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Media: Strange Bedfellows

A&F shows off half-naked hunks and -- hey, wait a minute, who's that?

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Never mind his recent morph to self-proclaimed nice guy. Does Rudy Giuliani also now think of himself as a free spirit, a swinger, a . . . preppy? What else are we to conclude from the mayor's appearance in A&F Quarterly, the sex-saturated Abercrombie & Fitch magalogue that in the past has been pulled from shelves thanks to Bruce Weber's shots of half-naked models frolicking in mock foreplay? In A&FQ's "New York" issue, now on sale at A&F and Barnes & Noble ($6), the mayor not only submits to a probing Q&A but poses in a sporty Abercrombie logo cap for a (thankfully clothed) photograph taken by John Scott at City Hall.

Weber, apparently, was otherwise occupied, busily charming the "Slater Hall" chinos and "Brooke Shetland" sweaters off the pretty young things who appear in various states of undress around the city. There's a strapping stud cavorting butt-naked in Bethesda Fountain! Four ripped male models stripped to their boxers outside Tiffany's! A coed getting a lap dance from a muscular young buck clad only in polka-dotted briefs and a thong! (Both sadly unavailable for purchase.) Only AF&Q sobers up when it comes to Rudy's spread, in which the mayor plays straight man to writer Patrick Carone's cheeky questions. Q: "What can you do around Times Square now that all the peep shows are closed?" A: "You can walk over to the New York Public Library or go to Bryant Park, which is one of the most beautiful parks in the city. . . ."

We know what Giuliani is getting out of this: further softening of his clenched-jawed, relentlessly prosecutorial image. And a free cap. But what's in it for A&F? From the interviewer tag line -- "Patrick Carone has no idea why the mayor agreed to do this interview" -- it's clear nobody expected Hizzoner to grant the request, let alone slap on a logo. And A&F's stock, already near its 52-week low, can't afford any further drubbing if kids balk at an Establishment father figure endorsing their formerly favorite brand. Not to mention the cold-shower effect of a full-page, toothy-grinned Rudy, which will surely depress this issue's eBay aftermarket value among collectors of Bruce Weber homoerotica. And what's keeping the mayor from diluting the power of his implied endorsement by offering interviews and photo ops to other clothiers? Moe Ginsburg? Men's Wearhouse? Rudy awaits your call.


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