VMAN’s summer issue features British actor Alex Pettyfer as its cover star, shot by the legendary Mario Testino and styled by Elliot Smedley. Sporting a James Bondesque combination of Hugo Boss Black tux and Tom Ford shirt, he’s a vision in cool white, leaving us both shaken and stirred. There’s also a nice little tension between the images themselves and the overall impact of the covers in the art direction, the former remaining icily cool and the impact of the latter using the powerful modernist palette of red, black and white.
Inside, Alex is the subject of Derek Blasberg’s profile and an extensive fashion story that expands the white thematic, a traditional summer favourite but here one of the key colours for the issue’s autumn fashion preview.
At this point in his career, poor Alex is caught up in a tug-o-war between the poles of acting and modelling. He first gained attention as a model as one of the success stories of Burberry’s move to use British acting talents as the faces of the brand. But, that was hardly his first outing in the limelight. Derek Blasberg’s portrait and interview highlights the Hollywood bad boy aspect of the young actor now prime for the contemporary equivalent of teen matinee idol status, yet Alex Pettyfer first became a familiar face to British television audiences before puberty had completed its transformation, playing the lead in the most recent version of the classic ‘Tom Brown’s School Days’.
At about the same time that he reemerged as an adult male celebrity, taking up his place in the Burberry campaigns, his behind-the-scenes efforts as an actor began to pay off with a number of screen roles, including one for Disney that would make many mothers question whether he really is the cocky rebel who might have a bad influence on impressionable young children that VMAN proclaims him to be on the cover.
The extensive photoshoot also works against the hypothesis. Styled in the likes of Burberry Prorsum, Paul Smith. Prada, Alexander McQueen and Marc Jacobs, amongst others, he definitely cuts the figure of a sophisticated Bright Young Thing. But, the problem with so much white is that it makes any young tough look like an angel.