But Does Industry Enforce Straight Branding?

Straights, Gays Love David Gandy

British model David Gandy gets the work over in Sunday’s edition of The Times.

Currently the face of Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue Pour Homme cologne, Gandy and his package can be seen on billboards, magazine ads and commercials the world over. His masculinity represents a sea change in the industry, says Lisa Armstrong.

Despite the the lusty zeitgeist, don’t hold your breath for any gay adverts – the fashion world ain’t ready.

Famed photographer Mario Testino tells Armstrong:

David has something of what the 1980s supermodels have. He radiates health and positivity. I think he has what it takes to be very big. It’s exciting because it signifies a real shift in men’s fashion. That whole skinny, decadent look is very limited. The male model world is changing. I think that’s partly to do with people’s sexuality blurring. The girls really get him as much as the boys.

Of this, Armstrong writes:

Ah yes, the gay thing. One cannot delve too deeply into the male modelling world without coming up against it. So what, you may ask. Surely this cannot still be an issue. Not in 2007? Not in fashion? The answer is yes and no. Or, as Charlie Porter puts it, “designer brands rely heavily on the gay market, yet at the same time they’re frightened of acknowledging it too much in case it alienates mainstream markets, especially in the US, especially in the current retail climate.”

GQ, for instance, although one of the country’s leading men’s magazines, would never put a male model on its cover. Even Dolce & Gabbana, a label that has managed to make a commercial virtue out of high camp, particularly in its catwalk shows, where male models recently plodded past the front row in white spacesuits, placed a hot-looking female under Gandy in the television ad, just to dispel any lingering doubts. The ambivalence is evident in the fact that, according to Gandy’s booker at Select, until a few years ago 99 per cent of male models were gay. Now they are not, but if Gandy can, so to speak, straddle these two demographics, then he may indeed hit the jackpot.

A campaign with Dolce & Gabbana? We know you’re the fashion expert, Armstrong, but we think Gandy’s already hit the jackpot. Luckily his ad campaigns share the wealth, what Armstrong describes as Gandy’s “crotch of Brobdingnagian dimensions”.
Relive Gandy’s Morning Good here!
Also, despite what Armstrong and Testino may say, a number of fashion companies, including Dolce & Gabbana, play gay in ad space and on air. What’s more, they get Commercial Closet nominations for doing so…

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  • David Hauslaib, Queerty

    The only problem? After seeing his face (and crotch) in at least 25 magazines over the past few weeks, I’d be fine with never coming across it again. Overexposure.

  • Paul Raposo

    I agree with David. They should take a cue from gay porn stars: limit your exposure to a few performances per year and a few mags per year. It worked for Damien Ford!

    “according to Gandy’s booker at Select, until a few years ago 99 per cent of male models were gay. Now they are not”

    So does this mean gay models are not getting work, or are they just going in the closet? There was an interview with some famous male model named Sean De Wet in GQ back in 2004 where he said that most male models are straight and that there are only a “couple” of models who are gay, but apparently it’s ok because they don’t get much work. WTF? First we’re getting shut out of Hollywood, TV, music and now fashion?

  • nycstudman

    If that’s “masculinity,” then I’m Queen Marie of Rumania! Dude’s a freaking metrosexual trapped in a skinny woman’s body!

  • newchad

    These ads are the definition of ‘gay vague’. A stunning man in tiny-white briefs swims up to a woman on a boat and right before they kiss, someone yells cut, a clapper-board comes down and the ad ends.

    I read the whole thing as saying, he’s ‘straight-for-pay’ giving the ad both a hetero and homo subtext. I think it balances it all nicely.

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