So where do I stand on fashion today? I am sadly frustrated by the fact that I am too poor right now to afford any of the pieces I truly crave (as being an adult sadly involves prioritising where my money goes), but instead I read, research and live vicariously through the fashion I see around me. I am also interested in particular brands, particular models and particular styles. Herb Ritts’ and Mario Testino’s photography is effortlessly elegant (although I am quite confident that a lot of effort and vision goes into every shot they take), and even when they are shooting nothing more than a landscape or mundane object, they can transform it into something artistic and beautiful. The things a talented photographer or visionary artist can therefore do with a beautiful canvas are magnificent. Since I was at Oxford, one of my favourite websites has been Made In Brazil because the country is home to the hottest supermodels (who thus get to wear the latest and greatest clothes), breathtaking beaches and intriguing music sub-genres (such as baile funk). The weather looks endlessly superb (even in winter), but there’s something more than all of this which retains my attention. There is an effortless sexiness, sensuality and freedom which Brazil appears to have in abundance – I have such high hopes for the country when I visit it, and Rio de Janeiro is my top desired holiday destination. Whether dynamic and lively or cool and detached, Brazil really does seem to be able to do it all.
I said that the sexiest supermodels come from Brazil, and one has to look no further than Gisele Bündchen or Rafael Verga to see what I mean. But another iconic male supermodel has recently come to my attention, although I did know about him for ages. Working at the Perfume Shop, we sold Light Blue Pour Homme as one of our staples, and I became familiar with the picture of a tanned Italian man in white briefs, his crotch thrusting forward into the camera. It was at once provocative and seductive, but because I don’t particularly enjoy the fragrance, I didn’t engage with the model in the picture beyond a superficial acknowledgement that yes, he was very sexy. I however have an affinity for lush coffee table books, and for my last birthday I bought myself David Gandy by Dolce & Gabbana.
I have since taken more active notice of Gandy (who turned out not to be Italian at all, but a Brit just like me!) in various D&G campaigns advertised around London, and through his presence on magazine covers such as Attitude. But this book was special – a hardback, blue cloth-bound masterpiece. I couldn’t resist it. Page after page of professional photos by Mariano Vivanco, Mario Testino, Steven Klein and more – it was beautiful. Not just because of Gandy himself – who is utterly stunning, and whose body I would love to have but almost certainly never will achieve anything approaching it – but the range of pictures and the moods they evoke, from casual intimacy to full-throttle seduction and everything in between. Plus more practical snapshots of life on the catwalk, on the red carpet, and alone in a hotel room. Gandy and his book tell us not just about the clothes and style of Dolce & Gabbana, or about what it means to be a supermodel, but also about masculinity (both traditional and modern) in its many guises, and how a model and photographer go about capturing it.
Another coffee table book that Toby bought me for Christmas was Gucci – The Making Of,
which details the brand’s signature fashions and the models / celebrities who wear them, but also goes beyond that. It documents the genesis of the brand and its forays into clothing, accessories, fragrance and more. I haven’t finished reading the whole book, but it is a celebratory piece of work that is both elegant and informative. Don’t get me wrong though; I don’t just enjoy reading giant, expensive books. I also enjoy reading giant, expensive magazines, and my taste in fashion magazines tends towards those that have both innovative and/or alluring photoshoots and detailed, intelligent articles. As well as the aforementioned L’Officiel Homme, for the above I also enjoy POP and particularly LOVE magazine. I have been recommended Velour magazine, so I will try to get hold of that one too. Sometimes it feels decadent spending £6 on a magazine that has a great deal of adverts and pictorial content, but some pictures can speak a thousand words, and it keeps my thoughts and tastes provoked, as well as deepening my working knowledge of fashion. In a way, I am conducting my own study into fashion, and while it’s nowhere near academic, I enjoy developing my knowledge and instincts.
So that is my evolution in terms of fashion, from my childhood to the present day. I feel that it shows a great deal of who I am and who I have discovered myself to be, and I look forward to reacting and interacting with fashion in the years to come.