Blue steel appeal

The Philippine Star

September was quite a month for male supermodels. Captured by photographer Bruce Weber, once a model himself, VMAN’s The Grand Reunion story featured five of the industry’s most enduring masculine examples: Andres Velencoso Segura, Brad Kroenig, Jake Davies, RJ Rogenski, and Tyson Ballou. Details, meanwhile, went full force and recruited thirty-one top male models for their cover. Photographed by Mark Seliger, mannequins from Adrien Sahores and Arthur Gosse to Nicolas Ripoll and Noah Mills were part of the issue, all sporting fall-winter 2015 looks from Calvin Klein Collection, Calvin Klein White Label and Calvin Klein Jeans.

The female side of the business has produced single-named superstars—Kate, Cindy, Naomi, Linda, Gisele—but the same could not be said for the boys. When it comes to mononymous male models, household names are conspicuous by their absence as only a few have earned the distinction. (Zoolander, the 2001 comedy starring Ben Stiller about very serious male modeling, is allegedly a twist on the surname of early 90s Dutch supermodel Mark Vanderloo.) Only the most intrepid model watchers—who have links to the fashion world anyway—would most likely know who Janis Ancens, Serge Rigvava, and Mathias Lauridsen are. The rest of the world simply doesn’t care.

Figures from Forbes from the last two to three years show that female models make millions of dollars more than that their male counterparts, a fact made more glaring when comparing the top 10 earners of each gender. The recently retired Gisele Bündchen, for example, took home over $47 million in 2015 while Sean O’Pry, the world’s highest paid male model, made less than 5 per cent of that amount, at over $1.5 million in modeling fees and endorsements.

That womenswear has traditionally received more business attention than menswear is perhaps the main reason behind this stark pay gap, says Fortune. Female-focused fashion trends far outnumber the changes in men’s clothing, which tend to be less seismic and more subtle. British Esquire however, noted in March 2014 that “as the boom in upmarket menswear reaches a crescendo, the men who wear high fashion on the catwalk and in advertising campaigns are becoming personalities in their own rights.”

The male modeling scene does not have the equivalent of Cara Delevigne, but Lucky Blue Smith seems to come close. With 1.2 million Instagram followers, the 17-year-old with glacial blue eyes and platinum hair is perhaps the most followed male model on the social network according to The Telegraph. The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, called him a “star on the rise” with campaigns shot by Annie Leibovitz, Mario Sorrenti and Steven Klein lined up for the rest of 2015.

Details Magazine recruited 31 top male models for the cover of their fall fashion issue.

It appears, too, that David Gandy, Tyson Beckford and Garrett Neff, among others, are following their female peers into the more lucrative world of celebrity and personal branding, where the capacity to earn more is greater and jobs go beyond advertising campaigns and editorial shoots to include working on television and launching new product lines. Introduced via Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue fragrance ad in 2007, the 35-year-old Gandy seems to be the only male model who really has become a household name in recent history. As the Business of Fashion notes, not just any male model has a shot at building a personal brand. It’s vital to have “established longevity and consistency.”

In 2014, Models.com documented the so-called rise of the Asian male supermodel with a portfolio by photography duo Idris & Tony. “Boys like Sung Jin Park, Phillip Huang, JaeYoo and Daisuke Ueda are dynamic in campaigns and editorials alike,” stated the website. In July, Huffington Post Canada also noted “a small but growing group of Asian male models [who] are becoming increasingly familiar across editorial spreads.”

At around the same time as the round of menswear shows for Spring/Summer 2016, British GQ noticed a fresh crop of new faces that they wager will be “big over the coming year.” From 24-year-old Jamaican Abiah Hostvedt, who took some time out for fatherhood before his recent return to the catwalk, to 19-year-old Sol Goss from Norwich, England, the magazine based their short list on the number of appearances at runway shows and on how many of those are for prominent designers. Female models may get the bulk of the attention from the fashion world, but the guys are slowly but surely catching up.












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