Chicago Tribune
Byline: Sophia Dembling

The fashionable faces of male models these days have something in common with the women: They're not just pretty, they're interesting. The noses are pronounced; foreheads high; hair long and dark; looks mysterious, offbeat.

The Ken-doll hunks that have dominated the industry for years are being replaced by such unclassic-looking men as Ben Shaul and Todd Gordon.

"Guys who look like models are out," says Chris Forberg, co- owner of New York modeling agency Ice Represents. "The age of the pretty boy is over. Interesting is the key. Character is more important than beauty."

His partner, Jeni Rose, adds, "For so long, male models looked not like men look. (But) a super-pretty man looks sort of odd."

Ben Shaul by Steven Meisel, 1988

Martha Maristany, model editor for GQ magazine, says the change is noticeable in the editorial pages of the magazine and the advertisements. "I think people just relate better to the real look of the men," she says.

"Years ago, they used to be very plastic-looking." Now, she says, "it's a mixture. There are models from every part of the world. It's real-looking guys that, if you saw them walking down the street, you wouldn't think they were models."

Page Parkes, owner of Model's Rep in Dallas, says, "The men, I think, are even more distinctive, as far as editorial goes, than the women. "With women, you can almost always find something beautiful. With men, their features are so out of proportion-larger noses, large foreheads, strange haircuts with the volume on top, making their heads look longer. It catches
your attention."

This trend in men's looks has been around for a few years now, and Forberg attributes it to megastar photographer Bruce Weber: "He was the first one to photograph real men who look like men." But Kenn Harvey, co-owner of New York agency Boy Girl, thinks this trend also may pass.

Todd Gordon for Andrew Fezza by Masaaki Takenaka, 1988

"In truth, although men have gotten so much more strong, I believe it's going to return to a softer kind of man soon," he says. "In reality, we work in a very conservative market."

The shape of the trend to come, speculates Harvey, will be toward more classic-looking faces. "I wouldn't say effeminate," he says. "I'd say more straight-handsome."

Perhaps all things do pass, particularly in fashion. But right now, the trend in models and fashion photography is what Parkes calls "lifestyles"- real-looking people doing real things.

"Models look just like you and me," she says, "except they fit the clothes better." -

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