Sunday, December 27, 2009

Skinny male models emerge as the prototype (winter '07-'08)

From "The Vanishing Point," by Guy Trebay, New York Times, Thursday Styles, Feb. 7, 2008. (Thanks, Stephen.) Read the entire article here. Be sure to check out the slide show. (Photo: Karl Prouse/Catwalking/Getty Images.)

The last line quoted below may be the most significant.

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...

Wasn’t it just a short time ago that the industry was up in arms about skinny models? Little over a year ago, in Spain, designers were commanded to choose models based on a healthy body mass index...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...

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans are taller and much heavier today than 40 years ago. The report, released in 2002, showed that the average height of adult American men has increased to 5-9 ½ in 2002 from just over 5-8 in 1960. The average weight of the same adult man had risen dramatically, to 191 pounds from 166.3.

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...

In terms of image, the current preference is for beauty that is not fully evolved.

[Model Demián] 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.”

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