The men’s ‘fashion and philosophy’ biannual from Greece brands itself as being for misfits, for men with a sense of personal style and intelligence. The pages are filled with pictures of longhaired, nonchalant men with unusual faces, and it’s the kind of magazines that you can imagine a cross between Brideshead Revisited’s Sebastian and a character from a Jean-Luc Godard movie reading. Designed by Omar Sosa (best known for Apartemento), Dapper Dan is unfussy, and the sparse, monochrome design creates a sense of clarity and elegance.
The ‘philosophy’ aspect of the magazine is not obvious at first, as it’s integrated into the fashion content. A feature about designer Jocopo Benassi’s slippers and sandals considers the prized possessions as if they were ‘comfort objects’ – using the term as intended by psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott. The spread of images obsessively indexes every one of Jocopo’s flip-flops (above) – treating them like trophies belonging in a museum, and inviting you to read the narratives in each wear-and-tear.
Dapper Dan fetishes objects and textures – and the black and white is effective in drawing your eye to the materiality of an object or piece of clothing. Black and white text sits flatly on the matt paper, so the shiny or crinkly surface of a photographed object stands out in comparison. Two ponderous essays, one by modern furniture shop owner Lorca Cohen and the other artist Greg Wooten, are laid side-by-side accompanied by sets of sculptures that abstractly reflect the words as if they were commissioned illustrations (above). Fashion spreads similarly focus on contrasts in textures and shades (below).
A fashion-spread for objects like a hand broom from Conran and an asymmetrical vintage apron (above) is an example of the magazine’s more playful side. Despite Dapper Dan’s elegant exterior, there is a roughness and whimsy to the magazine that is pleasing. It’s a publication for the 21st Century dandy, and it chimes with Oscar Wilde’s assertion that ‘in matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing.’