An engineer, model, jeweller and a tailor walked into a bar somewhere in Portugal… No, this isn’t the beginning of a cheesy joke, rather, this is how the Portuguese Dandy movement was born. They can also count several store managers, a film director, DJ and a singer amongst the group.
We stumbled, quite literally, across this dedicated group of male dressers at the most recent Pitti Uomo Fair in Florence, and boy did they ruffle some sartorial feathers.
Pitti Uomo has always been the most stylish of coops for peacocks, but this year, the Portuguese dandies descended upon Florence, en masse, kicking ass and taking names. Perhaps it was the beards, bowler hats and shearling coats. Perhaps it was the elegant way they held themselves in their 3-piece suits whilst simultaneously puffing on a cigar. Maybe it was simply strength in numbers. No matter what it was, The Portuguese Dandies made their presence known, through their exquisite tailoring, impeccable grooming and attention to the smallest details in their outfits.
The 13 well-kempt members of the group formed a year ago, born out of a pursuit for elegance and all the finer things that life has to offer; from art to books, fashion and architecture. In essence, they epitomise modern dandyism, which is a growing phenomenon characterised by men who aren’t afraid to indulge their love of quality clothing and take ‘pride in one’s appearance’ to stratospheric levels.
Rui Martins, Ricardo Viegas, Bruno Tiago, Cláudio Sousa, Paulo Batista, Amilton Estrela, Marco da Cunha, Artur Santos, Farid Sadrudin, Telmo Galeano, Ricardo Lopes, Tiago Cortez and Vitor Varela are the 13 gallant beaus who comprise the Portuguese Dandies. Inspired by one of the most outspoken dandies of all time, Oscar Wilde, the group is passionate about reviving the aesthetic charm of traditional men’s tailoring whilst injecting some Iberian eclecticism and hipsterdom to boot – yes, that includes man-buns and beards.
The Portuguese Dandies regularly meet up together once a month in Lisbon, where most members reside, and although they have all individually attended fashion weeks such as Moda Lisboa and Portugal Fashion in the past, Pitti Uomo 89 was the first time they stepped onto the international fashion stage as a group.
It was a salient moment when the Portuguese Dandies sauntered through the hallowed gates of the Fortezza da Basso at the Pitti Uomo Fair. Not just because they nearly caused a paparazzi pile-up as photographers vied for the best group shot, but because the fashion press have long been heralding streetwear’s ascendance and the decline of formal dressing, and here was this flawlessly put-together crew, brazenly defying this conformity. As fresh-faced new kids on the block at the Pitti Fair, the Portuguese Dandies stylish rebellion against the streetstyle phenomenon was both heartening and inspiring.
More than simply a way of dressing, for the group, being a Portuguese Dandy is a lifestyle; a set of values and way of living in society. It means respect for your fellow human being and for oneself, chivalry, good manners, generosity and being a man of your word. Fundamentally, the Portuguese Dandies live their lives to a certain standard and uphold the ideals of what it means to be a true gentleman in every sense of the word. Their ethos is best surmised by a quote from the group’s spokesman, “it’s not the value of the suit that counts, it’s the value of the man who wears it.”
The Portuguese Dandies are a closed group for now, but there is a plan in the works to create a platform whereby anyone who fulfills the criteria of living, breathing and desiring dandyism can join.
We will wait with great anticipation till the next Pitti Uomo in June to see what the group will wear. One thing is for sure, we’re positive they’ll bring their A game!