Why Is Men’s Fashion Photography Redefining the Image of the Contemporary Male and How Does It Use Diverse Male Sexualities as a Tool in Advertising?

Why Is Men’s Fashion Photography Redefining the Image of the Contemporary Male and How Does It Use Diverse Male Sexualities as a Tool in Advertising?

Why is men’s fashion photography redefining the image of the contemporary male and how does it use diverse male sexualities as a tool in advertising?

The works of renowned photographers such as Hedi Slimane have a heavy impact on prevailing images of male sexualities in fashion advertising, eventually affecting the image of the ideal male in fashion. Male sexualities in high fashion photography can oscillate between the homoerotic or a dominant hetero-masculinity, thus there is usually no middle ground in fashion advertising, especially where artistic direction takes over. Such advertising targets niche “high fashion” audiences and responds to the popularization of sexual themes in other forms of advertising (and indeed wider media), whilst associating diverse sexualities with artistry. Coding in high fashion advertisements affect, but also respond intuitively to, audience sexual ideologies by deconstructing the concepts of femininity and masculinity that have undergone rapid change in our self-reflective and deconstructing postmodern world.

Hedi Slimane’s penchant for androgynous men has significantly heightened popularity for thin male models in the fashion industry. His work usually incorporates explicit concepts of homo-eroticism and femininity inspiring many leading contemporary designers and photographers who saw his designs as radical and surprisingly persuasive” [1].   Indeed, Hedi’s influence on modern fashion aesthetics suggests that “designers everywhere started reducing their silhouettes"[2]. Karl Lagerfeld, who drastically lost weight in order to fit into Hedi Slimane’s clothes (designed to be “modelled by very, very slim boys”[3]) is now one of the most influential figures in the fashion world: a world that preferences feminine males and adopting an androgynous aesthetic. Androgyny is now embraced by other designers and photographers such as Stefano Pilati (for Yves Saint Laurent), Franck Boclet (for Emmanuel Ungaro) and Ricardo Tisci (for...

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