Scene: A formal networking evening in London, a calm and collected group are assembled to watch a live interview. They listen patiently and professionally until the interview ends – then make a collective run towards the interviewee, pushing and tripping over each other in their haste, butterflies in their stomachs and a blush on their cheeks. But this not Justin Beiber, nor One Direction, and these are not teenage girls but serious journalists and fashion industry professionals.
The cause for all the fuss is David Gandy, styled as the “only male supermodel” and notorious for his Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue ads – a memorable performance in white swimming trunks that is the basis of many a woman’s fantasies.
Gandy is being interviewed by fashion journalist stalwart Hilary Alexander of The Telegraph at an event organised by The Industry London at the Conde Nast’ College of Fashion & Design. Alexander’s questions are those of a pro, but she’s hardly pulling teeth as Gandy is friendly, chatty and forthcoming on every topic from cheating at school, to his salary, and racing around Italy with Yasmin Le Bon.
In fact Gandy almost speaks more of his love of cars than of the fashion industry, and he stresses more than once that he is a person, with a name, not just a clothes horse. It’s clear he won’t be typecast or limited to staying on topic.
Once the fashion crowd have patiently heard about his motoring columns in GQ and Man About Town, and his offer to be a race car driver (not to mention a short plug for a whey Ice-cream whom is working with) Gandy does eventually answer some questions about his experiences in the fashion world.
Coming into the business at a time when male models were thin and pale, Gandy rebelled by bulking up and working on his tan. Some careful manoeuvring on his agent’s behalf put him in the right place at the right time for his big break. Is this case the right place was a Dolce & Gabbanna party and the rest is history.
He took inspiration from the female “supers” particularly Cindy Crawford, and aimed to become more than “The White Pants Guy” and establish a name for himself. As well as his mammoth campaigns for D&G and Marks&Spencer he’s working on short film collaborations with David Schwimmer (Friends) has made two Apps (one for men’s style and the other for fitness) is the face of London Collections: Men and is working with several charitable projects.
At 33 he’s getting on in the modelling world. He still looks fantastic, and I get the opportunity to ask about his grooming regime, he claims to not pay much attention to it, and as he’s infrequently clean shaven doesn’t use many grooming products. He is a fan of Tom Ford’s grooming products though, and says his secret facial treatment is rose oil.
But Alexander does broach the tricky subject of age and asks “what next”. Gandy’s interest seem to lie in cars and journalism, or perhaps a turn at creative direction, the ultimate way to “have a voice”. He admits he’s never been a natural in front of the camera and never sought a career in modelling in his younger years.
He jokes he’d like to do a motoring show, but says with something as established as Top Gear to compete with he couldn’t hope to better it. Alexander speaks for the crowd when she says a female audience would much prefer to look at Gandy than Jeremy Clarkson – it would certainly inspire an interest in cars in even the most disinterested women. A crowd of fashion-ites hanging onto his every word at this event, myself one of them, is certainly proof of that.