Sunday, February 10, 2008

Now Anorexic Male Models

It is hard enough coming out later in life, but now the fashion industry is pushing an “ideal” male body type that almost none of us older guys can achieve: “an urchin, a wraith or an underfed runt” to quote from the New York Times ( For years the fashion industry has sent women the warped message that they need to be near anorexic in build to be beautiful, sexy, etc., causing who knows how much emotional anguish among teenage girls and young women. Now the trend is headed that way with men - yet meanwhile most stores seem to stock nowhere near enough smalls and mediums (e.g., locally, the sizes of clothes in the otherwise very nice men’s department of the Dillard’s at MacArthur Mall would make you believe everyone shopping there is obese. Often I cannot find anything that doesn’t look ridiculously large on me). Note: Demian Tkach who is mentioned as being considered borderline too heavy in the article is pictured in the black and white photo. He looks pretty good to me. :) Here are some story highlights:

Then a funny thing happened. The models were also downsized. Where the masculine ideal of as recently as 2000 was a buff 6-footer with six-pack abs, the man of the moment is an urchin, a wraith or an underfed runt. Nowhere was this more clear than at the recent men’s wear shows in Milan and Paris, where even those inured to the new look were flabbergasted at the sheer quantity of guys who looked chicken-chested, hollow-cheeked and undernourished. Not altogether surprisingly, the trend has followed the fashion pack back to New York.

Wasn’t it just a short time ago that the industry was up in arms about skinny models? The models in question were women, and it’s safe to say that they remain as waiflike as ever. But something occurred while no one was looking. Somebody shrunk the men. “Skinny, skinny, skinny,” said Dave Fothergill, a director of the agency of the moment, Red Model Management. “Everybody’s shrinking themselves.”

This was abundantly clear in the castings of models for New York shows by Duckie Brown, Thom Browne, Patrik Ervell, Robert Geller and Marc by
Marc Jacobs, where models like Stas Svetlichnyy of Russia typified the new norm. Mr. Svetlichnyy’s top weight, he said last week, is about 145 pounds. He is 6 feet tall with a 28-inch waist. “Designers like the skinny guy,” he said backstage last Friday at the Duckie Brown show. “It looks good in the clothes and that’s the main thing. That’s just the way it is now.”

Nowadays a model that weighed in at
191 pounds, no matter how handsome, would be turned away from most agencies or else sent to a fat farm. Far from inspiring a spate of industry breast-beating, as occurred after the international news media got hold of the deaths of two young female models who died from eating disorders, the trend favoring very skinny male models has been accepted as a matter or course.

For models like Demián Tkach, a 26-year-old Argentine who was recently discovered by the photographer Bruce Weber, the tightening tape measure may cut off a career. Mr. Tkach said that when he came here from Mexico, where he had been working: “My agency asked me to lose some muscle. I lost a little bit to help them, because I understand the designers are not looking for a male image anymore. They’re looking for some kind of androgyne.”


Java said...

That isn't right. C has struggled with anorexia, and it is a bitch. They call her Anna.
I hope this trend doesn't continue. It is extremely unhealthy. Besides, I like the ones who look healthy, like the guy pictured on the left up there. Definitely hot property! Your Male Beauties are usually slender but not skinny and urchin-looking. Oy.

VaB251 said...

So, what do you suggest we do about it? Should we boycott and picket the designers who cherish the waife? Should we all start using heroin? How about sewing our own clothes and/or becoming drag queens?
I'll just continue with Dockers and a polo shirt.