Despite its size and complexity, the fashion industry is often reduced to its most glamorous aspects. Players at the highest levels—namely, luxury brands, though their methods go down to just about every level—negotiate with a degree of imagination and ambition. At the heart of this quiet lie, models are an indispensable component of the industry. In the high-end and glamorous finish, the models wear clothing and accessories on the runway, becoming the physical embodiment of the designers’ creative visions. They starred in glossy advertising campaigns, photos littered the pages of magazines and videos scattered on the Internet. On the most effective business level, they wear the clothes you search online for you to consider buying, and their employees provide an example (with different levels of attachment as the models, depending on the design, are beautiful) of how the things look on the body.
The form of the word applied to a person really began to emerge in the 19th century when British fashion designer Charles Frederick Worth showed his designs to real women. The field has changed a lot since then. Fashion shows — those important staged and widely watched events — are a far cry from the commercial events they used to be. They are now for general entertainment—if not in person, then certainly online, as brands have made live streaming standard practice. It’s certainly one of the biggest stages on which a model can be seen and noticed, and some reservations—Prada, for example—have proven groundbreaking career leaps for years.
This means that modeling is a real industry, and the first agencies were created (such as Ford in 1946, and IMG in 1960). What we have said about the aspect of modeling that took this organized form of representation is that we can now trace its influence on beauty standards. We find trends identifiable at different times: Glamazons in the 80s, microwave ovens in the 90s, Brazilian bombs and Russian dolls in the 2000s, etc.
The glaring omission at this point is, of course, that these trends apply to women. Things in menswear change at a slower pace, as do the clothes that are worn. Think about male models for a moment, and David Gandy or Tyson Beckford will definitely come to mind. Decades have passed since these supermodels’ heyday, but the image remains. The thing is, there is one typical appearance that has stayed (almost) the same for decades: a classic masculine square jaw and defined, muscular build.
But only the image prevails. A kind of revolution was launched in the ’90s by two of the most iconic designers of this generation: Hedi Slimane and Raf Simons. There is much alleged rivalry between the two due to similarities early in their careers. But this is indisputable. The two designers created a light, pared-down look for menswear, layering these fashions on “emaciated” boys who looked out of place during the couture shows. These aesthetic concepts can take years to catch up with the times, but to illustrate their efficacy, consider that the late Karl Lagerfeld specifically lost weight to fit into skinny Slimane suits designed for Dior.
The slim figure would eventually become mainstream in menswear, but for the most part, the most iconic images of men’s beauty in fashion remained the same. The transformation began around 2002 in Cologne, Germany, with an independent modeling agency called Nine Daughters and a Stereo, co-founded by Eva Godel. In contrast to the large, interconnected agencies in Europe that traded in bankable buns, Goodell’s agency focused on skinny young boys and street artists. Some of the first bookings were made by designers like Raf Simons and Rick Owens. Then, with a growing taste for skinny, tattooed skaters and kids, she created the Tomorrow Is Another Day agency in 2010.
Enter French model and actor Paul Hamelin. The 27-year-old French multitasker was spotted on his way to an exam in 2014 – coincidentally, by a Tomorrow Is Another Day agent. By then, Hamlin had repeatedly rejected approaches from other scout models, but Goodell’s agency may have had a difference. While Goodell had already been successful for several years, having launched the careers of several male models, the timing of Hamlin’s debut was fortunate.
Rounding out within the brand is the French model who has had the most influence on fashion over the past decade. During the evenings, get to know designer Lotta Volkova, one of the leading members of Vetements. This Spring/Summer 2016 season was the season the Vetements sent the famous DHL jersey down the Parisian runway, and it was the start of a revolution.
In just one season, Vetements has become the catchphrase of the moment. The designs were ridiculously executed and the crew was a breath of fresh air. Instead of catchy traditional models, the people who designed Vetements looked like a whimsical collection, alluring because of each person’s interest and uniqueness. When examining the group for Vogue magazine Runway, Sarah Moore described them as “a beautiful and quirky club for the young and the strong”. Shortly after this exceptional season for Vetements, the brand’s chief designer, Demna, was appointed Creative Director at Balenciaga. Under Demna, Balenciaga has become more than just a fashion hit. The brand became a cultural force to be reckoned with—new items regularly captured the attention (and wrath) of the public, who were essentially introduced to a truly postmodern designer who repackaged difficult questions and notions about taste and luxury for playful and costly purposes. results. Hamlin — who was dubbed a ‘Fitments muse’ in 2017 — walked Balenciaga’s first menswear show under Demna.
So far, this new look for male models has been gracing the runways of several major brands. There is something that people in fashion use to explain the importance of what luxury designers do: drop-down theory. The idea is that what is done in prestigious luxury will, eventually, resonate, to be imitated by the high street and the masses. Now, it’s far from being a reliable model of effect – and these days it seems to flow very strongly in the opposite direction – but perhaps this change in the direction of the model’s flow proved a point.
In the blink of an eye, the look and feel of things changed. Industry-leading clothing, designed and presented to men’s catwalks, has become more diverse, opening up avenues for self-expression and diversity. The models who designed these costumes also increased in appearance at the concert. Miu Miu, who seems to be the trademark girl, has started putting guys on her fashion show. It wasn’t the return of menswear for the brand (which had actually been around for years), but rather Miuccia Prada’s statement that clothes really do work for everyone.
For Hamlin, the whole subject of modeling could be less ambitious and pursued, and more like a successful serendipity. When featured by Vogue in 2016, he was described as having a “shoulder-to-shoulder attitude” toward modeling and preferring to work with friends or on projects that interest him. In fact, since winning voting for Model of the Year in 2017 on Models.com, an online platform that tracks global jobs, Hamline’s overall work rate has slowed. That’s not to say he’s gotten fewer bookings, but Hamlin now seems to be able to do as he said he would. The way he’s propped up in fashion magazines is also changing: He’s been the stylist for many shoots, the exact opposite of the role he’s put behind the camera.
It’s a role model story, but perhaps a testament to the reach and impact of these faces. We hope that diversity continues to be a key conversation in all creative fields – and that the innocence of choices and change will surprise you. One door can often open another, and before you know it, something has changed. From every angle today, culture seems to be catching up. To what? Tough question, but here’s an optimistic answer: Those years of conversations about representation and diversity are finally making an impact, and perhaps men—from the media to emerging celebrities—can unravel the carefully coded notions of what masculinity looks like.
cinematographyEvan Rafik neighborhood
design Alexander Eng
Poetry Sebastien Richard / Artist using Shu Uemura
makeup William Bartel / artist using sko
Fashion design Enzo Selvatici / Talent & Partner
casting director Pour Lucky
model Paul Hamlin/Models of Success
project Candice Carquilon
digital technician Helen Hoyt
Photographer assistant Jean Le Warren, Wilhelm Martin and Brian Banting
Designer assistant Jacob Kotlik
Hire a design assistant Gauthier d’Ercigny
problem Vogue magazine the man Available for sale online And in stores starting May 17, 2023. Pre-order a copy at Shopify today.