You do What For A Living?
Beckham aside, if you had to nominate one person who has helped raise the profile of modelling for men more than any other, that person would have to be David Gandy. Often cited as "the first male supermodel" (though this seems to be a category with more than one first, as well shall see) since being unwittingly entered into an ITV This Morning competition by his flatmate, the 34 year old beefcake from Billericay has been unavoidable.
Launching himself with a splash via Dolce & Gabbana's Light Blue fragrace as in 2007, a 30 second clip where he canoodles with a brunette in the bottom of a dinghy moored off Sicily wearing a pair of tight white shorts, he followed this with a staggeringly homoerotic promotional calendar entitled David-a reference to the other buff David, the one by Michelangelo. Overnight, male beauty had a new archetype. The photographer Mario Testino summed up the thoughts of the industry when he noted that Gandy "signifies a real shift in men's fashion".
Since then, he's the one male model who really has become a household name, via sheer force of will and an impressive raft of extracurricular projects that include journalism, charitable endeavours like Comic Relief, TV appearances on The Jonathan Ross show and Absolutely Fabulous, talks at the Oxford Union, and his tireless promotion of menswear and London Collection:Men with his seat on the British Fashion Council. He was even quick to see the value in skewering the Zoolander comparisons by making fun of them himself. One if his charities is called Blue Steel Appeal.
"Now a lot more men aren't afraid to say,'Yes, I'm a model'," Gandy says. "Hopefully, I've set a precedent for other guys to come into this industry. I hope other people have followed my lead because it's not been the easiest thing in the world to do. I've worked bloody hard at it."
"George Clooney is doing Nespresso and Ryan Reynolds is doing M&S," David Gandy notes. "Who would ever think M&S were going to sign Ryan Reynolds?'
By 2000, time was called on excesses of muscles and water trucks. In July that year, Heidi Slimane took over as creative director of Dior Homme, and ushered in a widely-imitated new look of nipped-in tailoring and pipe legged jeans, the after-effects of which haven't entirely dissipated today, 14 years later. Sample sizes dropped two sizes from 40 to 36 and modelling was suddenly overrun by barely-there urchins who appeared to have been dragged to the catwalks from the streets because, in many cases, they had been. Slimane left Dior in May 2007. David Gandy's advert for Light Blue aired the next month.
"Clothing that skinny is not going to fit a normal guy," Gandy says. "So it wasn't something that guys could relate to, whatsoever."
As for longevity, surviving in an industry that thrives on the new, David Gandy has some strong views on that: "Guys are a lot more replaceable than girls," he says. "Girls can get away with a lot more. I could never understand that. We're on the same advertising boards, the women's market is saturated, and the men's is expanding."
That's why he came up with his cunning plan-copy the girls.
"You've got to turn yourself into a brand. From the reaction that (my) Light Blue (fragrance campaign) got, I just copied what the (female) supermodels have done. It's more important about what you say no to, than what you say yes to. But you can build that brand up, and then you will do one wrong thing that's seen around the world, because you were attracted to the money aspect of it. You don't realise what it's going to cost you."
Of course, not every modelis David Gandy,who,after Sean O'Pry, is thought to be the world's highest paid male model, on about 900,000 pounds a year.
As someone who's newly self-employed, working freelance,as models effectively are turning down work might not be so easy.
"It's a scary prospect," Gandy agrees. "If you don't work, you don't get paid. But you do have to sacrifice certain jobs. You have to have a focus of where you want to be, and you can't divert from that line. You don't want to be seen doing high-street brand when what you actually want is to go and get a fragrance deal. You have to be confident that you're going to get that money back over the next couple of years. Because, when I say no to something, you know they're going to come back with more money. And then they come back again. I hated doing catalogues. I was never going to stay in the industry to do catalogues over in Germany. Some people love that, it's regular work. It's regular money."
And like many jobs-though perhaps surprisingly for this one-success lies not in what you know but who you know. The real work happens off the catwalk.
"What most models don't realise is that on a shoot from eight o'clock in the morning till six o'clock at night, it doesn't stop there," Gandy says. "You have to do the networking: it's the talking, and going to the parties. What people don't realise is that if you do your job well and you're nice to work with, all those other people on the shoot, all those stylist, photographers, and art director have all got other jobs to go on. So if they like you, then of course they're going to bring you onto the next project."
" I was with Nicolas Malleville the other day, who is with Select Models," says Daivd Gandy, of the property developer. "He now has four hotels in Mexico. You can't be a thick person if you've got four hotels in Mexico."
Source: 'The Fashion Spot' Forum
Source: 'The Fashion Spot' Forum