Mario Testino said of him: "He radiates health, comfort, refinement and incredible positivity. It is his appearance, his aura, something in his eyes". Among the most successful models present a true international icon of men's style. When the brand Dolce & Gabbana chose him as the face of its perfume, no one knew what a revolution in the fashion industry it would start. It was him and his looks, what influenced the evolution of fashion and style in the coming years.He collaborates with the major fashion houses of the world, but at the same time he has worked for the ready-made chains such as Zara and Marks & Spencer. David Gandy spoke with Menstyle, which is the first Czech conversation with him, he proved that he is a real gentleman.
David Gandy at LC:M 2013 by Conor Clinch
David Gandy: The real gentleman
We would like to give a huge Thank You to Jirka Hofbauer the editor of Mensstyle.cz for sharing the English translations of this wonderful interview with us. Mr. Hofbauer we greatly appreciate your kindness.
Text and edition by George Hofbauer , Petra Kinclová & Michal Novák
Many men bring your photo where you wear a checked suit to tailor and say: I want the same suit as David Gandy. Do you like that fact that you are not just male model but also a fashion and style icon?
I have always been into design. Be it cars, art, architecture and that translates into fashion. That's why the likes of Ralph Lauren, Armani even French Connection just don't stick to fashion, they sell furniture, watches and collaborate with car brands.
I've had the privilege of working with many of the best creatives, designers, tailors in the world and I have learnt a lot. Its an honour that people call me a style icon, and much of that is to do with being very patriotic and working with Saville Row tailors who I believe to be the best in the world.
I use a lot of tailoring, even in my casual outfits as I think this is the basics of men's fashion, it always has to revert back to suits and tailoring. Really though suits for me are almost like armour, they almost protect the real me and it allows people to perceive me in a different way than who maybe I actually am.
How do you feel about being a fashion and fitness inspiration for men around the world? Is it some kind of commitment?
With my style and fitness apps I have tried to explain the very basics to men. I've always said if I can achieve this look or this build, then anyone can. Yes, it takes some thought and some hard work,but by simplifying what I do I hopefully make it very attainable for every man. I don't feel that there is commitment, there is pressure to have to look stylish a lot of the time as I never know when I am going to be photographed and many people approach me in the street, so I feel I should always try to make an impression with what I am wearing. But I only wear items that I am happy with. I don't believe in trends, in many ways I go against trends, I try to show people that everything is about having the confidence to be an individual, it doesn't matter what other people say or what they think.
Do you have a specific kind of diet or tips to stay fit or in shape? Not only exercises but also vitamins and proteins cocktails etc?
No specific diet. I stay away from processed foods, anything high in sugar or saturated fats, I don't drink fizzy drinks. But I eat more than anyone I know, but just of the correct foods to maintain a healthy physique. You should be able to get everything you need through food. But sometimes my schedule doesn't allow this, so yes I use protein shakes when I am in heavy training.
In the fashion industry skinny models are still wanted. And (with total respect) you are a muscular, absolutely healthy looking male model. Is it hard to be on the top?
After 2006 Light Blue commercial more masculine, larger models have been the trend. That's why beards are so in fashion at the moment, because it represents a very rugged, masculine feature.
When I first started, it was the Dior, smaller models were used for every campaign, but this has certainly changed. Bigger trend now is to use movie stars, sports stars or celebrities to endorse products.
There is lot gossip about hatred between female models. Is there something like that in male models world?
There are many stereotypical views of models and the fashion world. I don't know where this hatred idea came from. Not everyone is going to get along and be friends the same as any other industry.
I read interviews with you, but you never talk about your personal life. Is that for protection?
Yes its protection to my friends and family and girlfriends. With the fortunate success I have had, its meant that the public and media are interested in your private life. My private life is exactly what the word 'private' stands for. We do use social media, but only for my work and charities etc. I think if you are in the public eye and tweet and instagram your life and locations and personal thoughts then you are saying its acceptable for the media or paparazzi or public to intrude.
How do you overcome the media interest?
I make it clear that I never talk about private life and I make it hard for any paparazzi to obtain any pictures of me in my private time, most of them understand this and leave me alone. Of course media and paps will always try, but 99% of what people read is absolute rubbish.
You participate with many charities. Where did the idea to help come from? Lots of models really don't care about anyone else...
I don't think models 'don't' care. I know a huge number that commit a lot of time to charities. Really there isn't the platform for models to be able to commit. That's why I started the Blue Steel Appeal charity last year, which is to raise money from people in the fashion industry.
I also am ambassador for two more charities and I work and support further charities as much as I can. I worked for charities since I was 14 and its something that I believe is very important. People who are in the public eye, should always commit time to charities, the same as Paul Newman, Steve McQueen all have.
Do you have some free time? I mean time only for you. No work, no fitness workout.
Not much free time, but work is my life and even if I have a day off, then because of the number of companies I have, projects, charities, then it is impossible to completely let all this go. I often take a day or two here for driving, which is escapism for me.
You are not just a model but also write car reviews . That's impressive. How many cars and what kinds do you have?
I have a couple of Jaguars and I'm restoring a 1960 Mercedes Benz 190sl at the moment to a concourse level. I write reviews for GQ, and also write for Vogue and the London Telegraph, this is where I have a voice and an opinion.
When You look back to Your career, is there something you would have done in a different way? Some collaboration that didn't worked? Something, you know, you will never do again?
I never regret anything. there have been mistakes, but you learn more from mistakes than you do from successes.
Is there some goal you haven't accomplished yet? Some brand you want to work for or some project? Even in charity work.
I always set myself goals. Later this year I have my biggest project yet and there are new contracts that I am excited about. I constantly try to work out of my comfort zone, that is what makes life exciting.
You are just amazing style icon and perfect gentleman. Is there something, in your opinion, every men should know and do every day to be a gentleman?
My grandfather and father are both gentlemen, I have learnt from them. Its impossible to say what people should do. I believe a gentlemen is discreet, he doesn't shout about what he has or how he has obtained it and more than anything he inspires, encourages and helps others as much as he can.