Over the very hazy weekend, British supermodel extraordinaire David Gandy stopped by Singapore for a special appearance at Sephora ION on behalf of Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue fragrance. The face of the brand since he burst on to the modelling scene in 2006, Gandy credits that first campaign, shot by Mario Testino as the springboard for his long and diverse career in fashion.
Having arrived on Saturday and headed straight out of the country Sunday night following his appearance, Gandy still found time for a quick sit down where he discussed his many interests and career and what it would take to make him give that all up for a movie (note: not Fifty Shades of Grey).
On his relationship with Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana:
It was the first show I ever did so we’re talking about 13 to 14 years. It’s very rare to have that kind of loyalty from a brand or vice versa. But we have achieved a lot together from Light Blue to the book, David Gandy by Dolce & Gabbana. The reason has to be Domenico and Stefano themselves. They still manage their brand and I’ve learned from managing my own brand that that’s very important. A lot of designers have stepped down like Calvin Klein and recently, Ralph Lauren. But Dolce & Gabbana (D&G) are still like a family.
What has he learnt from D&G when it comes to his own brands:
When it came to designing my own label for Marks & Spencer, Domenico and Stefano were the first guys I contacted to get advice from, and to ask them what they thought. In that way our relationship has evolved. I don’t work as much with them or see them as much as I used to as I only really do Light Blue, but we’re always in contact and that’s good.
On his most memorable modelling experience:
I’ve got quite a few stories, having done this for 14 years, but the Light Blue shoot was still the most memorable because I wouldn’t be here without it. I worked very hard to be on that shoot, to work with Mario Testino and D&G, so there was a lot of pressure. I was absolutely nervous! But sometimes I think that’s a good thing because it makes you work a little bit harder, it gets the adrenaline going.
His fragrance choices:
I can’t remember what the first perfume I used was. It was probably horrendous, something very cheap and didn’t smell very good. Now I like to change my fragrance up, whether it’s a certain time of the year, or from morning to evening. Light Blue is very fresh and vibrant so it’s very light and strong and good for the day. In the evening I like something more deeper and muscular. A fragrance is a great accessory, I don’t feel great if I forget to put aftershave or cologne on. It’s part of an outfit like your watch, part of the lifestyle.
His tips for men when choosing fragrances:
Fragrances are great for elevating the mood and I think a lot of men are learning to do that more. Most men have only one fragrance they use all the time but it’s about having two or three to build an outfit, whether its about the day or the time. I think it’s about finding what you like and choosing a few that are different. But you have to discover which one works for you. Every fragrances smells differently on a person, so it’s about learning and trying to find what you like and what works for you.
His ultimate grooming tip for men:
Guys need a good hairdresser. It’s like finding a good mechanic, you just hold on to them. So many people put lots of product in their hair, but it’s not so much about finding a good product as it is about finding a good person.
The differences in being a designer in addition to being a model:
You don’t see the “other side” as much as a model. You tend to turn up, wear the clothes and bed one. You don’t see the months of work, or in the case of Marks & Spencer, the year of planning ahead. There is a lot of research and foresight that has to be done to get the right product and the right fit.
Now that I’m involved in the design process, I scrutinise things right up to the shoot and change it on the spot if I’m not happy. I’m involved in the creatives, in creating mood boards, sending ideas to people etc. So it’s a lot more than just turning up and having everything done for you.
Building a successful brand:
If you are going to have your own branding and your own image you need to have that level of control. Otherwise, it’s very slow to build a brand but it can be very quick to fall. So if you have the wrong image or the wrong photography, people can get the wrong idea very quickly. We have to work to meet my standards — and I have quite high standards.
On what being a model has enabled him to do:
Modelling has allowed me to experience and pursue my passions like writing and racing, restoring houses and cars and power boating [to name just a few of Gandy’s hobbies and exploits]. And of course, the charities — without fashion I wouldn’t have the power to help raise money for these charities.
Whether he ever plans to go into acting:
Acting is fun and challenging. Sometimes you turn up to a shoot and there’s no challenge and it’s just a normal fashion shoot — that gets a bit mundane and boring after 14 years. When you’re playing a character it’s a lot more exciting. I’ve been offered [film] roles, I was sent the Fifty Shades of Grey script before a lot of people…but there’s been nothing that’s really tempted me. I’d have to give up probably six months of my life to do a film and that would be hard. The film would have to be very very tempting.
What ambitions does he have for the future:
I just bought a shoe company (David Preston’s) that should be ready to go online or for launch in early January so that’s what I’m working on at the moment. That will be a very difficult thing to start — to brand something that rivals the likes of Saint Laurent and Tom Ford. Apart from that I’m not sure, perhaps a standalone brand that gives me complete control and power over what I do. Again that’s a big, big endeavour and it might be something I never ever get around to. But I’m still thinking about doing it.
D&G Light Blue for men and women is available at Sephora at ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn, Singapore 238801, www.dolcegabbana.com