Sunday, September 13, 2009


Warriors 01

What do you see when you look at this picture? Homoeroticism? Another tired, erotic editorial? Do you see cheap objectification of the male form? The revenge of women's lib? Lust? Admiration and jealousy? Would you like to spit at it?

Warriors 02

Of course, fashionistas will tell you that the general feeling of uneasiness pictures like this bring is what makes image-making more fun and challenging. They push boundaries, besides the fact that they coincide with the burgeoning of the menswear industry.

Warriors 03

The good thing about these images is that they show beauty from another perspective, which doesn't always have to be charged with sex.

Warriors 04

While bondage has been created by men and initially exploited in images of women, I must admit that it is still quite disconcerting to see roles reversed: for the predator to become the prey, though of course this has always been the case in a world without women...

Warriors 05

Mind you, I do not find all of these images interesting. Some are already twice removed from "original" (if that is possible) pastiche.

Warriors 06

Some I am partial to.

Warriors 07

The equation is age-old: man = muscle = animal. The masculine should be harnessed.

Warriors 08

Of course, since that is too convenient, another is adopted: man = woman, therefore harness with a bodice.

Warriors 09

I suppose this proposes that rope isn't just for choking; you must also wear it.

Warriors 10

Warriors 11

This is the best image to tell you what the stylist is really up to: the bride is the groom who comes to mourn his/her own wedding = the man is the woman who refuses to see his own beauty, thus he is shackled.

Warriors 12

This image, on the other hand, has no point.

Warriors 13

This nearly escapes one too, but you can see that he is meant to be a horse.

Warriors 14

Bondage is real and its implications are beyond the sexual. Its psychological resonance deep and complex.

Warriors 15

That's why editorials like this can be quite disappointing when all stylists and photographers can do is reference over-used images of St. Sebastian (no matter that this one is in a shredded tank and panties).

Warriors 16

And are these rectangles supposed to be provocative? I understand that the magazine is circulated in Japan, which is not tolerant of such exposure, but the archaic imagery evoked is lost because of the red intrusion. Another pose? Doesn't he make you imagine a goalkeeper in Roman times?

Warriors 17

Though this next picture may be a portrait of a senator from the Star Wars Galactic Republic, his eyewear rather looks like something from one of Lavazza's teaspoon posters.

Warriors 18

Warriors 19

Here is the complete picture of an earlier image. But why the candles?

Warriors 20

I love the boots.

Warriors 21

You see how the addition of the Vogue logo changes the image? Besides improving the composition, did the picture suddenly and curiously become "relevant"?

Warriors 22

Here's a short recap.

Warriors 23

Warriors 24

Warriors 25

Warriors 26

Now it's time for inversion of a different kind.

Baptiste 01

Baptiste Giabiconi, Karl Largerfeld's latest male muse, needs no introduction. Here he his photographed for Purple magazine once again by the designer of Chanel — not just in dresses but also in heels, and nothing else.

Baptiste 02

This is more provocative than the first editorial, though some may say that this is certainly not original.

Baptiste 03

Except for the hair, it seems his legs were made for heels. Agree? Of course it is another thing to reconcile them with the rest of him.

Baptiste 04

Baptiste 05

All it takes are heels and some props, like a wineglass, to make you look again. And stare.

Baptiste 06

At least Karl Lagerfeld has some sense of humor necessary to keep fashion fun and fresh.

Baptiste 07

Otherwise, this would be more Gods and Monsters.

Baptiste 08

You're supposed to have been won over by now.

Baptiste 09

Light-headed enough to be prepared for this.

Baptiste 10

Or even this.

Baptiste 11

Well maybe not this, but you get the point.

Baptiste 12

Beauty is many-sided. It is equivocal.

AHP 01

Even if it is terrifying and disturbing.

The quote of course, used as a banner for this Arena Homme Plus editorial, was better stated by Arthur Rimbaud: "Life is elsewhere."

AHP 02

And it is. Given a world of pain, corruption, and violence.

AHP 03

It is easy to see these images as nothing but an excuse for blatant titillation. But it's not. Otherwise all the models would have been naked all the time.

AHP 04

Things are not what they seem. There are layers of meaning.

AHP 05

Outwardly, violence can be seen as an act of pleasure for some, a twisted form of hedonism.

AHP 06

Violence. It is always associated with men, with the male, with masculinity.

AHP 07

It is physically dictated.

AHP 08

War, the military, torture, humiliation: all inflicted by men.

AHP 09

Who have themselves kept silent about it, kept conflict in.

AHP 10

AHP 11

Sure you see an ass, and many things besides.

AHP 12

Sure you say these images are just meant to sell stuff.

AHP 13

But these images dig deep into the collective psyche, the zeitgeist.

AHP 14

Only artists can represent themes that make the clothes secondary.

AHP 15

Studs and rings and rivets may have been prevalent in various pieces of many labels, but designers have merely responded to what's been happening around.

AHP 16

The truth is still muffled and restrained in a straightjacket.

AHP 17

It is held hostage and strangled.

AHP 18

The pictures here represent recurring events. (This one reminds me of an Italian painting of the great fire in Rome.)

AHP 19

This one is more than just about lace and patterns. It is about fear and confusion.

AHP 20

The hazy prospect of peace?

AHP 21

The state as the modern-day inquisitors and crusaders out to persecute their labeled heretics.

AHP 22

AHP 23

The soldier as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

AHP 24

AHP 25

War has no endgame.

AHP 26

Only munitions and casualties and temporary victors.

AHP 27

AHP 28

Past crimes cannot be buried.

AHP 29

I bet you're wondering how I'll explain this. I'm sure it's plain fancy.

AHP 30

But the editorial is clever enough to turn things around: violence begins in the home, in one's bedroom.

AHP 31

AHP 32

And so did David Bowie, but this is more about the vanity of all of it.

AHP 33

Good and bad, messiahs and demons.

AHP 35

The Animal Farm begins in one's own barn.

AHP 36

Or yard.

AHP 37

No image is as innocent as it seems.


thestylemarker said...

eh-em-gee! i heart this compilation! i smell testosterone! when can you have yours el bosquejo? XD

Jesse Sandoval Gomez said...

I dont think I would have ever thought of posting such editorials due to people not understanding them. however, you did a great job explaining each one perfectly. Cheers! these are great compilations indeed.

Miguel Paolo Celestial said...

Jesse: I'm glad you like the set.

Alex said...

What a fantastic post. It was worth the risk!

And Lagerfeld is a genius, it was so obvious, but that's why it works. I had bells ringing in my head: "of course! High heels!"