The Boys are Back

Well, all are aware of supermodels. Such brands as Versace were on of the first, who started to exploit the image of young and successful woman, who is not only a hanger for a piece of clothing but also a personality. The 90’s were all about personality - we were obsessed with a new religion of consumption and fashion. And of course there’s no religion without fashion icons and style saints. People started to worship modern goddesses, like Claudia Schiefer, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Eva Hercigova, Linda Evangelista and many others. Later on, after the advent of an era of optimization, companies started to cut down idols lust for gold,  and someone finally stated that people are tired of the what-shall-I-do-to-be-as-pretty-as-insert-top-model-is. Moreover, fashion at the time wasn’t focused on the garments as such, but rather on the people who wore them. 

Millennium wasn`t Armageddon for mankind, though supermodels sank into oblivion. 2000 put a 3 megawatt spotlight exactly on fashion. Only designer clothes, without any personality in the background. There still were models, though not from Olympus but next-door-girls. No more super proportional faces, long legs and perfect bodies. Seeing an ordinary person/model public automatically began paying attention to what they are wearing. Apparently, there were several reasons to it. First of all, there was a lack of model-celebrities to advertise biggest brands; secondly, people were humiliated by the perfect look of the model, which was stating that you had to be perfect to fit that brand; and finally, models themselves had become too expensive for nursing brands.

A subject both interesting and research worthy, isn’t it?! But now to the point!!! Where were all the boys? Everyone knows who is Cyndi Crawford or Nadya Auermann. But does anyone know who Mark Wahlberg is?! Anyone?! Yes, it was that muscle-endowed guy in CK undies. And actually he isn’t any model at all; he is a producer and actor. Countless hours of surfing the Internet brought me only several unfamiliar names of the 90`s male models, such as Ronny Marquette. This name may recall Live`s 501 ad, but frankly there was nothing iconic about Ronny. And a small fan club does not count. The rest of Naughty`s male models shared Ronny Marquette’s fate.

In the 90`s people were more aware of porn male models. And maybe things would have remained the same, but luckily marketing people from the fashion and beauty industry finally noticed that fashion is meant not only for women. After many many sweaty hours, these capitalist frankensteins invented a new creature - flamboyant, perfectly dressed, perfumed, with flawless skin and, what is important, hetero male. They even thought of a name for it: Metro-sexual. If before men were swiping credit cards to buy an expensive cigars, watches and spirits, now with the help of an ad they discovered the importance of the right brand and appropriate grooming. Since then girls had to share their, before untouched, bathroom space for beauty supplies. Cosmetic brands even introduced self-tanning lotions for men. I remember carrot-tanned guys in 2004, frightening. But metro-sexuals weren’t happy with it, and then all kinds of male make up stuff became available in stores. 
In the mid 2000`s the market form men`s fashion and beauty experienced a strong growth. Brands such as Lanvin, Balenciaga and Mango launched never-before-seen man`s lines, followed with numerous cosmetics labels extensions. Just take a name and put word "men" after it and another aftershave or scrub is ready. When the market niсhe had been stuffed with everything, and men became more picky, a competition between brands arose. To maintain demand on garments and cosmetics ad people started to use male celebs in commercial campaigns. Like Matthew Mcconaughey for D&G, or David and his tight back`s ham wrapped in Emporio Armani pants, what actually helped to beat CK men`s underwear sales with it`s unknown studs.

Celebs wandered from liquor and watch advertisements to glossy fashion magazines. All shiny, successful and famous. Take for instance the relative new skin care line for men from L`Oreal Men Expert - Pierce Bronsnan as an anti-aging face and spokesman, and Matthew Fox – a hydrated and natural looking guy. L`Oreal continued their ad policy in men`s products - real true stars, I even remember Michael Schuhmacher on a hair dyeing crème’s Feria pack’s cover. It was a message to male consumers: that it’s ok to dye your hair, "c`mon, even Michael from F1 does it!!!" These male celebrities on covers and on TV was the most advanced strategy to promote men`s fashion and cosmetics till the very moment when poor men realized that though it’s still possible to have a body like Mr. Fox’s or Mr. Beckham’s, it`s unrealistic to achieve what they had. And men are taking failure more personal then girls. It`s annoying to see a smiling men’s idol with a personality and Oscars behind him, so why do I have to buy the advertised product?
Once again the smart pants from marketing departments gave us just a good looking man, without background. He is just a guide, who shows us what to wear and how to look. He has no billion bills, no awards and no fame. He is just a modern Apollo or male supermodel. And there are more then one, and they have names. Please meet them: David Gandy, Noah Mills and Tyson Ballou. All of them are in new D&G ad for a new line of fragrances developed by photographer Mario Testino and designer Stefano Gabbana. Personally, I think that it`s a great idea to have a guide or a sample of modern men`s image.

As a girl I should know at least some infamous male models but, honestly, I don’t. Well, I do recognize the faces and those hot bodies from catwalks or ads but can’t name anyone. Then again I can tell you at least 20 well known female models but none male model. Ok, I know one; it’s Baptiste Giabiconi from Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld shows and ads. Anyway, why is so?
Always when I switch on my phone - guess who is saying “Hello” to me? It’s the guy from Calvin Klein underwear ad, well his picture. No idea what’s his real name is but I call him Cutie (only because the picture is saved as CkCutie.jpg). And when I switch my phone off there is this other picture from Paco Rabanne perfume ad – remember that hot guy with a nice smile and…body (Hottie.jpg)?

So I googled… Wow, my guys have real names too... Will Chalker is the one from Paco Rabanne ad and also the same who was carrying a baby tiger onto Dolce & Gabbana's spring/summer 2005 menswear catwalk. And Jamie Dornan is the guy from Calvin Klein. There’s something to learn.

Somehow male models are less popular or harder recognizable than female. The only reason I can think of is the gender expectations or stereotypes. Let’s be honest, woman is allowed not to work or not to be very smart. It’s ok for woman to be just physically attractive. But people expect something more from man than just a good look. It’s ok for a girl to be full time model, but for a guy – I don’t think so. I want to believe that male modeling is just a part time job for a short time period. Of course, there are some male models that stay on the billboard longer than few seasons but they still can keep their anonymity alive. I would love to know their names but don’t know why industry is not eager to introduce us. Fashion industry has some specifics as well as others. E.g. how many famous female athletes do you know? Not that much. There is something common, right? Stereotypes. 

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