The male model of today is either an "urchin, a wraith, or an underfed runt," explains the NYT Styles. At recent European shows, even jaded fashion industry people were "flabbergasted by the sheer quantity of guys who looked chicken-chested, hollow-cheeked and undernourished."

Fashion cycles often reflect changing economic and political climes, so maybe these skinny and uncertain boys, with their adorable, birdlike necks, mirror the uncertain state of the World Today. If that's true, the Calvin Klein hotties of the 1990s, like Marcus Schenkenberg and Tyson Beckford, represented happier economic times.

But maybe it's simpler than that, as fashion people scramble for suggestions: "It looks good in the clothes and that's the main thing. That's just the way it is now." "That's just the size that blue-chip designers and high-end editorials want." "No one wants a beautiful woman or a beautiful man anymore."

Whatever. Fashion is random as hell.

[Photo: Eric Johnson for the NYT]