Welcome back to Mr. Blasberg's Book Corner, the feature wherein our editor at large Derek Blasberg picks his read of the week, and meets the author. But this week, Blasberg chats with the subject! David Gandy by Dolce&Gabbana is the Italian fashion house’s tribute to today’s icon of male beauty. Blasberg chatted with the Essex boy turned international male supermodel about how his life — and his style — has changed since winning a London modeling competition and becoming the (very chiseled) face of Dolce and Gabbana.
Derek Blasberg: Let's talk a little bit about your biography, David. Anyone who has read a magazine in the past few years knows your face, but probably not your story. David Gandy: I was born in Essex and grew up in a very small town called Billericay. Whilst at university, a friend sent in some pictures of me to a modeling competition where the first prize was a contract with Select Model Management. And I won.
DB: Growing up, did you ever think you could make a living out of having your picture taken? DG: I literally never thought of being in the fashion industry growing up; clothes were more a necessity rather than an interest. I didn't quite realize how much fashion brings into a country's economy until I worked in the industry. It’s billions of dollars, and people will always need clothes. This may be at the luxury end or on the high street, wherever people are going to profit from it.
DB: You've had a prolific relationship with Dolce and Gabbana. Do you remember the first time you met them? DG: Of course I do. It was for a fitting in 2002 for their runway show.
DB: What were some of your first impressions? DG: Funnily enough, the second time I went to the fitting for the show they wanted to cut my hair. I refused and ended up walking out and didn't go back to do the shows in Milan for 4 years. I have huge amounts of respect for Domenico and Stefano now. What they have achieved is astonishing and even after 25 years they still show so much passion for pushing the boundaries of fashion. The majority of the most memorable shoots I have done have been with Dolce and Gabbana. Especially the shooting and filming of the Light Blue fragrance commercials.
DB: Before you worked with brands like D&G, would you have considered yourself a stylish man? Are you more put together now that you've had success in this industry? DG: Working with some of the best creatives in the world of fashion has certainly taught me a lot about style. After 10 years, I probably couldn’t help but subconsciously absorb a lot of information along the way. Last year, I developed an App called "David Gandy's Men's Style Guide" to share what I've learnt with other guys and help with advice and tips on men's styling.
DB: Which do you prefer: a residential space, or a commercial space? DG: Personal spaces are always the most interesting as it gives me "evidence" to go on. A lot goes into making portraits of people in their own spaces, as I feel obligated to tell some kind of story about them.
DB: There's this great quote in the book about which is your favorite part of your body. You say your eyes, but then you admit that you have bad vision and you're color blind. Is there a part of your body that you don't like? DG: Of course. Probably too many to list!
DB: Do you have a favorite picture in the book? DG: Each picture has a story to it. This is the beauty of the book to me. To others it may be just a collection of pictures, but for me it's a collection of amazing memories.
DB: Do you have a favorite fashion experience, like a favorite shoot or a favorite location? DG: New York is very inspiring to me, but the best locations are in Italy: Capri and the Almalfi coast
DB: Do you still go home a lot? What do your friends and family think about your success? DG: I left Billericay when I was 18. I go back now and again to see friends, but my parents moved 6 years ago. But I hope my friends and family are as proud of me as I am of them.
DB: Looking back on your career, if you weren't working in the fashion industry, what do you think you would be doing? DG: Working with animals. Or maybe a motoring journalist.