The term 'macaroni' was once familiar as 'punk' or 'hipster' are today. For thirty years in the late eighteenth century, macaroni was a highly topical word, yielding a complex set of social, sexual and cultural associations.
In this beautifully illustrated book devoted to notable eighteenth-century British male fashion, the award-winning author and fashion historian Peter McNeil brings together dress, biography and historical events with the broader visual and material culture of the period.
Pretty Gentlemen is grounded in surviving dress, archival documents and art spanning hierarchies and genres, from scurrilous caricature to respectful portraits. Celebrities hailed and mocked as macaroni included the politician Charles James Fox, the painter Richard Cosway, the freed slave Julius Soubise and the criminal parson Reverend Dodd. The style also rapidly spread to neighbouring countries in cross-cultural exchange, while Horace Walpole, George III and Queen Charlotte were active critics and observers of these foppish men.