Satirising the fashion industry is not an easy task. Although eccentric designers and less than model behaviour provide plentiful comedic inspiration, parodying cultural taste-makers has been a task few have taken on.
The Devil Wears Prada and Absolutely Fabulous embraced the fashion world but none have tackled it quite like Zoolander and Zoolander No.2. Both the original and its sequel thrived on the sensational behaviour and excessive trends of the industry. You may have thought that the world Zoolander portrays is purely a figment of Ben Stiller’s imagination, born out of ridiculousness alone, but that is not the case.
So to celebrate the release of Zoolander No 2 on Blu-ray and DVD July 4 we are taking a peak behind the runway, and finding out exactly who inspired this ridiculously good looking character.
The iconic Mr Zoolander himself was born from the amalgamation of pieces of real life models that wandered their way round the social scenes of 90s New York. Fashion aficionados may already have noticed a few nods to Kate Moss, and recognised Victoria Beckham’s famous pout, but two of the male models nominated for model of the year in 1996 – Johnny Zander and Mark Vanderloo – provided inspiration for the name, as well as some of the iconic poses.
Former Calvin Klein model Johnny Zander worked with Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Jean Paul Gaultier and Valentino but nowadays can be found running his own cocktail club in Los Angeles where he serves up a ‘Blue Steel’ drink as tribute to the icon. Dutchman Mark Vanderloo’s modelling career is still going strong and his life is a little less Zoolander themed.
Zander and Vanderloo were at the height of their game in the 90s modelling scene, and heralded the emergence of the male supermodel to rival the likes of Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Claudia Schiffer.
Being really really ridiculously good looking never goes out of fashion, however, and Instagram is now home to those who could inspire future fictional divas. If the brain behind Derek Zoolander, comedian Drake Sather, had been exposed to the Gigi, Kendall and Karlie generation, imagine the repercussions!
Zoolander No.2 is out now on Digital, DVD and Blu-ray