Milan Responds


Nate Gill at D&G Spring/Summer 2010. Pic

Milan was awash with color and we don’t mean on the clothes. After last season’s dismal lack of models of color on the runway and the subsequent Guy Trebay article in the Times (Mr. Trebay called it a “Whiteout”), men’s show week in Milan has responded with one of the most diverse seasons in recent memory.

17 of the industry’s more recognizable and new male faces of color were at the top shows. The most notable was relative newcomer, the handsome David Agbodji opening and closing Calvin Klein, a homerun for any new model. Another top face was Nate Gill the beautiful young American model walking in 6 shows in Milan his first season. Three (yes, count them 3!) Asian models had a presence in Milan. Runway regular Philip Huang was joined by Allen Tsai and newcomer Simon Tham who closed Bottega Veneta.

Bottega, along with Gianfranco Ferre, Gucci and Missoni (4 of the brands whose runways were marked by Mr. Trebay last season as notably lacking in color) DID include various models of color this season. But Burberry, Jil Sander, Prada, Roberto Cavalli and Trussardi? Still nothing.

Maybe they should take a cue from Calvin Klein, one of the most successful and recognizable “brands” in the world. The Calvin brand has not only embraced inclusiveness (witness the current cK One fragrance campaign and cK F/W 09 campaign), the men’s and women’s shows actually make an effort to discover and support new faces of color (Lyndsey Scott, Courtney Taylor and Henry Watkins are three that come to mind). Versace and Giorgio Armani are 2 other iconic brands that also have a great mix of models.

We absolutely understand that the other designers may have a certain “aesthetic” in mind when it comes to their brand but in this market, the buying public holds the key to these luxury designers’ continued success. If the customer feels like the designers can’t be bothered to make an effort to show a range of faces, the customer may just decide to spend their dollars with brands that do. And while these 17 models (with about a dozen more not listed) are a fraction of the 300 plus models in Milan, we hope that they are at the forefront of a generation of models that won’t consider this an issue anymore.

Allen Tsai– Emporio Armani, Missoni
Courtney Taylor– Calvin Klein
David AgbodjiOpened and closed Calvin Klein
Dominique Hollington– CP Company and Versace
Ger– CP Company (with Boss Models)
Henry Watkins– Calvin Klein
Ibrahim Baaith– Etro, Vivienne Westwood
Marcus Lloyd– Costume National
Michal Ayeboua– CP Company, closed Etro,  Giorgio Armani
Nate Gill– D&G, Dolce & Gabbana, Ermanno Scervino, Etro, Versace, Vivienne Westwood
Paul Stiell– Giorgio Armani, Versace
Philip Huang– Emporio Armani, Etro, Gucci, Moncler Gamme Blue, Versace
Pierre Woods– Ermanno Scervino
Rene Rodriguez– Bottega Veneta, Gianfranco Ferre, Gucci
Robert Joseph– Z Zegna (with Request)
Simon ThamClosed Bottega Veneta
Thiago Santos– CP company, closed Z Zegna

  1. He looks very good now this is what I am talking about. This man is great.

  2. Diversity is Key he looks so strong and Exotic in the Face he is great we need more people of color. To show Diversity I mean look at what you get. You get the wonders of people of color.

  3. Betty, thanks for the article. You are totally right when you say that (some) consumers might turn their back to designers who tend to use only caucasian models on their runways and in their campaigns. I myself am one of those consumers. Since this whole diversity issue emerged I refused to spend ONE more penny on clothes from designers who only use caucasian models to promote their collections! And most upsetting are all those excuses they come up with to justify their intolerable ways! This white-washed trend has been going on too long!

  4. Guadeloupe WOW thank you for saying that it is amazing to hear that and I agree.

  5. There is nothing more pedestrian than an all-white line up. It just isn’t modern. It’s old and uncreative and when you can’t see past race in booking a show, your production looks SCARED.

    Kudos to the houses that are actually trying something new (it is called fashion and it’s all about change, after all), but Prada, Jil Sander and usual culprits who think apartheid is a enviable contemporary lifestyle need to know their shit is ugly and stale.

  6. Oh, and just so not end on a bitter note, I am living for Mr. Gill. That face! Great personality too.

  7. Thank you betty for posting and keeping track of the fabulous MOC’s (Models of colour)! Prada and Jil Sander, as brilliant as both brands are, they need to get a clue, open their eyes, and realize that white isn’t the only way. Honestly, those are the two brands that are slowly losing my interest as the models are so cookie-cutter and robotic. If you want to send out clones, either look into manicans or cloning itself. To sum up, Raf and Miuccia: Check yourselves.


  8. Its a shame that NILS LAWTON was not mentioned…

    Considering he did

    Roberto Cavalli
    Dsquared.. how can you forget those little red shorts!!!
    John Richmond

    Nils Lawton was one of the stand outs!!!!

  9. I was in Milan and was thinking just this.

    In this day and age it’s REALLY noticeable when a show has no faces of colour at all. It’s great that the shows are beginning to show some diversity at last.

  10. A friend of mine knows Nate Gil’s dad. I saw his comp card, I was blown way. I think he will a future contender in the campaigns season. But the this season of these incredible backgrounds of color of sides of asian,american, “true” brazilian and non-typical spanish descent is amazing. I WAS AMAZED TO SEE THIS WANT TO SEE COME TO LIFE IN THE CAMPAIGN STAKES COMING UP, THAT IS WHERE TEST LIES AT.

  11. I go to the shows every year and I’ve just noticed that I’ve never remember seeing color in ANY Prada show. How declasse.

    Worthless label. Prada is so over anyway….the show was hideous imo.

    I did, in fact, notice a lot of color this year. It’s far more beautiful and modern this way. Keep it up.

  12. this is my dog!!! good friend of mine since elementary school.. keep doing ya thing nate!!!!!

  13. Yeah, this trend is slowly changing, but we still have a long way to go……..Hopefully I will be on that runway soon.

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