Sunday, 28 April 2019

You've heard of Twiggy, you've heard of Jean Shrimpton, but have you heard of Peter Gregory, Nicholas Head, Jess Down, David Platt or James Feducia? The Pretty Boys┃Intro Magazine (1967)


You've heard of Twiggy, you've heard of Jean Shrimpton, but have you heard of Peter Gregory, Nicholas Head, Jess Down, David Platt or James Feducia? Probably not, but they're the gorgeous men on our cover, and they can earn just as much as the girls can and they're top models, too. Their lives are just as exciting. Want to know more? Then turn the page; read all about them and the whole male model scene. 

Intro Magazine 1967 Sweet Jane's Pop Boutique
Cover models: James Feducia and David Platt (1967).

Why are our top girl models household names, with powerful influence on the way we dress, make-up and do our hair, while top male models are unknown and unimportant to everyone except magazine and advertisement agencies? The difference is in our attitude. Female models have always been thought glamorously feminine, male models have more often than not been thought simply effeminate. But the attitude is changing. Male modelling's beginning to get glamorous. Successful designer's, actors, and singers are taking it up as a hobby, although there are still boys who admit: ''I don't tell people I'm a model unless I know them very well.'

Why the change in attitude? Two reasons: first, modelling's much more difficult than it was ten years ago; a lot of it is television and advertising work, which requires acting ability and intelligence, not just a toothpaste smile. Secondly, young exciting clothes for men, started by Carnaby Street, have woken up even older men's interest in what they look like. Only the die-hard traditionalist thinks it's cissy to look (and smell) nice, and even girl's magazines often include a man's fashion page. And now, a new male model agency, English Boy, has aroused interest in the whole male scene―no rugged, tanned, big-chested he-men here. Most of the models are pale, thin and long-haired, and include well-known names like Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, actor James Fox, the hon. Julian Ormsby-Gore, and David Mlinaric, the interior designer. 

The Sweet Jane Blog: English Boy Ltd Model Agency head sheet, featuring Julian Ormsby-Gore, Nigel Weymouth, Maldwyn Thomas, and Brian Jones (1967).

Above: A section of an English Boy Model Agency headsheet, which displays a couple of the aforementioned male models on their books. Namely, the hon. Julian Ormsby-Gore, and just seen on the far right is Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones. The layout of the headsheet resembled a full  deck of playing cards spread out over the entire poster, and all of the agency models were each assigned an individual card which represented them, so for example, Maldwyn Thomas was the Jack of Diamonds, Marijke Koger and Simon Posthuma of The Fool Design Collective were given the Joker card, Rufus Dawson was the King of Hearts, Jess Down was the Jack of Clubs and so on, but I particularly love that they printed the photo of Brian Jones on the Ace of Spades! This is just a screenshot of one of the original model agency posters from Hapshash Takes a Trip―a short promotional film clip about the retrospective exhibition of the sixties work of Nigel Waymouth, which took place at The Idea Generation Gallery in London back in 2011. There are some other close-up shots of it in the film, but for those of you who have never seen a complete English Boy Ltd headsheet, you'll find a very good example of one, courtesy of the photographer Heather Harris, whose partner  Mr Twister, was a former model with the agency.


How seriously in the world of advertising is this new-style male model taken? Kelvin Webb of English Boy, with sixty-one male and fifty female models on his books, said they're doing ''marvellously well. We are specialized of course. We're covering the younger market, which no one has catered for up to now. The more sophisticated magazines like Queen , Nova, Town, use us, and our models advertise 'young' products like Coca Cola, cider, cigarettes and so on. Actually, we're mainly interested in film and acting rather than modelling. ''The point about our models is that they aren't just clothes-hangers. They're more natural looking, and have more interesting faces than the old fashioned cheese-cake type.'' English Boy models get a lot of work in Germany, France and Spain because they've got the new gear-y look, but the big advertising in this country is based on American ideas. Advertising campaigns are very carefully thought out-every product has an image, and the male model has to project that image. Although some products, like sports cars or alcoholic drinks require a sophisticated, man-about-town appeal, the products most advertised call for a family image―food of all kind, soap, powders, etc.

Intro Magazine 1967 Sweet Jane's Pop Boutique
Cover Models: Top: Nicholas Head. From left to right: Jess Down, and Peter Gregory (1967).

Scotty's, one of the top model agencies, said: ''The kind of man most used in advertisements has changed over the last three or four years. There's still a call for the big, virile family man, but the trend is to the account executive type, who may have two children but still manages to be young and 'swinging'. This doesn't mean long hair though; two of our youngest models bought very expensive long-haired wigs, but they've only worn them once.'' J.Walter Thompson, probably the biggest advertising agency in the country, described the new type as ''mid―atlantic definitely American influenced. He's still got to be healthy and wholesome looking, but not as 'square' as the old British-dad image.'' Advertising films for television have made a big change in the modelling business, and helped make it more respected, more and more actors are doing part-time model work, and more models need acting ability.  ''Actors used to hate doing television commercials,'' said Peter Benison's agency. ''They said they would never get serious roles after doing commercial work. Now they find that it doesn't really make much difference and, of course, basic modelling fees are nothing compared to  the repeat fees on a big commercial job.'' (Apart from the basic fee, models are paid a repeat fee for every time the film is shown.)''

''The old male model image couldn't work in front of a moving camera―the actors are used to it.'' Apart from acting talent, athletic ability is often needed for films, which can include riding, swimming, rowing, playing tennis or football and dancing. Fashion work is still a big part of the male models life―men's fashion shows and features in magazines provide some work, but the biggest employers of male models are the mail order firms with their 2,000-page catalogues. No English Boy models for them. ''Catalogue work calls for a very conventional masculine appearance,'' said Olympic Enterprises, who have 100 models on their books. But longer hair is creeping in (note: longer, not long). Blaney model agency found: ''Last year they wouldn't touch anyone with long hair, but this year they are featuring more and more sections for the 'modern young man,' and they use boys with longer hair―but not extreme. The great bulk of work is for men who look fairly standard.''

One thing everyone agrees on―the main trend is for more natural, individual looking models, men who can move about and act, instead of standing like shop dummies with a plastic grin. And as their job becomes more skilled and more important on the advertising and fashion scene, they become more respected. There's less room for the amateur, though there are still a great many male models who use modelling as a stop-gap between jobs or a quick way to earn a few pounds. They make the photographer's job harder, and we'll leave the last word to Mike Berkovsky: ''I don't like working with male models at all, although I have to a fair amount. Most of them treat the whole business as a real drag―they are slow, unhelpful and bored. They want the money, but they don't want to do anything for it. The professional boys from the biggest agencies are generally hard workers, but most models are young guys who just won't put themselves out.''

Last minute checks before a photo session: from left, Jess Down, David Platt, and James Feducia (1967). 

What's it like being a male model? Well, it can be very profitable. Top men earn up to £10,000 a year. But if your brother or boyfriend jumps at this, and runs for the phone to ring the nearest agency―tell him to read on first, because it's an expensive business to get into. Look at this list of clothes, which shows the minimum wardrobe a successful model needs. A car is very handy too. A model is rather tied down without one, now that so much work is for advertising films, which may be made on location anywhere from Stonehenge to Tahiti. And it's hard work―a lot of boys who jump at modelling because it's ''money for old rope'' get a rude shock. Standing in an icy stream for six hours, dressed in swimming trunks, in mid-January can change their minds, or even spending a sweltering day under studio lights in a fur-lined overcoat.

Intro Magazine 1967 Sweet Jane's Pop Boutique
A list of clothes, which shows the minimum wardrobe a successful model needs (1967). 

Five of the most ''wanted'' male models. Top: Nicholas Head. From left to right: Jess Down, Peter Gregory, James Feducia and David Platt.

Intro Magazine 1967 Sweet Jane's Pop Boutique

PETER GREGORY, twenty-nine, has been modelling four years. ''I like the life. There's definitely not so much stigma attached to being a male model now, although I still don't tell people what I do for a living unless I know them very well. I generally prefer doing photographic work to anything else.''  NICHOLAS HEAD is twenty-eight, and has also been modelling for four years. He's married to young designer, Sue Locke, who runs a boutique in Chelsea. ''I got into modelling by accident really. I used to act, and I compose music. I like advertising work, I've just finished the big milk advertising campaigns.'' JESS DOWN, is twenty-one, and has been working five months with English Boy. I had some friends there who said they might be able to get me some work, which was fine by me. The English Boy crowd are very much a family. Modelling subsidizes my painting―I average about £25 a week.'' JAMES FEDUCIA, twenty-two, has modelled eight months. ''I dig it, I think it's fine. The main thing I like about it now is that you can come over as a person, and not just a body. This whole idea of male models just being a body, standing there, is beginning to break down.''


Intro Magazine 1967 Sweet Jane's Pop Boutique

BILL CHENAIL, is twenty-one. ''I'm doing a lot of work; in all kinds of fields, particularly films, and not just commercial films. I love the work and like the girl models―especially if you find one you can get on with, though often the amateurs are very nervous. ''Everyone will start using models looking like me soon. We're the new look. Looks are changing a lot. ''Why shouldn't men project love and beauty as well as women?'' 

DEREK NESBITT, is twenty-six. ''My brother began modelling before I did, and it was through him that I started. Before that I was a manager in a commercial firm in Belfast. I came over to the great metropolis, and never regretted it! It's my sole profession now, and I make about £3000 to £5000 a year, though it's difficult to average out. I do a complete cross-section of work from television commercials and magazines to catalogue work and fashion shows. If anything I prefer television because it's more of a challenge. ''Photographers tend to get to know a few models well, and obviously they prefer to use someone they know they can work well with; it saves time, which in this business is very expensive.''

 JON RENN, twenty-six, is an American. ''I've been in England a year and a half. I am primarily a writer, also do film directing and acting, this ties in very well with modelling, as it helps to be able to act. This job is ideal because I only need to work two or three days a week to earn enough to keep me while I get established in other fields. The main thing I have against modelling is the irregular payment; you can do a job and not get paid for six months. ''I mainly do advertisements and TV commercials as I am usually too tall (six foot four inches) for fashion or catalogue work. But my height can help, I can make outrageous clothes look elegant.'

EDDIE SOMMER, twenty-three, has been modelling for fifteen months. ''It's a very insecure life, but the insecurity keeps you on your toes. One sometimes works every day for three weeks, then not at all for a fortnight.  You have to wait ages for the money; but on the Continent they pay you at the end of the day's work.  ''I started out thinking modelling was money for old rope, and in a way it is, but it's tiring. I'd like to do something else, but there's no job with such freedom and good pay. I earn an average over the year of about £40 a week.''

NIGEL WOOD, twenty-three, ''I started modelling almost by accident while studying engineering at university. I'm not really worried about wasting my brain-power, brains are just not particularly valuable in this country. There are more engineering graduates than god jobs. I'm now earning about £3, 500 a year modelling, and I'm in it for the money. ''I don't like telling people I'm a model. They regard you as something apart, and assume you are very conceited, but this is inevitable in a profession where you are selling your looks.''

Several perfect examples of the trend for the new-look 'longer-haired' male models described in the magazine feature above can be found in this kaleidoscopic coffee commercialmade just a year after 'The Pretty Boys' article was published. In my opinion, it seems to embody everything that Mark Palmer, Kelvin Webb and Trisha Locke of the English Boy Agency were striving towards. Very little is known about the film, which is available as part of the BFI's Other Grooves Collection, except that it was produced by the advertising agency Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn in 1968. Intriguingly, someone has suggested via a comment on the BFI's Youtube channel that the male lead model is Bruce Robinson. I'd like to add my two-cents worth to that nugget of new information about the film, by suggesting that the voice-over sounds remarkably like the work of the late, great Ken Nordine


All images scanned by Sweet Jane from Intro Magazine, November 11th, 1967. Original feature by Anne Campbell Dixon. Unfortunately, the photographer was uncredited, but it's quite possible that it may have been the aforementioned Mike Berkovsky who contributed to the interview. I also think it's possible that there was a slight error made in the spelling of the surname and that the photographer referred to is actually Mike Berkofsky. View some other examples of male models from this period in my previous posts ➽ Jess Down: English Boy Ltd Model & Artist (Jackie Magazine, 1969). Dentelle Galler and the King's Road Hippies (Jours De France, 1969). Models sporting the latest military look from I Was Lord Kitchener's Valet in What's Phisticated Then? (The Daily Telegraph Magazine, 1967). Screenshots from the commercial film Good Strong Coffee (1968) by Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn, courtesy of the BFI's Other Grooves.  Operation Venus  (Queen Magazine, 1968). Les Assassins du Bodygraph (Plexus, 1967). Actor Peter McEneryMan on Safari (A Dandy in Vogue, 1967). The Immanence of the PastCavalli Shoes (Queen Magazine, 1969). Michael Fish of Mr Fish Clifford Street modelling his own designs (Queen Magazine, 1968). You'll find some highly recommended reading about the modelling industry from this period and beyond, over on The Model Archives of Marlowe Press, founded by Peter Marlowe in London in 1965. And further reading on the subject via Ellis Taylor's A model’s life in London: Glamour, drama…and a demon lurking. And finally, an ode to long-hair ➽ I wish you'd listen when I tell you now, Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long! courtesy of Brian Wilson

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