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The Real 'male Models' With Masculine Energy and Porn Star Physiques are Back !

by Hannah Punitha on  June 26, 2008 at 3:25 PM General Health News   - G J E 4
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As the world tut-tutted over the hazards of throwing ultra-skinny female models on catwalks over the last months, few noticed the men too had shrunk.
 The Real 'male Models' With Masculine Energy and Porn Star Physiques are Back !
The Real 'male Models' With Masculine Energy and Porn Star Physiques are Back !

After decades of using male models with virile good looks and porn star physiques to parade their clothes, fashion houses in the mid-1990s began downsizing men, going for younger, thinner and lankier models in a trend that last year wound up being just simply androgynous.

But specialists say a page is being turned, and the real men are back.

"Our man this season looks like a young Texan farmer," said Ungaro assistant designer Damien Amsallem. "He has muscles, though he isn't big. And even if he's only 20, he has a real physique and looks like a man."

Yet just a few months ago, after the season's fashion shows in New York, Paris and Milan, The New York Times lamented that: "The man of the moment is an urchin, a wraith or an underfed runt."

Fashion-watchers, it added, had been no less than "flabbergasted at the sheer quantity of guys who looked chicken-chested, hollow-cheeked and undernourished."

Historians and designers say big-shouldered beefcake gym-addicted types were shovelled off catwalks in the 90s by the likes of Yamamoto, who went for street-boys as models, or Belgian avant-garde designer Raf Simons, who put suits with extravagantly small shoulders on sapling-thin boys who were not agency models.

Then came Hedi Slimane, who from 1999 to 2006 revolutionised menswear at Dior with cigarette-slim pants and narrow suits. He is credited with the worldwide crush for the skinny, boyish, often sexually-ambiguous, silhouette.

"Slimane and Simons and that whole generation of designers loved street and youth culture and rock n'roll and gave men's fashion an androgynous make-over," said fashion historian Lydia Kamitsis.

"Inevitably, now we're seeing a turn-around, which is not over-statedly virile but which is the sort of masculine image conveyed by western youngsters today."

At BananasMambo, one of Paris' top male model agencies, manager Patricia Cadiou-Diehl said that for the first time in years she was receiving requests for models aged between 25 and 30, "or who look as if they're over 25."

"We used to get requests for 17-year-olds, which was often a headache as you have to get special permits and parental agreements," she said. "Now, over the last few months, they want boys with bodies, not adolescents."

To find androgynous types the agency had to go looking in Scandinavia, Britain and Eastern Europe. "Boys from Latvia are good," she said. "Because of the mix from all the invasions they look superb, they have an androgynous beauty."

"Most of the new-generation models are hyper-thin and hyper-lanky," she added. "Young people nowadays tend not to be muscle-bound."

Take top model from Brazil, Romulo Pires, a onetime car mechanic with a Cinderella-like story who stumbled into modelling to become the face for Gucci, Valentino and Pepe Jeans, and works the catwalks for Chanel, Dior, Christian Lacroix and Jean Paul Gaultier.

Tall, but slim and not wide-shouldered, he models suits size 48 (UK, US size 38), smaller than the 50s and over (UK, US size 40) seen on the catwalks in the 90s and considerably trimmer than today's average suit-wearing businessman.

But a 48 is closer to real-life sizes than the 46s or smaller recently seen strutting men's catwalks.

In choosing their catwalk models, fashion houses opt for different types of men.

Ungaro, Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint-Laurent, for example, go for good health and masculinity, while Dior favours models from South America with the Latino look, and Jean Paul Gaultier and John Galliano put personality first when casting models for their catwalks.

While Brazilian model Pires says he works out a little when he puts on weight, eating disorders of the kind undermining the female model industry are unheard of with male models.

"Not having pimples is the most important thing," said 25-year-old Pires.

Bad skin, confirmed agency manager Cadiou-Diehl, was the prime health concern for male models. "We call them 'the pimply ones' and advise them to drink lots of water, eat vegetables and fish, and avoid fast food."

Their other cause for concern was poor pay, in comparison to women models, she said, making this probably the world's only profession where women earned more than men.

But Pires, who started modelling at 17 after being talent-spotted by a woman whose tyre he was changing, said life was not too bad. "I'm not rich, but I can afford most things I want now."

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