Starring model Jermaine @mr.bennett19 at Hercules Management @herculesmodels, photographer Alicia Portillo Vazquez @aliciaportillovazquez_ and stylist Flora Leahy @florastylist present in an exclusive story that invites us to see and reflect about masculinity and sexuality under a new lens.
With the V&A as the location, the editorial presents from different approaches the contrast of the standards of male beauty, as well as the subjectivity of the appreciation of this, either through the use of garments that “give bulky shape” to the slim body of the model, as well as the contrast between the acceptable male nudity of the art exhibited in the museum, and the one questioned / not quite allowed by society by questioning the nudity exhibited in the garments and modeling.
Regarding the concept behind the shoot, the stylists commented:
“For Jermaine’s shoot, I was thinking firmly about masculinity and sexuality. Me and Alicia have been discussing the historical pressure on women to fulfill very specific body types and how this fluctuates constantly. We were also discussing how curvy men are often upheld and respected in the media, and have been taking up space in Hollywood for at least way over a couple of decades now. However, it’s really hard to cast plus-sized models who are men.
We played with curves on Jermaine who fits into the lean and conventional stereotypes of male beauty. The V&A was the perfect place to play with these ideas, surrounded by centuries old artifacts where you can see that sculptors have admired the ideal male form, in an almost homoerotic way. It was also an interesting experience because the V&A itself didn’t want us exposing Jermaine’s body, even if it was just his bare chest. It’s funny how all kinds of art, even contemporary pop culture accepts, upholds and often profits off of
nudity in complete contrast to what is acceptable in our day to day lives. You can see this on Jermaine’s Y Project x Jean Paul Gualtier jacket. It’s a print exposing parts of the body – an iconic JPG image.
It was also the first time that Jermaine had worn a skirt and handbag in public We had an intimate discussion together about how clothes uphold your reputation and the way you’re perceived. In my mind, and for many in the fashion industry, men only wearing masculine clothes is very outdated and continues to be challenged every year.”Flora Leahy, Stylist.