world trav­eler who ac­com­pa­nied Cap­tain James Cook on the voy­age of the En­deav­our, was de­picted by the print­mak­ers as “the Fly Catch­ing Mac­a­roni.” Nei­ther Fox, a no­to­ri­ous het­ero­sex­ual, nor Banks, an in­trepid ex­plorer, could rea­son­ably be seen as un­manly.

On the other hand, the term “slave to fash­ion,” which we still use, had highly po­lit­i­cal over­tones. The French, in the com­mon English view, were fol­low­ers of fash­ion be­cause they were fol­low­ers. The need to adopt the lat­est style, how­ever ab­surd, was ev­i­dence of the French ser­vil­ity that con­trasted so mis­er­ably with the English­man’s vig­or­ous in­de­pen­dence of mind. Alarm­ingly, there­fore, the ev­i­dence of English­men be­com­ing Frenchi­fied fol­low­ers of fash­ion even while Eng­land was in a state of semiper­ma­nent war with France pointed to­ward an ero­sion of English­ness it­self. The mac­a­ro­nis could be seen as a cul­tural fifth col­umn: to­day coral-col­ored coats, to­mor­row a Bastille in West­min­ster. A broad­side pub­lished in 1777 called for the ban­ish­ment of the “re­fine­ment” that had come from the Con­ti­nent to “taint the ENGLISH mind”:

Send back the Siren to her na­tive shore,

And make each BRI­TON great, as hereto­fore;

No longer slaves to FASH­ION let them be,

But like their fathers, gen­er­ous, bold and free . . .

McNeil might use­fully have pointed out that these fears were not new. Christo­pher Mar­lowe’s tragedy Ed­ward II, writ­ten al­most two cen­turies be­fore the mac­a­roni craze, shows the English state in­fected by the for­eign vices of lux­ury, os­ten­ta­tion, and sodomy, then un­der­stood more as Ital­ian than French. Here, too, showy for­eign clothes are the flash­point. Young Mor­timer’s rage at Ed­ward’s male lover, Piers Gave­ston, springs not just from sex­ual dis­tur­bance but from Gave­ston’s flam­boy­ant and ex­plic­itly un-English garb and—even worse—his un­for­giv­able sin of laugh­ing with the king at English­men’s lack of fash­ion sense:

I have not seene a dap­per jack so briske,

He weares a short Ital­ian hooded cloake,

Larded with pearle, and in his tuskan cap

A jewell of more value then the crowne.

Whiles other walke be­low, the king and he

From out a win­dow, laugh at such as we,

And floute our traine, and jest at our at­tire.

Much later—but still be­fore the term “mac­a­roni” was first used in 1757, in David Gar­rick’s play The Male Co­quette— we have (as McNeil does point out) Whif­fle, the sea cap­tain in To­bias Smol­lett’s very pop­u­lar pi­caresque novel The Ad­ven­tures of Roderick Ran­dom (1748):

A white hat, gar­nished with a red feather, adorned his head, from whence his hair flowed upon his shoul­ders, in ringlets tied be­hind with a rib­bon. His coat, con­sist­ing of pink-coloured silk, lined with white, by the el­e­gance of the cut re­tired back­ward, as it were, to

dis­cover a white sat­tin [sic] waist­coat em­broi­dered with gold, un­but­toned at the up­per part to dis­play a broch set with gar­nets, that glit­tered in the breast of his shirt . . . the knees of his crim­son vel­vet breeches scarce de­scended so low as to meet his silk stock­ings, which rose with­out spot or wrin­kle on his mea­gre legs, from shoes of blue Mero­quin stud­ded with di­a­mond buck­les that flamed forth ri­vals to the sun!

Whif­fle’s en­tourage leaves “the air... im­preg­nated with per­fumes” as it passes and he him­self is so of­fended by the smell of a mariner that he has to be re­vived by his French valet de cham­bre, Ver­gette. Whif­fle is also ho­mo­sex­ual—he ar­ranges for a young sur­geon called Sim­per, whose face is coated in makeup, to sleep in the cabin next to his, giv­ing rise to scan­dalous ru­mors among the crew, who “ac­cuse him of main­tain­ing a cor­re­spon­dence with the sur­geon not fit to be named.”

In all but his hair, which seems to be nat­u­ral rather than a wig, Whif­fle is a mac­a­roni avant la let­tre. Does it make sense, then, to see the rise of the mac­a­ro­nis as a dis­tinc­tive cul­tural mo­ment? One way to sug­gest that it does is to con­sider poor Bob Acres in per­haps the most de­light­ful of eigh­teenth-cen­tury plays, Richard Brins­ley Sheri­dan’s The Ri­vals, first pro­duced in 1775 when the mac­a­ro­nis were strut­ting their stuff. Acres is a coun­try squire who has come from Devon to the fash­ion­able re­sort of Bath in a doomed at­tempt to woo the lovely Ly­dia Lan­guish. We see him first in his sen­si­ble coun­try gear, but he de­clares his in­ten­tions to trans­form his ap­pear­ance (in­ter­est­ingly us­ing mil­i­tary metaphors whose comic in­apt­ness plays on fears of the emas­cu­la­tion of the mili­tia):

I’ll make my old clothes know who’s mas­ter. I shall straight­way cashier the hunt­ing-frock and ren­der my leather breeches in­ca­pable. My hair has been in train­ing some time . . . and tho’ff the side-curls are a lit­tle restive, my hind-part takes to it very kindly.

When we next see Acres he is in­deed done up in the mac­a­roni style. And two of Sheri­dan’s best jokes, both now rather ob­scure, il­lu­mi­nate the par­tic­u­lar anx­i­eties of the mac­a­roni mo­ment. First, there is the idea of the English male body be­ing pos­sessed by French af­fec­ta­tions. Bob, in his new gear, is learn­ing to dance in the French man­ner, a tor­ment he ex­pe­ri­ences as a kind of in­va­sion by alien move­ments and lan­guage:

Mine are true-born English legs; they don’t un­der­stand their cursed French lingo! Their pas this, and pas that, and pas t’other! Damn me, my feet don’t like to be called paws! No, ’tis cer­tain I have the most anti­gal­li­can toes!

Though now lost on us, “anti­gal­li­can” is the great joke here. The Laud­able As­so­ci­a­tion of Anti-Gal­li­cans had been founded by a group of Lon­don trades­men in 1745 to re­sist the im­port of French cloth­ing and man­ners. As Michael Cord­ner has put it, “it re­garded the adop­tion of French fash­ions and styles as a form of cul­tural trea­son and a prof­li­gate pol­lu­tion of na­tional iden­tity.” The anti­gal­li­cans suc­ceeded in hav­ing the im­por­ta­tion of French silks to Eng­land banned in 1766. Yet— and this is the cause for alarm—the dic­tates of fash­ion forced the English beau monde to defy the ban. Fash­ion­abil­ity over­rides even pa­tri­o­tism. The French body-snatch­ers have a firm grip on Bob Acres. He has no free will: his anti­gal­li­can toes might wish to lead him in one di­rec­tion but his dainty new shoes point in quite an­other. The other joke comes from David, Acres’s valet. See­ing his mas­ter in his gaudy ar­ray, he gushes com­pli­ments that are in­no­cently back­handed:

You are quite an­other crea­ture, be­lieve me, Mas­ter, by the mass! An we’ve any luck, we shall see the Devon mon­key­rony in all the print-shops in Bath!

This ex­poses two raw nerves: the fear that dif­fer­ences of gen­der are be­ing eroded by the ap­pear­ance of a new kind of non­male, non­fe­male crea­ture; and the strange way in which the mac­a­roni phe­nom­e­non melds ap­pear­ance and re­al­ity, self and per­for­mance. Sheri­dan’s coinage “mon­key­rony” is more than just an­other mal­a­prop­ism in a play that fea­tures Mrs. Malaprop her­self. It con­flates “mac­a­roni” with “mon­key” and evokes a his­tory of rep­re­sent­ing the flam­boy­ant ho­mo­sex­ual as a crea­ture who, be­ing nei­ther prop­erly male nor fe­male, must be seen as sub­hu­man. To re­turn to Whif­fle in Roderick Ran­dom, the out­raged Welsh mariner Mor­gan curses him in pre­cisely these terms:

I will pro­claim it be­fore the world, that he is dis­guised, and trans­fig­ured, and trans­mo­gri­fied, with af­fec­ta­tion and whim­seys; and that he is more like a pa­poon [i.e., baboon] than of the hu­man race.

McNeil, though he ne­glects Bob Acres, shows that there is a pat­tern of at­tack­ing the mac­a­ro­nis as apes or mon­keys. In the words of one anony­mous broad­side: “I should sus­pect they had some re­la­tion to an Ape: For cer­tainly they are of a mixt species, and often the beast pre­dom­i­nates...” The mix­ture is a dou­ble one, French with English (the French were also often called ba­boons) and male with fe­male. The un­for­tu­nate Acres, who is af­ter all merely try­ing to court a woman, finds him­self, in his valet’s in­ad­ver­tent for­mu­la­tion, in­no­cently ven­tur­ing into mine­fields of im­pure na­tion­al­ity and unholy sex­u­al­ity.

At is­sue is the English male body. While Acres’s now dis­carded hunt­ing coat and leather breeches would have hid­den his body, his mac­a­roni dress re­veals it. The short silk coat ex­posed in par­tic­u­lar the back­side, seat of sodomit­i­cal de­sires. The “jut­ting bum” of the mac­a­roni was a spe­cific ob­ject of scorn. McNeil re­pro­duces a typ­i­cal print en­ti­tled The Cold Rump or Taste Alam­ode in which a mac­a­roni holds his arse to a fire. It both mocks the im­prac­ti­cal­ity of his short coat in the cold English cli­mate and hints at his at­trac­tion to for­bid­den plea­sures for which he will burn in hell. This anx­i­ety was re­lated not just to ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity but to the broader idea of men us­ing their bod­ies as sex­ual bait in the way that women did. In his Moral Lec­tures on Heads, Ed­ward Beetham, while re­fer­ring to a fig­ure called (like Smol­lett’s) Cap­tain Whif­fle, claimed of the mac­a­ro­nis that “in order to avoid the ridicu­lous ap­pel­la­tion of no­body, they are de­ter­mined to be all-body, and there­fore they have no skirts to their coat . . . . ”

What is spe­cific to this pe­riod, more­over, is that the anx­i­ety about men be­ing fem­i­nized by their cloth­ing went both ways. Women were also be­ing mas­culin­ized, and again the mili­tia played a large part in the imag­in­ing of this process. It be­came fash­ion­able for women to at­tend mili­tia dis­plays in cos­tumes made in the col­ors of their hus­band’s reg­i­ments. Fox’s great sup­porter, the Duchess of Devon­shire, was de­picted in the satiric prints in mil­i­tary-style rid­ing habits. As one ob­server noted: “Fe­male del­i­cacy is changed into mas­cu­line courage, and as much of the [mil­i­tary] garb as­sumed as at first view al­most leaves the dif­fer­ence of sex in­dis­tin­guish­able.”

While the mac­a­ro­nis were dump­ing their great­coats, so­ci­ety ladies were adopt­ing them—a fash­ion that, iron­i­cally, spread from Eng­land to France. It was not en­tirely wel­comed in ei­ther coun­try. As Aileen Ribeiro writes in her mag­is­te­rial The Art of Dress: Fash­ion in Eng­land and France, 1750 to 1820:

The great­coat [in France] could be con­verted into the chic redin­gote, but the French were not ac­cus­tomed to see women wear­ing rid­ing habits as a walk­ing cos­tume, which was the case in Eng­land—it was too ob­vi­ously a sportif, mas­cu­line gar­ment. Even in Eng­land there were grum­bles that great coat dresses and rid­ing habits, along with the new low-heeled shoes, gave women more free­dom of move­ment to in­dulge in swag­ger­ing mas­cu­line de­port­ment.

If Bob Acres is led into this dan­ger­ous ter­ri­tory of gen­der con­fu­sion, his ser­vant’s en­thu­si­asm also points us to­ward the other dis­tinc­tive as­pect of the mac­a­roni mo­ment—the self-re­flex­ive qual­ity that, two hun­dred years later, would have been called “post­mod­ern.” When David tells his mas­ter that, with luck, “we shall see the Devon mon­key­rony in all the print-shops in Bath!,” he means that Acres may get to see him­self car­i­ca­tured by a print­maker as “the Devon Mac­a­roni” in the way that Fox was as “the Orig­i­nal Mac­a­roni” or Banks as “the Fly Catch­ing Mac­a­roni.” This ought to be a hor­ror— why would Acres want to have his im­age dis­played for pub­lic ridicule?—but David pre­sents it as a most de­sir­able prospect. This is, more­over, an ac­cu­rate ex­pres­sion of the pe­cu­liar vis­ual ecosys­tem in which mac­a­ro­nis im­i­tate car­i­ca­tures of mac­a­ro­nis and au­di­ences in the the­ater and on the streets rec­og­nize mac­a­ro­nis be­cause they have seen (and per­haps pur­chased) the prints. Mac­a­roni does not just im­ply con­spic­u­ous con­sump­tion— it is it­self con­spic­u­ously con­sumed, not least by its own devo­tees.

The mac­a­ro­nis were new, less be­cause of who they were than be­cause of how they were rep­re­sented. As Ribeiro com­ments, “The sar­to­rial ab­sur­di­ties of the mac­a­ro­nis with their tow­er­ing wigs and tiny hats might only have been a foot­note in the his­tory of dress had their styles not co­in­cided with the first gen­er­a­tion of English car­i­ca­tur­ists.” But in­stead of laugh­ing the mac­a­ro­nis out of their orange silk breeches, the vis­ual satires and the­atri­cal bur­lesques seem to have con­firmed them in their ways. A 1772 print re­pro­duced in McNeil’s book shows ridicu­lously dressed men ex­am­in­ing im­ages in the win­dow of a printshop, ev­ery one of them a car­i­ca­ture of a mac­a­roni pre­vi­ously pub­lished by the same print sellers. As McNeil points out, with an acu­ity typ­i­cal of his read­ing of these im­ages, one of the men is ac­tu­ally look­ing at a car­toon of him­self dis­played in the shop win­dow.

When we have prints of prints and “real” mac­a­ro­nis look­ing at par­o­dic im­ages of them­selves, where is the self?

Satire is de­feated, its claim to moral su­pe­ri­or­ity re­placed by a dizzy­ing sym­bio­sis: the car­i­ca­tur­ist needs the mac­a­roni to ex­ist and the mac­a­roni’s ex­is­tence is val­i­dated by the car­i­ca­ture. The style is all per­for­mance—McNeil notes that at the pub­lic mas­quer­ade balls, where oth­ers wore fancy dress, the mac­a­roni men “went as ‘them­selves.’” They had al­ready ren­dered those selves ex­u­ber­antly ex­otic and shame­lessly ar­ti­fi­cial. They might have said, with Henry James’s Madame Merle in The Por­trait of a Lady, “I know a large part of my­self is in the clothes I choose to wear.” For Bob Acres to be mocked as “the Devon Mac­a­roni” would be a tri­umph of trans­for­ma­tion, proof that his old plod­ding English self had been dis­carded along with his hunt­ing coat and leather breeches. In­side this com­edy lurks a dark pos­si­bil­ity: if there is no real self, there is no fixed char­ac­ter and thus no English na­tional char­ac­ter to be de­fended from the French.

The won­der is not that the mac­a­roni mode did not last but that it en­dured for as long as it did. There were so many rea­sons to hate it. Or­di­nary English peo­ple de­spised the mac­a­ro­nis for their ap­par­ent French­ness and ag­gres­sive ex­trav­a­gance. (The namby-pamby Frenchi­fied man be­ing beaten by a good stout English fish­wife is a fa­vorite im­age.) Their af­fec­ta­tion was at odds with the grow­ing cult of the nat­u­ral pro­moted by Rousseau. Their dis­rup­tions of gen­der and na­tional iden­tity were a dan­ger in time of war.

The Amer­i­can and French rev­o­lu­tions pro­moted demo­cratic ideals whose par­ti­sans were known as “Crops” or “Crop­pies” be­cause they wore their hair cut short in­stead of tucked un­der the elab­o­rate wigs of the mac­a­roni. Sans-cu­lottes would, for a time, edge out the wear­ers of silk knee breeches. Even while Bob Acres is try­ing to keep up with the fash­ion, the pro­logue of the same play, The Ri­vals, has two coach­men dis­cussing the new vogue for nat­u­ral hair: “Od’s life, when I heard how the doc­tors and lawyers had took to their own hair, I thought how ’twould go next.” By the 1780s, the “Orig­i­nal Mac­a­roni,” Charles James Fox, had turned away from fab­u­lous os­ten­ta­tion of dress and adopted an equally os­ten­ta­tious sloven­li­ness that marked him, in the eyes of his rad­i­cal ad­mir­ers, as the nat­u­ral man of the fu­ture.

Writ­ing in 1818, Wil­liam Ha­zlitt de­clared in his es­say “On Fash­ion”: “The ideas of nat­u­ral equal­ity and the Manch­ester steam-en­gines to­gether have, like a dou­ble bat­tery, lev­elled the high tow­ers and ar­ti­fi­cial struc­tures of fash­ion in dress.” The high tow­ers of the mac­a­roni wigs had in­deed fallen by then, and the more sober styles of the ris­ing mer­chant classes would even­tu­ally be adopted even by roy­alty. Gen­der dif­fer­ences in dress would be fur­ther ex­ag­ger­ated and more suc­cess­fully en­forced. Pro­vok­ing the lower or­ders by sashay­ing in brazenly ex­pen­sive out­fits seemed less like a good idea.

Yet the mac­a­roni style did not re­ally die. It con­tained, for all its absurdity, a dream of life as car­ni­val, of the self as in­ven­tion, of gen­der and na­tion as prisons to be es­caped from. And it, too, was even­tu­ally de­moc­ra­tized in Eng­land in the pro­fuse col­ors and wild styles of Carn­aby Street. For the eigh­teen­th­cen­tury print­mak­ers’ car­i­ca­tures we might sub­sti­tute the Kinks’s 1966 hit song “Ded­i­cated Fol­lower of Fash­ion” with­out los­ing much of the same satiric in­tent:

He thinks he is a flower to be looked at

And when he pulls his frilly ny­lon panties right up tight

He feels a ded­i­cated fol­lower of fash­ion.

Fash­ion shrugged off such scorn in the 1960s as it did in the 1760s. Then as now it was wis­est to crit­i­cize the dic­tates of fash­ion loudly while fol­low­ing them dis­creetly. If and when fash­ion so de­cides, we will see mac­a­roni men again, not just on the streets but in par­lia­ments and board­rooms.

Mez­zotint by Richard Earl­dom af­ter a draw­ing by Robert Dighton, 1772

Hand-col­ored mez­zotint pub­lished by Car­ring­ton Bowles, Map & Printseller, 1772

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