Glamour is one of the most tantalizing and bewitching aspects of contemporary culture - but also one of the most elusive. The aura of celebrity, the style of the fashion world, the vanity of the rich and beautiful, and the publicity-driven rites of cafe society are all imbued with its irresistible magnetism. But what exactly is glamour? Where does it come from? How old is it? And can anyone quite capture its magic? Stephen Gundle answers all these questions and more in this first ever history of the phenomenon, from Paris in the tumultuous final decades of the eighteenth century through to Hollywood, New York, and Monte Carlo in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, from Napoleon to Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe, from Beau Brummell to Gianni Versace. Throughout, the book captures the excitement and sex appeal of glamour while exposing its mechanisms and exploring its sleazy and sometimes tragic underside. As Gundle shows, while glamour is exciting and magnetic, its promise is ultimately an illusion that can only ever be partially fulfilled.