The Boys Of LFWM: AW17

10 January 2017

Photographer Saskia Pfeiffer
Interviews and words Matthew Regan

"Turn to the left, turn to the right - ooh bop, fashion!” (David Bowie, 1980)

Modelling - what’s that all about? 6am call times, unfamiliar cities and darting from shows to castings and back again. Walking in perfect formation, you see them enshrined in light with their icy-gazes and cheekbones at the ready. Sure, they’re a little bit taller and could probably make us want to wear a bin-bag to prom - but models have souls too, you know. Looking through the facade, we return to our favourite feature for AW17 by diving into the glorious minds behind those boys on the catwalk.
Between the mayhem of the fashion week schedule, photographer Saskia Pfeiffer pauses time in candid moments of blissful chat with the models wandering between the shows of Topman, Xander Zhou and Bobby Abley. Long-hours of waiting turn into hectic scenes in an instant, and you never know what each day holds. For these boys, living life in the moment is a requirement of the job. Such a world of unpredictability has its perks - we’ve been told there’s some wild parties, but what exactly runs through these boys minds’ as they slink down the catwalk?
Looking past exteriors, it has always been our mission to explore the further depths of these rare creatures. Luckily for us, the London streets outside the show space housed a watering hole of beauty (and killer clothes). From tales of homesickness and perseverance, to basking in the glory and taking each day with a pinch of salt; we met the boys for the first time through a fresh set of eyes.

French, the language of love - and wisdom, apparently. Before they took the Topman show by storm, we crossed the Eurotunnel into the minds of Clement Letexier (left), Aliou Drame (middle) and Felix Suerer (right) all at 16Men. Despite some linguistic challenges, the boys told us they all love to party in Paris - as it's the best place for cheap wine and good vibes. Whenever the boys aren't walking for designers like Burberry, Craig Green and Lou Dalton, they're very keen on Oxford Street; apparently it’s the place to be in London if you’re after a fancy shopping trip - who knew?

Taking flight from the Topman show on antelope-worthy legs, Sol Goss at Supa Model Management took a moment in his hectic day to chat. In our The Boys of LCM: SS17 feature, he revealed his love of his grandma and pride of for his birthplace Lasotho. When he isn’t walking for names such as Louis Vuitton, Coach, Agi and Sam and Casely Hayford, he emerces himself in pure headphone bliss with electronic music like hip-hop and trap, which is probably why he’s rather good at walking in time to a beat.

With a very Dutch name, Jan Willem de Man at Leni’s really is de Man - get it? We picked his brains just before he walked at Alex Mullins - and discovered his skills as a linguist, having learnt five languages already (French, German, Spanish, English and Dutch). His bible at the moment is a French for dummies book, which is pretty convenient for his love of travelling. For his birthday he’d like Mandarin lessons, as he hopes to go to China someday - if you’re reading this mum, you’re welcome!

Many wonderful things start with the word 'French' - you've got fries (yum!), kisses (saucy) and of course, the boys! We said bonjour to Tom at Success and Simon at SUPA, two native Parisians before the Topman show. They're a sporty pair; when Tom isn't walking for designers such as J.W.Anderson and Ximon Lee, he likes rolling around town on his skateboard. Simon enjoys punching things when Thai boxing. Risky, we know - although some designers are partial to that rough and ready look, he's become a pro at avoiding punches to the money-maker (that face).

Our chance encounter with Calum Paterson at Models 1 came before his time spent looking pretty at Alex Mullins and Lou Dalton. We were pleased to find that aside from his Hollywood smile, he has an accent smooth enough to break hearts. Growing up in a little town in Northern Scotland, and born on the same day as Jesus, he’s the kind of guy who roots for the underdog. Red squirrels in particular, as he isn’t too keen on the fact they’re being wiped out by grey ones. Aside from his time spent as a red squirrel activist, he has an innate love of music. Playing the drums causes a lot of racket around the house, and can be found jiving to anything from hip-hop to African beats and a ton of jazz.

Three homegrown boys; Lennon Gallagher at Models 1 (left), Jacob McAlindon at Established (middle) and Will Samways at Elite (right) stopped to talk to us before going into the Topman show. As fairly new faces to the game they were all chuffed to be there, as Jacob remarks; "it’s nice to get out of the rural shitty countryside".

When he’s not walking for Burberry or Christopher Raeburn, Will picks up the oars and gets rowing. Jacob, who walked for Ximon Lee and Songzio was a little less proud of his past as a county cricket player, and we got the exclusive from Lennon on his dreams of conquering a career in acting. At this point we had no clue that his dad was a member of the most iconic Brit-pop band of the Nineties (Oasis, duh), but we should have guessed from those iconic eyebrows.

Brit boy Fionnan Byrne-Perkins at Next Models has been modelling on and off for four years, walking for names such as Gucci, Burberry and Etro, so he’s got the fashion game down to a T. As we fished him out from a hectic scene after the Topman show, he uncovered his other career as a singer-songwriter; his type being pop music, with a bit of a spin to it. Pretty faces have been proven to sell records, but we’re sure his future career will be rooted in natural talent rather than looks. We can’t say for sure, as he was reluctant to sing for us in front of a swarm of street-style paps - so we’ll have to try again next season.

When we met James Beatty at SUPA took time to talk to us in his lovable Canadian accent, while waiting to walk in his first ever show for Topman. Before being scouted, he worked as a carpenter and set painter on movie sets in Vancouver, and his favourite past-times include chain-smoking and partying with his “really tight squad at home”. According to James, you might as well have a "good time instead of being a nerd”. We like him already, and we're not the only ones, Blood Brother snapped him up too for their presentation.

PS. he also has a second-hand Volkswagen that he called his baby, that he purchased as a vintage model and installed a sound system in the back.

Everytime we bump into cheeky chap Francesco Cuizza at Named Models, he always has the gleam of a boyish smile on his face. Having spoken to him last season, we were happy to see that he’s still rocking the buzz-cut, which has become somewhat of a signature for this Italian stallion. When we caught him between his Bobby Abley and Maharisi shows, he was delighted to share further wisdom with us - “positivity, I don’t give a fuck and Boys by Girls” were his three random facts about himself. It doesn’t make sense, but it does make us feel all gooey inside. Keep your eyes peeled for his face on a screen near you, as he’s going straight to the golden-land of L.A. after Milan Fashion Week. For now it’s just for some modelling gigs, but he will be moving there to pursue his dreams of becoming a Hollywood actor.

With clips in his hair and a charm in his eyes, Elias de Poot at Rebel Management chatted to us before the Topman show. Waving his fingers into a ‘V’ shape, Elias marked out his two moles that sit in perfect symmetry on his face. Very Cindy Crawford, and a nice conversation starter.

When he's not walking for brands such as Burberry, Coach and Craig Green, the Belgian beauty has another gig as a music producer, creating electronic sounds on his laptop - a lot of techno and hip hop apparently. It all got very technical; think analog synthesisers and homemade sound effects. We couldn’t help but get the feeling he’s a bit of a worrier - as when asked what the future holds, he replied: “I hope I’m still alive in 10 years, but I really don’t know”.

Fresh-faced John Barrow at Milk Model Management has been in the game for four months, and kicked off his first show with Xander Zhou. The show got all his senses tingling, 'cause he really likes baggy stuff and cargo trousers. As a boy of modesty, he was slightly embarrassed to admit that his favourite thing about modelling is getting his picture taken - he also likes being on his feet and zipping about London. When he is not modelling he is at one with vinyl records, and spends time bringing music to your ears as a DJ. Aside from that, a quick game of footie is never off the cards - you know, normal 19 year old stuff.

Standing proud at 6 foot 8, we couldn’t help but feel extra tiny while talking to unsigned boy Marcus before his Topman debut. Originally from Lithuania, he’s been living in London for over three years. With lit-up eyes, he talked about his interest in fashion, having studied fashion journalism; the craftsmanship and the way the clothes relate to culture pull at his heartstrings. Please don’t offer him an orange - he has a major adversion to fruits. Instead he’ll take a bowl of his grandma’s homemade Russian cooking. If he could meet one person, it would be Frank Ocean, just to tell him how “sick” his new album is. After also appearing in the dreamy Pers Gotesson show, we're sure you'll be seeing more of this gentle giant in seasons to come.

Italian men. What else can we say? Daniele Paudice at First Models had just left the Xander Zhou show when we snapped him up for a quick chinwag. He’s been modelling for one and a half years, but this marked his first season in London - as last year he was very busy being an exclusive for Givenchy in Milan, no big deal. Running helps him clear his mind, and he used to do it competitively in his hometown of Naples, but decided to save cardio for the runway. As he stood around in the London drizzle waiting to take his place in the Alex Mullins show, he dreamed of the sunny verandas of Southern Italy.

Through the swarm of models outside the BFC showspace, one boy was instantly recognisable. After closing the show at Xander Zhou, we chatted to Samson - an honest, human and a little bit gritty model - also studying Fine Art at Kingston, about how modelling is helping him to overcome the challenges he has faced with diabetes. The intensity of his new-found career means that he is constantly learning more about himself.

How quickly can you say Iago Santibanez? We were treated to some kind words with the model after he walked in Bobby Abley's AW17 show. He felt right at home sporting the Brazilian-Power Rangers inspired collection, as he not only dances on the shores down in Rio, but would also looking rather charming in a leather bodysuit. We discovered that behind those green eyes is a mind of wonder, as he can often be found with a paintbrush in hand; surrealism and portraits are his forte. When he's home you can find him at the beach or at home with his family, the two things he misses the most while he's in London - a place he can only describe as "cold". We agree, but luckily his personality transported us to a warmer place for a little while.
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Sol Goss at SUPA Model Management

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