(Submitted photo of Rose Callahan.)
What is dandyism? Its attributes have been passionately debated since the late 18th Century where it got its start in England and France. Among the definitions in Webster's New World Dictionary: dandy (dan'di) n. pl. dan·dies 1. A man who affects extreme elegance in clothes and manners; a fop. 2. Something very good and agreeable.
Rose Callahan, co-author of "I am Dandy: The Return of the Elegant Gentleman" has spent years exploring the fascinating phenomenon of dandyism and will visit Genesee Community College at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28, for an afternoon that includes an hour-long presentation, a Q&A opportunity, an autograph session and a special Dress Like Dandy Contest.
Students, staff, faculty and the community-at-large are invited to "dress the part" or GCC's Dandy Day. The top five contestants deemed most elegant, stylish and sophisticated by a panel of GCC judges will win an autographed copy of Callahan's book.
While Callahan does not claim to have the last word on what exactly dandyism is, her collection portrays a very personal exploration of the art form.
"With each new portrait comes more curiosity, and the realization that a true dandy is a rare thing indeed," Callahan writes on her online blog, http://dandyportraits.blogspot.com/
Here, hundreds of Callahan's photos and dynamic portraits can be viewed, all under the title of her current project and obsession, "The Lives of Exquisite Gentlemen Today, The Dandy Portraits, Field Notes & Photos by Rose Callahan."
Callahan will be available for press interviews and photographs at 12:30 p.m. in the Rosalie "Roz" Steiner Art Gallery in the Genesee Center for the Arts 30 minutes prior to her presentation, which will be held at 1 p.m. in the Conable Technology Building room T102.
Callahan's visit is part of the annual Fall Fashion Speakers Series at GCC, which in recent years has featured David Zyla and Anya Ayoung-Chee.
With picture perfect and exquisite serendipity, the Fashion Business program at GCC has its own very special contribution to Dandy Day. The College is introducing the new, unique, GCC alumnus-designed plaid pattern, which embodies not only the institution's official color scheme, but also exemplifies GCC's spirit and the "Beyond Expectations" brand.
Last year, the Fashion Business program initiated a contest to design the GCC plaid that was open to students and alumni to create a pattern that would be distinctive, professional, sellable, and ultimately woven into scarfs, neck ties and bow ties. Under the guidance of Professor Donna Ehrhart, the results of this extraordinary project will be unveiled during Dandy Day.
The successful plaid design was created by Michael Moultrup, of Batavia, who earned two degrees from GCC, Human Services, AAS in 1999, and Digital Art, AAS in 2011. The intricate pattern developed by Moultrup is a strong reflection of his skill as a designer and also his overall positive experiences as a GCC student in two very different fields. Interestingly, Moultrup actively uses the skills he developed in both programs in his everyday life.
He works as a private, home healthcare aide with Johnny's Angels, and also runs his own design business, A&M Dream Creations with his wife, Allana, whom he met at GCC.
The plaid design challenge was a welcomed opportunity to support his alma mater and fosters the team building skills that he learned and valued at GCC.
"I was happy to do something for the College," Moultrup said. "And if it helps the College make a little money, that's good."
Having designed Web sites, logos, wedding invitations and many other creative elements -- but never a plaid, Moultrup applied the lesson he learned from one of his favorite GCC professors, Pam Swarts. He went online to www.Lynda.com, a widely used video tutorial resource, and learned all about plaids and the plaid design process. His efforts were obviously well received, and he won the $100 prize award.
Professor Ehrhart and her team of current students took Moultrup's winning design and moved it along into a real-world, product development learning experience. They reviewed all aspects of creating 100-percent silk scarfs, neck and bow ties that are affordable, yet high quality, and they considered other aspects of production, such as child labor laws and environmentally sound dyes, weaving and manufacturing techniques. Future projects may involve working with a local weaver and exploring new uses for the GCC plaid design.
"GCC's Dandy Day is so exciting in so many ways," Professor Ehrhart said. "Just meeting Rose Callahan and hearing about her work and experiences gives our students a broad, worldwide and also historical perspective of dandyism. But then, we are able to tie-in – pun intended – the GCC experience that is personal, professional and continuously beyond expectations."
The new women's scarfs and men's neck and bow ties are now on sale for just $20 each by contacting GCC's Fashion Business office at 585-345-6830. In addition, approximately 40 Fashion Business students and faculty will be giving a few GCC scarfs and ties away as gifts to key fashion industry experts who are helping host their annual visit to New York City's fashion mecca over Columbus Day weekend.
Many of the hosts on next week's trip are GCC fashion program alumni. To read about their trip, go to GCC's blog at https://gcccampusblog.wordpress.com/
For further information contact Donna Rae Sutherland, GCC's Marketing Communications associate director at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6616, or via email: [email protected].
(Submitted photo below of GCC professors Rick Dudkowski and Donna Ehrhardt with alumnus Michael Moultrup.)