The Magic Gap

Guy Aroch Turns His Lens Toward a Bodily Obsession On the Streets of Manhattan for #DefineBeauty

Fashion photographer and director Guy Aroch envisions New York as a 1970s-hued dreamscape in today’s short The Magic Gap. Part of NOWNESS’ weekly #DefineBeauty series spotlighting the different aesthetic tropes surrounding body image, this week’s short takes an abstracted look at the much-documented thigh-gap obsession. Aroch wanted to “diffuse” the controversial topic, applying his romanticized, sun-kissed filter that frequently graces the pages of Harper’s Bazaar, Numéro and GQ. “It was more a comment on the mysterious fixation women have,” explains the director, “because as a male, I didn’t even know it was a thing.” Probing SoHo and Central Park passers-by on the definition of ‘the magic gap,’ Aroch cast his regularly photographed models including Chanel Iman to depict the controversial fixation that is largely based on pelvic shape and tendon length. “I was trying to be fly-on-the-wall and quite voyeuristic,” he adds. “Most people that didn’t actually know the answer—99% of them. And I didn’t tell them either.”

The next in the #DefineBeauty series Beyond the Skin premieres Tuesday June 3.

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Conversations (25)

  • Karen L
    Hey Guy Aroch, I suppose you successfully „diffused“ the controversy, if by diffuse you mean propagating this disgusting beauty ideal. Maybe you should have been more upfront in your real agenda, which is glamorizing and contributing to an incredibly destructive idea of beauty while pandering to your own male gaze.
    • Posted By Karen L
    • July 12, 2014 at 5:51AM
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  • suchalion
    Came to this site from Guy's IG because I was expecting something very different. If this was supposed to diffuse anything, it seems it would be self-esteem. The video goes no where! I was hoping for an insightful short featuring gapped legged ladies with FACES, not just crotches and asses, and maybe some commentary on how beauty is actually NOT defined by the inches between or NOT BETWEEN our thighs. I personally do not have one, I doubt I ever will. Have I thought about wanting one, sure, what girl doesn't look at a supermodel and wish they looked like that. But I just felt this video was going to have more meat on its bones, so to speak. No one knows what a magic gap is cause it's called a thigh gap, and maybe had you asked the real question instead of an obscure one, you would have gotten real opinions. Now make a short like this one, only with everyday REAL girls, with no thigh gap, thighs that kiss with every step. Perpetuate THAT beauty, not just the fad.
    • Posted By suchalion
    • June 05, 2014 at 1:03PM
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  • Hua Ge
    Surprisingly disappointed...
  • stephen.hensley
    It's just cosmic luck of the time stream that makes the Gap desirable. We have always prized that which is hard to attain. In a sedentary, plentiful food society, a Gap wins.
    • Posted By stephen.hensley
    • May 31, 2014 at 10:02PM
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  • NotNewNow
    This is merely a new name for something that has been discussed for decades. In the 60's and 70's this "magic gap" was called "factory air".
    • Posted By NotNewNow
    • May 31, 2014 at 12:17PM
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  • Rachel Juarez-Carr
    Gorgeous, funny, beautifully shot — I love it.
  • Steve M
    This video will lead to the deaths of girls with eating disorders. Congratulations Nowness and Guy Aroch you are officially part of the problem in the world. #definethedeathofhumanity
    • Posted By Steve M
    • May 31, 2014 at 7:20AM
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  • absolutetrash
    How about #definetryingtotacklerealissueswithoutanytactorknowledge Sure, you made a pretty, saturated 'short' using supermodels. Congratulations on pulling a off a moving picture show. That's all well and good. The unnerving part is calling actually collaging thigh gaps with some sort of 'magic gap' commentary. You know why people don't know that the f*** it is? Because no one effing calls it a magic gap. It's called a thigh gap, try asking that next time, I know it won't get you as much artistic impact though. The ignorance of the fashion world is the spread of the deadliest mental illness (hello anorexia community Guy Laroche #thinspiration video virality). Get a grip my dear master artist. You know what makes for a legacy versus a fleeting photographer? A lasting impact, not another Free People & Aerie commercial.
    • Posted By absolutetrash
    • May 30, 2014 at 1:38PM
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  • The Management Unit
    Magnifique short Guy! Yes, this piece is very sexy, possibly mezmerizing, but in no way seems raunchy or obsessive, any more than the myriad classics depicting Venus/Aphrodite. The fun side here, is the diametrically-opposed values saturating the roughshod urban jungle, (replete with taxis honking, exhausts belching, heels clattering...) and our POV, sharply-focused on a DDG, sauntering, blading through it all, to rest at an unobstructed spot, taking-in the big picture. Regarding the V/Os... they serve as an appropriate narrative, typical of how people will offer random critiques, even before they're know what the subject is. Editing-wise, enjoyed the finessed finale (rail-side) where said 'intrepid model' begins turning her head, to look over her left shoulder, making sure we're still watching, into a perfect fade.
  • akwan
    just call a spade a spade; this is a short piece of slightly comedic porn, guised as an art piece. does it define beauty? sort of. is pleasant to watch? absolutely.
    • Posted By akwan
    • May 29, 2014 at 3:26PM
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  • HeatherFeather
    "Where is your humor?" says a man watching this. Where's a woman who feels the same way? F off.
    • Posted By HeatherFeather
    • May 28, 2014 at 10:07PM
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  • Paulo Costa
    C' mon, guys, why are you so harsh, where's your humour? This is just a light, zeitgeist movie about one of the women fixations relating to beauty. This is a good movie, sexy yes, but so what? Beautiful cinematography, funny comments and beautiful gaps!
    • Posted By Paulo Costa
    • May 28, 2014 at 11:51AM
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  • HeatherFeather
    The description below the video says “It was more a comment on the mysterious fixation women have,” explains the director, “because as a male, I didn’t even know it was a thing.” - - well your video didn't convey this. ALL it did was sexualize it. So, you fail big time at creating pretty garbage that says nothing. Your words said more than the video and that's a failure as a filmmaker.
    • Posted By HeatherFeather
    • May 27, 2014 at 10:38PM
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  • MOWdesignstudio
    From what I've watched, this #definebeauty series has exclusively focused on the female body. Why is that all that's being discussed? I've always thought the word 'beauty' could be used for both sexes. Female body hair? Beauty a form of genius? Magic Gap? I haven't found any of these shorts to be insightful or interesting. I'm generally anxious to see what Nowness will post next; with this series, I find myself continuously disappointed.
    • Posted By MOWdesignstudio
    • May 27, 2014 at 7:30PM
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  • laura white
    What "thigh-gap obsession"?!! Let's just call it what it is.....instead of trying to coin a new stupid phrase......Ridiculous!!!!! and by the way, here, here, Brad Gough....well said....
    • Posted By laura white
    • May 27, 2014 at 4:05PM
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  • Mozartmike
    Here's the thing that comes to mind every time I see those who in retaliation to the screening of ideal bodies of women and those that show themselves, being chastised,labeled sexist, .It seems to me that there are a whole bunch of women who are doing this shaping, solely for there own profit.If there is a blame,and I'm not sure there is,then perhaps we are directing our our anger in the wrong direction or inappropriately .Am I going to stop and look,you bet your bootee I'm going to stop and look,fantasize, oh what would it be like in bed. But since I'm not a candidate for Adonis,nor could any plastic surgeon make me so.Should I be pissed because women are not looking at me wondering Oh what would that be like in bed.At best And once again You bet you BOOTEE,that's where all this objection is coming from.I'm going to have to undress before another and I am not....... I not going to be throwing stones at the Adonis,nor the photographer,nor at the women who are drooling over his appeal,and yes indeed I said drooling,dispute that ladies then you've never been to a woman's show of men.So how about this we all make the pit stop hop in the car and enjoy the show.Those that are tight are just making a living being so.Is this art ? Os this good art? I don't know either way but I do know that it's not unpleasant.
  • Heirloom
    to adb: If he wants to "draw attention" to it, why doesn't he interview women, show their faces instead of cropping their face, showing only idealized body types instead of a multitude of bodytypes WITH FACES AND VOICES? And how come he then wants to "diffuse" the topic? What does that even mean? He wants to aestheticize womens obsession with the perfect body into something "pretty"? I think you're being too nice. People talk about racism without making racist statements, why do we need to make sexist statements to talk about sexism?
  • adb
    I think the point is being missed in this video. I do not think the artist is trying to draw attention to the "magic gap" is promotion of it, but instead making a statement against it. Like the description says, "he didn't even know it was a thing", and from the commentary in the video, many other people didn't know either. The point of the video series is to draw attention to aesthetic tropes and to get people talking about them. I think this video does just that and gets people talking. I think it is great and the statement is perfect.
    • Posted By adb
    • May 27, 2014 at 12:57PM
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  • brad gough
    What a piece of *****! Why do women keep doing this to themselves? And don't tell me it is empowering. Why not just show a big ***** plowing her in the "gap" and quit pretending it is something else. What are these models thinking? It isn't even funny or tongue in cheek, just stupid.
  • Bil
    This was a let down.
    • Posted By Bil
    • May 27, 2014 at 11:46AM
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  • samaruba
    All the women who didn't like this vid wish they had that magic gap doe! LOL
  • Heirloom
    I would love to write a lengthier text about why this sucks, I am enfuriated Nowness publish sexist ***** like this. Not only are we forced to stare down faceless womens crotches, but then as my friend pointed out, he has the nerve to name the women. The commentary are niether enlightening or entertaining, and the imagery is more ***** of the sorts we're trying to get rid of in the fashion industry. And then the hashtag? If this is how you define beauty, you need to quit. I am sick of this pseudointellectual ***** in fashion and i'm not going to be nice about it anymore.
  • Brian Williams
    The gap is that between the director's ears. But it hasn't got any magic.
    • Posted By Brian Williams
    • May 27, 2014 at 5:01AM
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  • galitonia
    I think you should change this section from #definebeauty to #definefixationonobjectifyingwomensbodies... geezus, the directors submitting are closet case sex addicts.
    • Posted By galitonia
    • May 27, 2014 at 4:44AM
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  • Mia Veur
    The thigh gap fixation is tragically boring....I really felt sad watching that, actually its left me quite cold.

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    Crème Caramel

    Canada Turn an Innocent Dessert into an Erotic Ideal in Part Three of #DefineBeauty

    Sexual impulse is put under a retro-filtered microscope in Canada’s short, Crème Caramel. Giving the popular pudding top billing, the Barcelona director collective depict a portrait of desire for the latest in NOWNESS’ weekly series #DefineBeauty. Having shot music videos for Scissor Sisters and Phoenix, Canada’s Nicolás Méndez, Lope Serrano, Oscar Romagosa and Alba Barneda deconstructed the sensual yet somehow irreverent features of the female form. “When you are obsessed with someone, it’s not just with that someone—it’s with the shape of the hips, the color of the nipples, or the shade of her hair when she comes out of the shower,” says Serrano of their inspiration. “We were thinking of a metaphor that represents the heterosexual male view of the female body: something sweet, tender and beautiful—a crème caramel.” The directors captured the trembling dessert—which they insist is an aphrodisiac—alongside hyper-stylized visual motifs that include kaleidoscopic illustrations and 1970s records. While Serrano crafted the drawings featured in the short, a chance encounter with French band La Femme as he listened to the studio stereo resulted in the climactic soundtrack, “La Femme Ressort.” “When you’re making work based on visions of a woman’s body, you cannot lose your own desire, which is instinctively sexual,” says Serrano, who also cites Godard’s chapter for the 1969 multi-director feature Love and Anger as a reference. “But we’re not insisting on the simply erotic notion, it’s also anatomical: a wonderful succession of details.”

    The next in the #DefineBeauty series The Magic Gap premieres Tuesday May 27.

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    Sébastien Tellier: King of Blue

    France’s Lounge Lothario Shares His Damascene Moment in a Guy Aroch Film

    Libidinous French musician Sébastien Tellier unveils his new spiritual self in director and fashion photographer Guy Aroch’s short. The singer waxes lyrical on God, Santa Claus and the color blue, and is seduced by his interviewer—model turned celebrated weather girl Lorraine Denis—into a sensual dreamscape. Featuring the track “Pépito Bleu” from Tellier’s latest album My God is Blue, the video is a change of pace for Israeli-born director Aroch, who has shot the likes of Vanessa Paradis and Christy Turlington and produced editorials for The New York Times, British Vogue and Marie Claire. “Sébastien is a unique thinker with a strong sense of humor, so I wanted to give him a fun platform to tell his story,” explains Aroch, who shares the musician's 70s-inspired aesthetic and voluptuous vision of femininity. Shedding the steamy skin of his previous LP Sexuality, Tellier’s fourth record sees his reinvention as a musical messiah heralding the dawn of L’Alliance Bleue. “I’d love people to say, ‘Tellier is the Dalí of music,’” offers the former Eurovision participant. “Dalí did something surreal yet pertinent, that’s why I love his work, and I hope to do that musically.” Here the eccentric visionary gets philosophical.

    What is the message of My God is Blue?
    What I try to do is encourage people to put dreams and imagination back into the heart of society. I want people to believe in something that doesn’t exist. God? Why not? But the Loch Ness monster, unicorns and Santa Claus also work. We should accept forces that surpass us.

    How do you avoid being repetitive?
    I try to renew myself constantly. Between each album, I change personality, clothes, car and apartment. I try and like films I used to hate. Once I feel I’ve entered a new cycle, that I’m truly different, I know I’m ready to create a new album. Otherwise, what is the point?

    What is the biggest change with this album?
    For this album, I didn’t want to look at the past or look at my childhood memories. Instead, I imagined the future. I wanted to be a soothsayer, create the pop of the future. The best way to summarize the album is that it uses strength to talk about tenderness.

    Why blue?
    I wanted to convey the vision of a tiny little human standing next to an immense, bright blue tidal wave. I wanted to remind people of the minuscule-ness of human kind.

    What are your predictions about the future?
    I don’t imagine a very happy future for our planet. I feel we are reaching the end of a cycle, we are entering a new cycle, and this transition could be a very difficult moment to go through.

    What is the L’Alliance Bleue?
    It is a movement I am creating around this album. People will soon be able to register online and take personality tests to gauge their imagination potential. They will be able to give donations, and strips of land on which we—me and the faithful—will all live together. We will create a new, better world that people will enter to live truly free lives. Surgeons will become poets; their donations will be used towards their own new lives, like a gift to themselves. For example, the money could be used for fireworks in their honor after they read their first poem.

    What would you do in L’Alliance Bleue?
    My dream is to become a scientist. These are the most important people in the world. What you want from life is to feel good and to live forever, and only science can bring this to us. I think the world should be solely composed of scientists—who kill illnesses and make us eternal—and artists, to entertain them.

    What does freedom mean to you?
    Freedom is about needing nothing, about being a sophisticated savage. It’s about listening to your desires with refinement, and to live in wilderness, only with more thought.

    For an exclusive album of behind the scenes images from the shoot visit our Facebook page

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