2 posts tagged "Bianca Balti"
David Gandy was voted one of the world’s sexiest men by not one, but two British women’s magazine’s last year (Glamour and Cosmopolitan). He’s also ranked second on Forbes’ list of top-earning male models. When I sat down with the gent from Essex to talk fragrance (specifically Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue, for which he is the face and body), I was surprised at how dually down-to-earth and driven the man behind the muscle actually is. He strives to be on par with female supermodels, but he isn’t afraid to “flop like a seal” at a photo shoot with Bianca Balti and Mario Testino. Here, his thoughts on scent and why he’ll never fully embrace the iPhone.
You changed men’s modeling and helped designers embrace a more muscular physique. How do you feel about altering the face of an industry?
It’s an honor that people say that, but you can’t really put it down on just me. It was the genius of Dolce & Gabbana and Mario Testino—they came up with that concept of going against form in the modeling industry. Once a trend works, they all follow. [The campaign] worked for Light Blue, so everyone else—from Armani to Calvin Klein—all tried to copy the same thing. So yes, it has changed a lot. I really kind of hope I paved the way for guys, not just as using a more masculine man…but really competing with the female supermodels and not being complacent with or satisfied with what we have. Women are being paid so much more and they have so much more acclaim as female models. I was like, “Why is this?” The men usually don’t take it as serious as the women and they don’t have a business mind. We can compete with them; we can brand ourselves; we can be the ambassadors for [labels] instead of just modeling for them. In that way I hope I have changed [the industry].
You shot with three different models thus far for various Light Blue campaigns. How does the dynamic change on set, and is there a Light Blue woman who stands out as your favorite?
A favorite—I can’t possibly say. First of all, when we did the Light Blue with the first girl [Marija Vujović], we didn’t know the impact it was going to have. It was all very new and we didn’t know each other. Then we shot the second one with Anna [Jagodzińska] and had big shoes to fill. We got on very well, had a great laugh, and the second one was probably the most fun. Now, with Bianca [Balti], the dynamic has slightly changed. In the first two [campaigns], I was the domineering Mediterranean man, and in this one, she’s the Mediterranean Latin woman—she’s more domineering of me. The shoot with Bianca—she’s so lovely to work with—but she is the definition of that Latin Mediterranean woman. She is the one who fits the mold best.
Which Dolce & Gabbana fragrance is your favorite on a woman?
You are going to think this is so cliché, but actually I still love the women’s Light Blue. It’s just a classic fragrance. When [I] first started negotiating with Dolce & Gabbana and they said it was for a fragrance with P&G and we didn’t know what it was, my mom said, “Wouldn’t it be funny if it was Light Blue because that’s the one I use.” It turned out that it was the Light Blue for men. It was such a strange coincidence, but it was one of those coincidences in life that makes you say, “I wonder if that was meant to be?”
So when you smell Light Blue, does it remind you of your mother?
No, it reminds me of the first time we shot, really…Light Blue just takes me back to that first trip to Naples and Capri.
Where do you spray cologne?
I’m probably quite traditional, so around my neck. My girlfriends say that when they wear my clothes, they can smell me, Light Blue.
What about on a woman? Where should a woman spray fragrance—perhaps someplace more risqué than just the pulse points?
Oh, God, I don’t know. That’s for me to know and her to know, I think. A fragrance on a woman is so important to me. There is nothing worse than when you really like someone but can’t stand that fragrance they have. It’s quite weird when you miss someone and you smell that [scent] on someone else—it totally takes you back to that person.
As far as shooting the latest campaign, you said that you are playing the secondary role to a stronger female counterpart, so what was that like?
It was not the easiest shoot because the weather didn’t really play ball, but just standing up on the boat was tricky for both of us because it was so rocky. Even when the weather became beautiful the sea was still quite rough, and that was the first time we’ve had that. It was quite comical; we were in hysterics trying to stand up. You have to look domineering and sexy and everything else, but Bianca was falling all over the place and I was trying to hold her up. Mario was shouting at us to try and look sexy, and try and do this, and try to do that—it was quite funny. On the video [spot for Light Blue], I have to [pull] myself [onto] the boat. If anyone has tried that, [they know] there is not an elegant way of doing it—it’s one of the hardest things to do.
You made it look relatively easy.
Well, after many, many takes. The [raft] was connected to a speedboat, and we were going around and around. Once it would be in position, they shouted, ‘David, go again,’ and I was being absolutely torn to pieces by the sea. I put my arm in [the boat] just so I didn’t have to keep treading water, and then [the director] said to the speedboat, ‘Go!’ My arm was still [attached], so it dragged me off. Everyone was saying, ‘No, David’s connected!’ By that stage, we were laughing so much anyway and Bianca was in hysterics.
How many takes did you need to get that shot?
I didn’t want to hang around too long, but it was probably four or five takes. But you get exhausted after treading water and having to [pull] yourself [onto] the boat. The first time I did it, I looked like a seal—I was sort of flopping on, but [eventually I was able] to do it more eloquently.
Fragrance aside, what is the rest of your beauty regimen like? What are your skincare must-haves?
There isn’t much to it. It went everywhere for some reason when I said in an interview that I use rose oil, but really it’s because I fly so much—you know how it is, it just dehydrates the skin. A makeup artist asked if I ever tried organic rose oil, and I said no, so she put that on my face and it worked wonders. It’s my little secret. Otherwise I just use moisturizer, fragrance, a bit of hair gel, and that’s about it.
What’s your go-to hair gel?
The one at the moment is an Aveda product that’s not even mine. It’s actually my hairstylist’s. He’s got that one and he mostly does the hair—I leave that to him, he’s the expert.
You are traveling so much for your job, so what do you pack? What’s one of your must-haves that you always bring with you?
For some reason, I have a bag of chargers. I don’t know about everyone else, but everything needs to be charged, so I have a separate bag of these chargers that seems to take up half my bag and all the adaptors for them. My Mac goes everywhere with me—that’s probably my one savior with communication, but really, if I could not lose anything, its my BlackBerry. I would rather lose my wallet and my cards than my BlackBerry.
Interesting that you’re a BlackBerry man. You won’t switch to the iPhone?
I love the iPhone, but if they come out with a keyboard I’m there. It takes me about a half hour to type one message with fingers and thumbs. It’s really great for slight hands, but my thumbs cover half the screen. I think I’m going to be one of those people who have two—the BlackBerry and the iPhone—so you have all the apps, you have everything. I have my own iPhone application, that’s the thing; I actually have two of them. But I can just go down the road and use my keyboard and not even look where I’m going and type a message. It’s quite amazing in the fashion industry how so many people still have BlackBerrys. I mean, we are on the forefront of design and trends, and everyone comes in and gets their sneaky little BlackBerry out—it’s still old school.
I like a guy who appreciates the classics.
One whiff of Dolce & Gabbana’s iconic Light Blue fragrance, and it’s easy to see why the Sicilian-citron, Granny Smith-apple, jasmine, bamboo, amber, and musk eau has remained a best seller for twelve years. The scent is lighthearted, boasting a certain effervescence that allows it to be unobtrusive while still making a lasting impression. “When you smell it, you smell summer,” says Bianca Balti, the latest face of the iconic scent, whose Mario Testino-lensed ads, shot in Capri, just started to appear in glossies worldwide. A first for Balti—a season-spanning favorite of the Italian design duo who has fronted a number of their fashion campaigns but never a fragrance—the images feature her golden limbs alongside those of male model extraordinaire David Gandy as the two lounge around the Mediterranean island. Here, the model reveals how she wears her Light Blue, as well as summer hair remedies to live by.
How does this scent embody the spirit of the Mediterranean climes featured in its ad campaign?
It’s not because of the campaign or the TV ad that we think about the Mediterranean with this fragrance. When you smell it, it’s really citrusy—lemon. When you smell it, you smell summer. Then comes the Capri sentiment. If I have to think about a woman who wears it, it’s more of a teenager. It’s like the excitement of holidays from school. It’s fresh and bubbly, like the flirtation when you’re a teenager, and you fall so much in love for a week with a guy you meet when you’re on vacation with your parents, and then you never see that guy again! It’s so strong, but fresh. There are not very similar fragrances. It suits you better in summer, but if you put it on with gray skies, then you feel a little bit of summer, too.
Are your summers, as I imagine them based on these ad images, all bronzed limbs, beautiful beaches, and gorgeous white bikinis?
I’m Italian. I go to the beach. I put SPF 50 on, but I get tan anyway. You need to keep your skin safe, but you know, my whole routine is under the sun, diving in the water, under the sun, diving in the water…
Where does fragrance factor in? Where do you apply it—and when?
[I apply it] everywhere. After I get out of the shower, I put on the perfume, and then after, when I get dressed, when I go to the mirror to check [myself] out. I spray it and walk through it so it gets on my clothes and in my hair—just in case. My bag is usually already really heavy, so if I take the perfume, it’s too much. That’s why I put a lot on in the morning.
What are your other big beauty indulgences?
When I lived in New York, I got a manicure and pedicure twice a week—I loved it. I relaxed, I read magazines. Even if I didn’t need it, I loved it. In Italy, it’s different. You don’t have that kind of walk-in process.
What about makeup? Do you never leave the house without foundation, mascara, et cetera?
Working so much, I don’t put so much makeup on myself. I go with no makeup to shoots, and then when I take a shower, I moisturize my skin, and I do a hair mask. My hair gets very much stressed-out, and that stresses me out. I’m really obsessed with my hair. I feel like I had twice the amount of hair that I have now before I started modeling.
What kind of mask do you use?
I put a lot of oil [on]—whenever I fly, even through the night—and wash it out the morning after. If I don’t work for three days, I keep it in for three days, comb it, and put my hair in a chignon. It just looks really clean. On flights it’s great because it’s so dry. I try to keep my hair moist, and the more it’s moist, the less I have split ends. I started with the Argan oil when I went to Morocco. That’s when it all started. But sometimes it’s hard to wash it out, so I use the L’Oréal [Elvive] Extraordinary Oil. It absorbs very fast, so it doesn’t dirty the pillow—and it washes out very easily.