I love Louie Spence. I heart his totally OTT attitude and willingness to play the fool (a role I am not averse to playing myself) on any given red carpet. But do I rate his style? Well, not really. Louie, as a dancer, tends to look slightly as if he’d be more comfortable in a leotard; jeans, jackets, shirts; there’s no such thing as too much spandex on planet Louis.
That hasn’t stopped ‘This Morning’, however, from employing Louis as one of their team of style experts, where he presides over men’s style and grooming. Pre-Louis, the line up was even more bizarre – helmed by Jason Gardiner, the panto-villain of Dancing on Ice – the fashion segment was peculiarly schizophrenic; Gardiner is not only not an expert on fashion; he isn’t even very nice.
So what is it that qualifies the two of them to be billed as fashion experts? Well, they’re both gay for a start, and we all know that being a fiend of Dorothy automatically makes a guy a sartorial genius. Right?
Now, I should probably make an admission here: I am a gay man who works in fashion. I understand that there’s a stereotype, not least because to a certain extent, my choice of career perpetuates it. But do we really need TV to spread the myth that all gay men have a sixth sense when it comes to style? Isn’t it just a kind of inverted homophobia to ask a gay man, however tenuous the link, to preside over style advice, purely because he’s a bit, well, flouncy?
Gay man or not, though, fashion is one of the few industries where seeming to know what you’re doing is mistaken for actually knowing something about your trade. Would Louise Redknapp be asked to present a slot on ‘Match Of The Day’ as a result of being married to a footballer? Not likely. But was she qualified to present the Clothes Show as a result of looking quite good in a series of shift dresses? Apparently, yes she was.
But what do you think – does it make sense for Louie Spence and Jason Gardiner to tell the world (or at least, the This Morning audience) how to dress? Am I, as a fashion writer, blowing my own trumpet and over egging the importance of having industry experience? Or is there something a bit outdated about asking a famous male celebrity to give their advice on style just because they’re gay? Let me know your thoughts.
- Alex Butt