In the 90s, at first there were calendars with emerging actors, then came out the sport champions, such as the rugby players. They definitely were (and still are) the main protagonists of the nude-male-calendars-business, with their best seller calendar “Dieux du Stade”: an annual collection of artistic nudes that has defined a new kind of male sensuality which spread a new cult of male beauty among men with a huge interest in fashion and grooming products.
Actually this social phenomenon was already known in the US: Mark Simpson in 1994 from his influential column on “The Independent” coined a phrase referred to the new kind of man of the consumism-age, the metrosexual.
In Europe, but especially in Italy (too proud of being a male chauvinist society), this new gender appeared with the football champion David Beckham. A beautiful and masculine man who wasn’t afraid of using beauty products or wearing typical feminine fashion items such as jewelry, earrings and bags. Following this social phenomenon the advertising companies began to invest on handsome and perfect men, instead of naked women.
Giorgio Armani first proposed the football stars Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and Beckham as models, as well as Dolce & Gabbana have stripped the Italian Football Team for their underwear campaign, not to mention actors like Matthew McConaughey (for “The One” perfume) or Jude Law for Dior Homme Sport.
The cover-men phenomenon became popular thanks to underwear advertising campaigns.
The talented actor Luca Argentero and the Madonna’s new boy-toy Jesus Luz, both posed for the Italian brand Intimissimi; while the international dj Bob Sinclar made successful campaign for Yamamay.
Even in the women’s fashion ads, women themselves seem to be put aside, and you can see that in the last Loriblu advertising campaign with the handsome man standing near to the foot of a not identified woman. Men are the new objects of desire.
Finally male vanity is claiming back its role and the latest Pirelli Calendar by Karl Lagerfeld is the proof, because for the first time in the history of “The Cal” there are also male nudes among the most beautiful female supermodels.