David Gandy is on the last leg of his promotional tour that’s seen him travel from London to Dublin then onto Hong Kong and now Paris, and yet he shows not a sign of jet lag. The so-called “male supermodel” looks as fresh as his crisply packaged new Marks and Spencer underwear and nightwear collection called “David Gandy for Autograph”. It’s difficult not to stumble into cheesy chick-lit territory when describing just how handsome the 34-year-old Englishman is, so I’m just going to get on with it: he’s in a fitted double breasted pinstripe suit, a light blue shirt with two buttons undone (oh, he beats Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy) and those azure blue eyes are enough to leave any onlooker floundering in his gaze. Then there are the half-naked pictures of him in skimpy underwear all over the Parisian hotel room. Where’s a girl to look? Back to the chest, of course and into Gandy’s pants… not literally.
Not only are you the face of this underwear collection but you were also deeply involved in the creative process. In what way exactly?
This range is the first thing I have put my name to styling and collaborating-wise. I was always very much involved in the creative side with M&S when it came to shooting the campaigns. So first, I came in and told them what I wanted: a very premium line, made from great material but at an affordable price – I was pretty stubborn about it. I had a very high input in everything, including the packaging, the material used and the fits. I didn't just sign someone else's designs.
Why did you decide to design underwear? And not shoes or ties, for example?
I’m well-known for the famous Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue fragrance campaign I did back in 2006, and I had many offers from many brands to put my name on underwear, which is a huge and highly lucrative part of men's clothing. But my collection isn't only underwear, it's also nightwear, and there will be cashmere coming out in October and as soon as I go back to London we will start working on the spring collection, since the reactions have already been so positive on this one.
What can we find in your own personal underwear drawer?
I've kind of chucked everything out and all I've got is my own range of underwear, and I'm not even joking! I've been working on it for months, so I've had all the underwear to test myself. But usually, I go for the hipster style, which is kind of a mix between a boxer and a brief.
Do you think more men or women will buy your collection?
[Laughs] I think so far, it's been a mix of the two. A lot of women buy underwear for their guys but we know that women have been buying the dressing gowns and some of the t-shirts for themselves, which I find lovely. I think men in general are taking more time in choosing their own clothing, especially in the UK. Before it used to be their wives, girlfriends or mums’ task.
You recently said that you were “an advocate of Britishness”. What does it mean?
I think it's about heritage. In Britain, we started tailoring with Savile Row: it's where the tailored suit genuinely came from. In the collection, I've incorporated a bit of houndstooth and that’s how you can distinguish my range because there is no branding. It's very discrete and elegant and for me it links back to British tailoring. I'm very proud to be British and I kind of push that Britishness with everything I do.
What are your top style tips for men?
Be an individual. That’s something that's getting harder and harder to do, thanks to globalisation. I think most importantly you have to work out what works for you – I don't really believe in following trends. I pretty much follow the old English traditions of suits and I look back at some Hollywood greats like Cary Grant and take my inspiration from there, simply because this is what works for me.
What is your daily health routine in terms of diet and exercise?
I just had a couple of croissants. In France, my diet isn’t as good as normal [laughs]! I'm probably not as strict as people would think but I'm very nutritionally aware. Basically, I try and stay away from any processed food, any white carbohydrates, but I still eat sweet stuff. If you want a biscuit for example, don't go for the triple chocolate-coated cookie, have a couple of biscuits that don't contain saturated fat. I eat quite cleanly — a lot of fresh fish, vegetables, which I love anyway because my family brought me up to eat very well. Fitness-wise, I used to play every sport available but now it's only down to the gym, four or five times a week for an hour approximately.
You shot a video this year with Jennifer Lopez, which left quite an impression on her. She said afterwards that you were “almost perfect”. So how is it to know that you are totally J-Lo's type?
I've known her for a few years and we had a good laugh on set. I'm honored that she would think that, then again, maybe if she spent more time with me she wouldn't. But that was very kind of her.
Who is your own celebrity crush?
I worked with Christy Turlington many years ago. When people talk about “supermodels”, you realise what that means when she walks into a room. She's almost kind of superhuman. She has this beauty, presence, radiance, and an unbelievable magnetism. That was a huge crush, but not only physically, I also admire what she has done in the industry, and her involvement in charity.
What’s your type when it comes to women?
Someone I can laugh with! If she makes me laugh and laughs at my awful jokes, that's appealing. But, no, I won't tell you any jokes, I would embarrass myself...