Surely the facts are well remembered
CALVIN KLEIN: Do you remember Joe McDonald?
MARC JACOBS: Was he a Zoli model?
KLEIN: Yes. Zoli used to live on Water Island. The models, the guys, were in the Pines. He was beautiful.
JACOBS: Seriously beautiful.
KLEIN: I had this apartment on 58th Street between First Avenue and Sutton Place. It was all black leather, charcoal gray carpeting, white lacquer walls. Joe D’Urso did it. In those days, we were into shine.
JACOBS: I’m still into shine. Shine is my favorite color.
Is it now?
On a Sunday morning last winter, model Susi Gilder flipped through a New York Times fashion supplement and came upon an advertisement that featured a friend who no longer looked like himself. The friend’s name was Joe Macdonald, and once he had been one of the hottest male models in the business. Now the face was drawn. The athletic build had melted away, leaving his body thin and wasted. And as she studied Joe Macdonald’s final appearance as a model, Susi Gilder caught a glimpse of the horror of an illness called AIDS.
“He looked very old,” Susi Gilder remembers. “The eyes were just very sad.”
Over the days that followed, everybody Susi Gilder encountered in the modeling world seemed to be talking about the photograph of Joe Macdonald. The gay men spoke of how terrified they were of suffering a similar fate. She remembers, “A lot said, ‘I think I’m going straight. I think I’ll try it again.’ Then they said, ‘You want to try it, Susi?’ ”
This spring, Joe Macdonald died. Susi Gilder’s own misgivings about homosexuality had always been limited to a pang of regret upon meeting an attractive man who was not interested in women. She now began hearing women models who had shared this view say they planned to avoid using brushes belonging to makeup artists who were gay. After all, conjunctivitis was sometimes spread that way. Some makeup artists tried to reassure the models by saying that they soaked their brushes in alcohol.
When one model was greeted by a gay gentleman with a kiss on the lips, she ducked into the bathroom and washed out her mouth.
“Some of the models are paranoid,” Susi Gilder says. “They say, ‘Don’t kiss ‘em.’ They’re joking, but not really.”
No, not really.
Take it away Bubbles!