'The way he takes care of himself and the life he leads help him obtain the appearance he wants. Nadal is the embodiment of a masculity that is not at all eccentric.'
By LUCAS ARRAUT 20/02/2011
Whoever thought Giorgio Armani had said all there is to say about masculinity by designing the costumes for American Gigolo (1980), should change his/her beliefs. In the past three years, the Emporio Armani advertising campaigns have become a faithful barometer of the masculine prototype that yields most for advertisers. Photographed by Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott and accompanied by Megan Fox, Rafa Nadal has taken over on this very lucrative mission this season from David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, playing the lead in a tactical manoeuvre that the experts interpret in sociological terms: "Big changes are happening in fashion, sophistication is in decline and more authentic values are on the way back," says Javier Fernández de Angulo, director of GQ; "they're looking for less pretentious idols, champions not in front of a mirror but on the field of play. That's why Dolce & Gabbana have chosen Messi, and Armani Nadal". The journalist believes the key is that fashion approached the player and not the other way round. "Style may be sexy, but noble victories and talent are more so. Fashion used to go for power, now it chooses glory."
The metrosexual died a death when the highlighted streaks in Beckham's hair began to shine more than his game. Despite being more discrete off the field, Ronaldo's eruption into the fashion circus fell flat on its face when it came up against a socioeconomic context which demanded a change of parameters. The schizoid combination of hedonism and the cult of the body, far from being an advertising plus, became a caricature of everything we did badly in the period when things were still going well. Álvaro de Juan, beauty director at Esquire magazine, outlines a new consumer who "transcends the effort of taking care of himself". "Personal care is part of his conscience, his way of life helps him obtain the appearance he wants. Nadal is the embodiment of this not at all eccentric masculinity."
But is the tennis player really an alien in the fashion world? The cocktail - courtesy of Nike - of the pirate pants, sleeveless shirts and coloured bandannas, not forgetting the visceral nature of his gestures or the measurement of his biceps, cannot have been just a casual or fortuitous statement on courts where Victorian manners and cotton polo shirts were more at home. In August 2008, when he led the ATP rankings for the first time, Nadal made his first appearance on the cover of New York Magazine as an object of desire without any excuses (and without a shirt). Going beyond the stereotype of his rivalry with Federer (Spanish passion versus Swiss precision, etcetera), the magazine spoke about "what is perhaps the most original 'look' in the history of tennis". Ahead, it emphasized, of Borg and Agassi.
"It seemed natural to us to underscore this part of his attractiveness. Though he himself wouldn't emphasize it, it was evident," recalls three years on Ben Williams, the person responsible for the report and director of the magazine's web. "There's real planning to his image. He doesn't just wear a brightly colored shirt, he has an identifiable style that he has maintained, an attractive air about him of a pirate that seems to fit in with his game. Generally, he has played the role of the weak one in front of Federer, even after he started beating him. I don't know if he or his marketing team were responsible, but there was definitely some thought behind what he was wearing... and it worked."
Fashion photographer Xevi Muntane has photographed Gasol, Villa and Lorenzo and declares he is a fan of the Mallorcan tennis player, but he is sceptical about how symbolic his image is and about the present campaign which shows an unrecognizable Nadal. "When they can't find another one, they'll put an actor or a singer that has a good body and he will look exactly like any of the three sportsmen. They're looking for a cocky/swaggering number one, it's all the same to them if he's a metrosexual or a neighborhood druggie, the creative artists will take care of turning him into a clone that fits the line followed by the brand."
El Pais Semanal 20/02/2011
credit to Ines
Lights, camera, oil, underwear — what goes down on set when you get Rafa Nadal and Megan Fox half-naked?
The Sunday Times Published: 20 February 2011
If only the seminaked, oiled-up bodies in your Bikram yoga sessions looked more like this. Well, if a certain Giorgio Armani was curating the classes, chances are they would. For the 76-year-old permatanned designer has proven himself to be quite the spotter of this year’s hottest bod. Last up were David and Victoria Beckham, seen flexing seductively in moody black-and-white. This summer, Signor Armani has surpassed himself, casting the Spanish tennis ace Rafa Nadal and Megan “the new Angelina” Fox as the next “testimonials” for his Emporio Armani Underwear and Armani Jeans collections.
“Rafael Nadal is a true phenomenon, his power and agility are awesome and I am utterly captivated by his unique approach to the game,” Armani says, speaking from the set of the shoot in Palma, Majorca. Well, quite. We’re with you there on the power and agility, Giorgio. And as for foxy Fox: “Megan is young and sexy, full of enthusiasm and personality. She also has a thoroughly modern attitude and lots of it.” Indeed, this time around it’s his female muse sporting the tattoos (see if you can count all eight).
Shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott (favourites with the likes of Kate Moss, and who know a thing or two about presenting naked flesh in its most favourable light), we’ve got our hands on an exclusive portfolio of behind-the-scenes images from the shoot (plus a video coming soon online). See Nadal as you always pictured him in the locker room — testosterone-pumped, freshly showered. In his pants. As for Fox, well, you can forget the Dukan diet. Sorry, but life just isn’t fair sometimes. It’s in our nature to want to ogle nubile, athletic flesh. It’s why some of us go to Bikram; but only in our wildest dreams will we ever possess bodies like these.