While the FashionBeans style icon series concerns itself with the most sartorial of men, it often overlooks those whose style CV pays their way.
Today’s article is an introduction to a new feature that tackles this oversight. Our maiden model profile will size up Britain’s biggest runway export, Mr David Gandy. The feature will break down Gandy’s rise to fame, current portfolio of campaigns, his personal look and how to steal his style in one impeccably garbed swoop.
David James Gandy was afforded his big break in 2001 via a competition on ITV’s This Morning. The contest landed the 21-year-old would-be icon a contract with renowned agency Select Model Management. The competition, hosted by Richard & Judy, was a televised model-search in which Gandy was inadvertently entered by a university housemate. The below video features a short clip at the beginning showing a fresh faced Gandy’s contest victory:
From humble beginnings, Gandy went on to establish himself as a household name, crossing the threshold from model to celebrity. His meteoric rise is even more impressive given that during his breakthrough days the trend was (in his own words) for: “Skinny androgynous guys who had bodies more like girls”, something Mr Gandy’s body certainly was and is not.
In 2006, Gandy was named the muse of Italian design duo Dolce & Gabbana. Shortly after, the one time student from Essex was announced as the face of the famous fashion house’s Light Blue fragrance; not surprising considering his archetypically Italian look.
The campaign launched Gandy as one of the most recognisable faces in the world almost overnight, thanks in part to a 50ft billboard of the now-famous shot in Times Square and a television advert that may still be one of the most recognisable and iconic for women across the globe.
Gandy became known as the embodiment of the brand, making reoccurring appearances in their campaigns and shows throughout 2011. The partnership culminated in the publication of a 280 page photographic book chronicling their years of collaboration.
Famed photographers such as Mario Testino and Steven Meisel have all shot Gandy in a number of settings. His campaign checklist include brands such as Banana Republic, Marks & Spencer, Thom Sweeny, Massimo Dutti, Zara, Gant, Hugo Boss and Lucky Brand Jeans; not to mention various glossy covers for the likes of GQ, Details, Attitude and VMan.
Gandy’s credentials hit a patriotic high at the 2012 London Olympic Games by being the only man on the catwalk during the opening ceremony, the first male to be nominated for the British Fashion Council’s Model Of The Year Award and the first male model to be interviewed on the Jonathan Ross Show:
The accolades of our most recognisable model are almost endless and only serve to support his unofficial title as the first male supermodel. Industry shutterbug Testino himself said: “David has something of what the 1980s supermodels have. He radiates health and positivity. I think he has what it takes to be very big. It’s exciting because it signifies a real shift in men’s fashion. The male model world is changing.”
To see an up to date collection of Mr Gandy’s current campaigns and lookbooks on FashionBeans, click here.
Gandy’s style is definitively masculine; when he’s not providing an astute example of tailored perfection, he’s keeping it simple in well-fitting denim and bold blockbuster leathers.
His style has a minimal edge to it and his tailoring is never overshadowed by an abundance of accessories; they are kept slight, rarely stretching past a pocket square and tie.
Gandy’s nominal approach is evident when dressing down too. While layers are one avenue in creating stylish outfits, a focus on fit and simplistic garments can often achieve the same result. For example, the signature Gandy casual look involves a shearling leather jacket with little more than a t-shirt and scarf for company.
Gandy has a particular penchant for 3-piece suits, utilising them in both formal and smart-casual settings. Shirt wise, he seldom strays from the neutrals and favours a crisp white classic with his tailoring on most occasions.
To get the look, keep the tie simple. Gandy isn’t one to be photographed wearing bold patterned ties and any pattern present is subtle and stylish – similar rules apply when it comes to pocket squares.
Finish the look off with a camel overcoat. Outerwear remains a timelessly stylish option that will elevate any piece of tailoring when layered over the top.
When it comes to dressing down, Gandy does it just as well. Simple, masculine, neutral pieces are combined to create on-point looks that require very little effort or time to curate and perfect.
A rugged shearling aviator jacket forms the centrepiece of this example look. Wear over a plain black t-shirt with slim-fit indigo jeans for a look that anyone can replicate and pull off with consummate ease.
The outfit is left open in terms of footwear choice. Whether you opt for a slightly smarter shoe like a Chelsea boot or something more practical like a hiking boot will all depend on your personal style.
Sitting between the two looks above, Gandy does smart-casual dressing exceptionally well. Leaning towards the smarter side of the divide, Gandy is often seen pairing his beloved tailoring with wholly masculine, casual pieces such as denim, t-shirts and the occasional vest.
He often utilises two thirds of a three piece, or swaps the waistcoat for some knitwear (as shown below). A neutral, textured blazer layered over a cardigan and shirt is a timeless combination that is easily wearable in a variety of circumstances.
For the bottom half; clean, well-fitting denim is favoured alongside a pair of pristine, brown leather shoes. Finally, finish off the look with a neatly folded pocket square for added panache.
This isn’t the first time Mr Gandy has gone under the FashionBeans microscope. A little over two years ago he was the focus of a dedicated style icon piece which hailed his knack for the sartorial.
However, the article features Gandy wearing a number of now-suspect pieces such as deep V-necks and shirts with more than necessary buttons undone. While at the time this was all regarded as very stylish (and Gandy certainly has the body – and confidence – to pull them off) in the modern climate of fashion and style these pieces are now very much frowned upon.
Over the past two years, between today’s article and the previous style icon piece, Gandy has cleaned up these elements of his style. At the same time, other trademarks of Mr Gandy’s dress sense have cemented themselves – such as his penchant for tailoring, classic denim and blazer combinations and avoidance of brash branding.
What is also apparent over time is that Gandy clearly does know how to dress well and understands the importance of good fit and the other age-old adages that so often dictate the realm of the well dressed.
David Gandy began his career as a daytime television contest winner and has now graduated to become one of the biggest models on the planet and a true advocate for British style, both on and off the catwalk.
Moving into 2013, Gandy has been appointed the fashion ambassador for Red Nose Day, subsequently launching his ‘Blue Steel Appeal’, which aptly takes its name from the satirical fashion film Zoolander.
The role will see Gandy head up a fashion committee which holds a place for the esteemed editor of GQ, Dylan Jones, BFC Chief Exec Caroline Rush and famed photographer Rankin, to name but a few. The first act of charity from this appeal will be an eBay auction on March 7th, where a number of ‘money can’t buy’ items and experiences will be up for grabs.
On top of charitable commitments, this year will see Gandy return to the modelling scene with campaigns for Marks & Spencer’s Collezione range and a reunion with Spanish brand Massimo Dutti. Gandy has also reiterated his stance as a true man of taste as he links up with famous whisky label Johnnie Walker as the ambassador for their Blue Label, proving the Gandy brand is no longer limited to fashion.
But now it is time to have your say:
Let us know in the comments section.