Friday, June 24, 2011

David Gandy exclusive!



In a meeting room in the central London office of Select Model Management, David Gandy is hungrily tucking into a croissant. This isn't a PR-calculated Documented Instance of Public Eating, however, but rather the actions of a man who has been on the go non-stop - even by the standards of a globetrotting male supermodel. He's just back from the gruelling launch of his new, self-titled book in Milan, which involved driving a vintage Triumph around the city as well as walking in Dolce & Gabbana's spring/summer 2012 show. Naturally though, GQ.com's Car Correspondent looked great throughout - as he does now in a Dolce & Gabbana jacket, waistcoat and shirt, Diesel jeans and Russell & Bromley shoes (not pictured). Here he talks about being a rock star for day, walking out on Dolce & Gabbana and the unglamorous truth behind Milan Fashion Week...

The book

"Domenico [Dolce] kind of came up with the idea. I  knew there was a project going on and he sounded me out. As well as the piles of pictures from the archive, we needed to go and shoot new material as well, which we did in Milan in January and in New York with Mariano [Vivanco]. I love those shots. The funny thing is we started with Mariano doing my first-ever headshots in a crappy little apartment in Angel in London which scared the life out of me. Now it's ten years later and we're in his 50th-floor skyscraper apartment in New York with views over the Hudson river. Again, just me, him and the camera. It's kind of apt. The funny thing is every picture has a story: the front cover was taken when I was in foul mood with Mariano because we were shooting all day and I was probably hungry and he just took a shot. You're never really looking back in fashion, you always look forward: next month, next season. So the book is a lovely thing to have."

Being a rock star for the day

"It was surreal. People think because I'm a model and I'm in the public eye that I'm going to be used to it, but in some ways I'm quite shy. When I was driving I could hear the crowd and I just wanted to carry on driving through - I didn't want to stop. I had a police entourage and Proctor & Gamble [which makes Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue] said, 'When Matthew McConaughey was here he had 20 security. Over this weekend, you've got 43.' I was like, "Eat your heart out, McConaughey." It's like being a rock star for the day. But at the same time, if you're in a movie and you're on the red carpet, the attention is split across the cast. If you're in a band, you have the whole band with you. With this, it's every eye on you - the bodyguards, the walls of people - which is a very overwhelming fact. You can't think about it too much."

His review of the Triumph

"The funny thing about classic cars is that they're really dodgy to drive. The steering is heavy, the brakes are drums, the gearbox is heating up because you're not getting out of first gear, double-declutching just trying to get second and back in first. The poor guy whose car it was, he doesn't know me from Adam and he had to give me his car. I know how to drive, how to double-declutch, and I've got to try and keep his car in good nick. But I've bought a classic Mercedes now which is being restored so it was good practice. I absolutely loved it. Isaac Ferry was with me all the time doing a documentary so he was showing me footage of me going past in black-and-white. I really want to be driving through London in a classic now."

Returning to his daytime TV roots

"This Morning was where I started ten years ago so that's why we chose that to push the book. That's where I won the modelling competition - you'll have to see the footage from the first time - I thought they would have burned that by now. Philip Schofield is actually quite stylish - he often has a three-piece on. I was hoping he would wear one when I went on so I could talk about it! He obviously saves the three-pieces for Dancing On Ice and The Box. I grew up with Going Live so he'll always be a legend."

Walking out on Dolce & Gabbana

"I first met them in 2002 when I went to do their Milan show. I went back the season after and we had a bit of a 'discussion' about haircuts. They shave the sides, which is their look, but it cost me a couple of other jobs when I got back. So the second time I said, 'Guys, I can't have the same haircut you gave me before.' They said, 'David, either have the haircut or walk out.' I walked out. How I had the guts to do that, I have no idea. I was such a petulant little s***, probably. Nothing's really changed... Did I flounce? I probably tripped up and fell down the stairs or something. That was the last-ever show season I did. I didn't go back until I met them again in 2006. I saw them at Mariano's birthday party and I'd changed a lot in those four years. They saw me and thought I could work well. I think I emphasised everything they wanted from Dolce & Gabbana: that Mediterranean, mannish look I'd grown into. I was lucky I met them at that time. I did the show again, did the apparel campaign, carried on into the Light Blue and there we go."

His relationship with Dolce & Gabbana now

"Stefano and Domenico are very nice. They're also ridiculously powerful. But to be in charge of this multimillion-dollar-making machine and still have the final say in everything that is done - they don't need to do that, but they do. We did the lookbook recently and it was four days, 200 shots. Domenico was there on every shot, styling every guy. You could say, 'Oh, maybe he doesn't trust a stylist to do it'  but you've still got to have that desire to be the best.  Have I been on their yacht? I have, actually, at the Cannes Film Festival. It's pretty astonishing. Better than the dinghy I would probably turn up in."

Milan Fashion Week confidential

"Someone should really make a documentary about it because it puts people off modelling. People quit after Milan Fashion Week because of the way you are treated. Maybe it's improved - and I hope it has - since the days that I was in it. You used to go along and probably more than half the positions are filled anyway, directly booked. You've got 300 guys all walking and casting for ten spaces. In the summer it's boiling hot there and they give you a T-shirt that the last 300 sweaty guys have tried on that's now soaking wet. There's no please, there's no thank you. Sometimes they won't even look you in the eye and will just look at you and say 'No.' But people go back and they still want to do it. At one particular label [NB not Dolce & Gabbana], everyone has to queue outside. There are two days of castings and you're only allowed to go along if you've been specifically requested. You wait outside and they open one single door - they could open two doors - and everyone crowds in. It's like sheep getting out of a lorry. You walk in and you sit round a big auditorium with a catwalk in the middle. Once [the casting director] just announced, 'Everyone take your shirts off!' Male models seem to do as they're told but I refused. He singled me out but I said, 'I'll take my shirt off when I come down to the catwalk. I don't need to sit here with it off now.' I went down, got my model card and walked out again. That was the end of my relationship with them..."

His summer style tip

"The trouble with Brits is they see sun and they think shorts. I think Tom Ford said it recently: shorts should be kept for the beach and the swimming pool. Shorts are a very, very difficult thing to pull off. You've got a lot of conundrums. Do you wear socks? Trainers? I just always go for light linens: Loft trousers, a good T-shirt and then accessorise. You don't need to do anything too outlandish."

His festival style advice

"I always use a lot of denim. It's difficult because you never know what the conditions are going to be. I've always gone for a vest, T-shirt, denim shirt, jeans - they're always going to be good - and a pair of good, rugged boots because you're always going to be walking in fields. I actually wore a pair of cowboy boots last year with a Cuban heel on. Bring a good pair of sunglasses, always. Then layer up because one minute it's boiling hot, the next minute it's freezing cold, the next minute it's raining. I go to V but I never stay. Last year I actually had a Range Rover which took me there, was with me all day and took me back at night. That's how I do festivals..."

Sexual inequality in the fashion industry

"I'm getting a bit of stick at the moment because in one interview I talked about the hierarchy of the shoot. There's the photographer, the female model, the stylist and then the guy is under that. If there are no rooms in the fabulous hotel where everyone's staying then the first person that's going to go is probably the assistant and the male model. I said this in an educational way - I'm trying to give people an insight into the modelling world. They come back and say, 'Oh, God, you're so outspoken. David was talking about how female models get treated so much better.' I'm not saying that. What I'm saying is that the women have done it so well and they use it as a business. If you work with the top female models, they are so clever. They invest all their money really well in property and they have financial advisors. Male models are not like that at all. The clever ones are but the majority aren't. With the book and everything else we've narrowed that divide a bit but we've also set a precedent for other male models: look what we can do. This is what we can achieve if we all stick together: we could narrow the gap even more."

His best day at the office

"One of the most amazing times was shooting the Light Blue adverts: going across on a speedboat from Naples to Capri with Mario Testino, the best stylists, the most gorgeous models. You look back and think, 'That's a pretty damn good memory, actually.' With something like that you think, 'This is what I worked for, this is what I visualised in my head.' It's not always like that. The next day you'll be changing in the back of a Transit in a German town somewhere trying to make some money. It changes."
 

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