Felix Magazine is profiling some of the figures who contribute to London’s thriving cultural scene. From the most vibrant Drag Kings and Queens to the darkest Goths and Metalheads and retro nostalgics we want to hear from you. Here we feature Darcy Sullivan, a dandy of fascinating insight.
This is not about ranking and one-upmanship (democracy hasn’t been the best policy lately…) This is about how free you feel to define yourself in London. What is your story and how has London helped shape it?
Darcy doesn’t follow the conventions of the phenomenal vintage nostalgia trend. His blend of Victorian gothic, sharp tailoring and a substantial hat collection match his passions for wide literary genres from Steampunk to his participation in the Oscar Wilde Society.
Describe your current style as you see it.
Dandy in the Underground. I have a kind of Edwardian Glam aesthetic — sharp British tailoring, homburgs, scarves, two-tone shoes, big pointy moustache. Picture Mephistopheles on a Tinder date.
Where do you come from? Answer as you believe best.
I come from a place of respect, and also from California — LA and San Francisco, specifically. I used to say I was from the U.S., but that’s way too broad — it’s like saying you come from the Western Hemisphere.
When, how and where did your current style begin to emerge?
When I turned 40 I got hooked on cravats. Cravats are colorful and silky, and they challenge people, because they evoke something but it’s not clear what. In America, the only associations people have with cravats are wealthy simpletons like Thurston Howell III and Bond villains. I built a whole new look around cravats.
How has London changed you and your style?
London has made me much more sociable, because I have met so many creative, stylish people, of all ages and at least three genders.
It has completely enriched my wardrobe while un-riching my bank account. London is the world capital of male sartorial splendour. I dress way better now because English clothes are so much cooler.
I also grew my moustache when we moved to the UK 6 years ago. I did it on a whim, and then it sort of took over.
Many criticise London as expensive, crowded and polluted. What is your view?
Who comes to a city to save money, avoid people and breathe clean air? That sounds to me like country-folk talking. London is one of the world’s super-fun cities. Revel in it.
Where would you recommend for going out?
I’m a shopper and collector more than a partier.
I would send aspiring fops to Notting Hill Gate (Retro Man is great), to Brick Lane (check out Mendoza), to Jermyn Street (during sale season), to Camden Town (make sure and visit Casper at A Dandy in Aspic).
And even if you can’t afford anything there, go to A Child of the Jago and just drool. They’ve got a lock on pantomime villain chic.
Authentic, vintage menswear dating from 1900-1979 by A Dandy in Aspic. We buy and sell quality vintage clothing…www.adandyinaspic-camden.co.uk
Mendoza Menswear - "Quality British-Made Gentlemen's Outfitters"www.mendozamenswear.com
Menswear, Womenswear and Accessories for the well heeled anticonformist... Inspired by historical costumes ,we are not…www.achildofthejago.com
Do you think there’s a difference between simply being tolerated and accepted or actually welcomed?
Sure there is, and every immigrant and oddball can parse that difference. The important thing is to figure out what matters most to you — being accepted and welcomed or being yourself. You can still find welcoming people if you want to be yourself, just not as many.
Is your dandy style your own or a product of a prescribed formula and ‘wanting to be different’?
Someone described my look as a combination of a perfect English gentleman and Wild Bill Hickock. I took it as a compliment, and it may have been, but I certainly don’t have a formula. Many people in the vintage scene adhere to a single period and are rigorous about the rules — these are the real chaps. Others mix periods and are generally more original — the dandies. I’m a dandy. I overdo it my way.
Are you narcissistic? Are you an attention seeker or can viewers not help but stare?
I feel like I shouldn’t be checking all three of these boxes. But I can’t lie to you, Felix. To be honest, I wear what looks magnificent to me, and any attention I get is a bonus. I have been the victim of casual British street violence as a result of looking too magnificent — I had a sandwich thrown at me in Dublin.
Fortunately, it was one of your small British sandwiches, so no damage was done. I would not want to get hit with a Philly sub.