Out with hunks

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FASHION -

MUS­CU­LAR, clas­si­cally chis­elled male mod­els are a dy­ing breed as men are ever more cho­sen for thin­ness, even an­drog­yny, in a fash­ion world play­ing with the no­tion of gen­der.

It only takes look­ing back a decade to male fash­ion shows – at Ver­sace, Givenchy, Louis Vuit­ton or Gucci – to see the change on the cat­walk.

Shoul­ders have lost their square­ness, chests have sunk.

Back then, “male mod­els were a lit­tle bit big­ger... not so, so skinny,” said Tri­cia Ro­mani, head of the Cana­dian branch of the Wil­helmina in­ter­na­tional mod­el­ling agency.

Hedi Sli­mane, while at Saint Lau­rent and Dior, was among the de­sign­ers who trans­fig­ured the dom­i­nant vi­sion of the mas­cu­line look into lank, lan­guorous and unique.

“For high fash­ion, that’s def­i­nitely what they want. Very thin, edgy-look­ing guys,” Ro­mani said.

“And they’re de­sign­ing the clothes in that way so if you had a model that was big and mus­cu­lar, that wouldn’t fit.”

Skin­nier, the new ideal male model is also taller, hit­ting up to six feet two inches (1.90m), said Neil Mau­tone, founder and owner of the agency Red Model Man­age­ment.

Along with the fad­ing ideal of mus­cle is the clas­si­cally beau­ti­ful face, for­merly in de­mand for men as well as women.

To­day, ac­cord­ing to Ro­mani, “a male model can be sort of in­ter­est­ing look­ing, or edgy or dif­fer­ent” and be hired even if he does not fall into “a cat­e­gory of plas­tic, beau­ti­ful mod­els”.

With the grow­ing power of male fash­ion, seen in the 2015 launch of the first men’s shows in New York Fash­ion Week, de­mand for male mod­els has ex­ploded.

Be­tween 10% tp 15% of male mod­els find enough work to be em­ployed full-time, com­bin­ing run­way shows, ad­ver­tis­ing, cat­a­logues and mag­a­zines, Ro­mani said.

The top-end mod­els can earn more than US$1 mil­lion (RM4.1 mil­lion) a year, peo­ple in the in­dus­try say, though the best-paid fe­male mod­els can make about 10 times more.

Man, woman, who cares? Re­spond­ing to the grow­ing mar­ket, model agen­cies and de­sign­ers are trash­ing stereo­types and broad­en­ing their pal­ettes, an ap­proach that is also boost­ing eth­nic di­ver­sity, Ro­mani noted.

The new ideal look, the evo­lu­tion of men’s fash­ion and the cur­rent fo­cus on gen­der have blurred the lines be­tween men and women.

That was more ev­i­dent than ever on the New York cat­walks re­cently. Sev­eral shows were de­cid­edly “gen­der fluid”, parad­ing out clothes that could be worn by ei­ther sex.

The street­wise New York brand Hood By Air, a pi­o­neer of the trend, was joined by Dutch stu­dio Mai­son the Faux and Baja East, a New York-based com­pany known for re­laxed lux­ury ap­parel.

For Mai­son the Faux, un-

A model dis­plays a col­lec­tion called “Chubby Chaser” by Nether­lands-based Mai­son The Faux dur­ing New York Fash­ion Week Septem­ber 2016.

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