Thursday, January 2, 2014

David Gandy vs. Zoolander ('El País' Newspaper)

It's funny but who looked to be having a better night last night, in an organized party at the residence of British Ambassador party it was David Gandy. As if this supermodel, the invited highlight of the evening, posing, shaking hands and responding to hundreds of compliments with a hundred other kind words, was what he most felt like doing that evening. All that while the room was divided into three groups: the ones queuing  to be near him for a few seconds, the ones watching him from a distance and that seemed locked in their own story, but each time the model walked by they would a face like if they were mentally thinking, "Well, he's not that cute."

Then you realize that this is precisely the key to his success: Gandy is well aware that he is considered one of the sexiest men in the world. And that's his power.

"My first important job was a lookbook for Paul Smith, but mostly did catalogs. I did not feel very comfortable, it was not what I wanted to do," he says before the party. He sits next to his translator with looking very relaxed , he makes eye contact, smiles and makes any statement about his career path look like a confession. Clearly, his goals went far beyond the perfect model. "At that time other man were, thinner and androgynous. Now the rules are different." This change has been largely thanks to him. But mostly the fact that Dolce & Gabbana crossed his path.

When all were betting on the beauty of babyish and fragile features, the Italian duo wanted to exploit a much more manly and sexualized archetype. They found that in the figure of footballers, but in 2006, David Gandy appeared, and what began with an advertising campaign has resulted in a book that portrays their best moments with the brand and uplifting him to the category of aesthetic icon. Another label that he is  fully aware of. "From that moment I wanted to go further. Men's fashion is much less popular than the women's. I try to balance the scales, although many have told me that was impossible," he says.

It is clear that it was not. While many might make a rather long list of female models, his name is the first (if not the only) that comes to mind when talking about male models, an area which gives rise to some celebrity and is usually populated by fleeting careers. "It took me 13 years to know how to stay in business. To adapt and change, but above all we must say no to many projects. It is not good to do it all. It is more important to strengthen the relationship with a brand than to work for many," he confesses. He graduated in marketing before starting work as a model and all indications are that he was a good student.

David Gandy has been able to build a powerful and persuasive image. He plays at being the gallant man of classical cinema, but mostly he demonstrates a laid back approachable attitude. He wears a double breasted suit that gives him a distinctive look, but crosses his legs and gestures as if he were actually wearing jeans. He nods when asked if he is a brand in itself, and mentions the British heritage to define it "my brand is about English tradition, with tailoring from Savile Row. I look up to the style of Paul Newman or Steve McQueen, even sometimes it may seem that I'm a bit old fashioned. I feel very identified with the way style is conceived in my country, that vocation with many avant-garde designers but at the same time, always inspired by the tradition and craftsmanship."

That is the reason why the British Fashion Council chose him as the ambassador for London Collections:Men. It is not often the he is seen strutting on a catwalk, but we do see him sitting in the front row of a fashion show with one of those perfectly cut English suits. This is also understandable why Johnny Walker chose him as their exclusive image for their Blue Label blend. The model defines it as "modern classic", and the truth is that watching him  cater to the guests, whiskey in hand, makes him deserve the same description.

In those rare moments that he is not asked to be the life of the party, Gandy writes columns on luxury cars in several publications, develops  mobile applications (currently has a fitness app and another on style), he collects and restores classic automobiles and is restoring his  eighteenth century home. Everything fits and fuels his image. That is why the "Gandy brand" knows that his future lies not in the interpretation, as with most famous models, but by the company: "My next step is probably to stop getting in front of a camera. I like to design or work in brand management. I've learned that you never know what you are able to do,  but that you can open unexpected paths."

When Naomi, Kate and other renowned topmodels paraded down the catwalk at the Closing Ceremony of the London Games, Gandy was the only man who did it along with them. "I wanted to show that  male models can become as iconic as the female models. And I think what I'm doing just that. Before the only reference that the public had of our work was Zoolander ". He doesn't joke. Strange as it may seem, this parody of the fashion world has served as his inspiration. At the time it functioned as a tool of reverse psychology to make it clear that he wanted to break prejudices. Today he has a foundation called Blue Steel,  named after that absurd look made famous by Derek Zoolander in the film . "What better name than that. My project is part of Comic Relief, which helps fight poverty through the entertainment industry. I raised funds through measures that have to do with fashion. It is the perfect title. "

But does Zoolander really have anything to do with your world? "The film is like a cartoon full of absurd situations, but if you work in fashion you realize that there are many similarities. I do not know what relationship  Ben Stiller has with it, but he knows this field well." Says someone with his appearance of the perfect gentleman, the Clive Owen of the modeling world, he could not be further from the ravings of that plot. So he is probably telling the truth.

By Leticia García / Dec 11, 2013

Source: El pais.com

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