What is an Aesthete?

The Aesthete: The well attired artist


"I have nothing to declare but my genius"  

[Oscar Wilde 's response when ask if he had anything to declare at customs]

Oscar Wilde: Perhaps the greatest and certainly the most famous Aesthete

Sebastian Horsely: Socialite, author and cross between Aesthete and Decadent. He is probably the most famous Aesthete of our time; his book Dandy in the Underworld is a prime example of the Aesthetic style, with a dash of Decadence.

 

Lord Whimsy "The Affected Provincial"  author and renowned Aesthete

Karl Lagersfeld: Fashion designer and Aesthete


aes·thete or es·thete
 (stht)
n.
1. One who cultivates an unusually high sensitivity to beauty, as in art or nature.
2. One whose pursuit and admiration of beauty is regarded as excessive or affected.
 
aesthete or US esthete [eess-theet]
Noun
a person who has or who pretends to have a highly developed appreciation of beauty

An Aesthete is an artist. His life is focused around his art, and he lives for his own creativity. A aesthete's wardrobe, manners, style, conversation will generally [if not frequently] be aimed at impressing, capturing attention, and entertaining those to whom he speaks; he lives for the crowd. 

Art, according to the ancient Greeks, is the language of passion, and the Aesthete dwells in, and seeks to master this world. To inspire passion in those around him, is his ultimate goal. To do this he can use any number of tools, but fashion is one the most effective as it is so easily visible "the strongest form of non-verbal communication" as a philosopher once said.

An Aesthete will go to great lengths to promote himself. Some will create elaborate shows, invent characters for themselves, or adopt bizarre controversial opinions or  polite [or, God forbid, less than polite] antics like riding around the neighborhood on an antique bicycle while dressed in loud plaids, getting crucified, or just wearing fancy/outlandish clothes.  The aesthete is basically harmless and only seeks to advance his personal artistic pursuits, or to make a name for himself.

History boasts many Aesthetes from, and anywhere you find and artist, author, or fashion designer you'll likely find an Aesthete who's fashion is as flamboyant as they desire their name to be renown.

Among the most famous Aesthete were Oscar Wilde and Wild Bill Cody of the Victorian era, Liberace,  Erté, and later on, Karl Lagerfeld of the 20th Century, and Lord Whimsy and Sebastian Horsley of recent years. These individual's style have became so popular and renown in their time that they almost took the name of Dandy from more subtle men: and they themselves may argue a right to the title. Whatever the name, if you see a man whose outfit and antics grab the eye [and sometimes wont let go] you're dealing with an Aesthete...enjoy the show!