Saturday, October 31, 2009

Saturday Morning Videos

In a follow up to yesterday's post about Freja and Alexander Wang, here's a video that shows us Alex has indeed been an admirer of Freja for a very long time now. Thanks to commenter parisxsummer for the heads up!

At 2:14 you can see pictures of Freja's Fall 2005 Self Service editorial on Alex's "mood board" for his FW0809 show. Fittingly enough, Freja ended up opening that show in a very memorable sheer number with a downtown death stare on her face that summed up the mood of the show perfectly.

This was arguably the show that put the Alexander craze into full throttle, so it's nice that Freja was a part of it in more ways than one.

And now here's a completely unrelated, but highly adorable video of various rehearsal clips from the past season. Some of the models' faces and reactions are priceless. This is the type of stuff I always look forward to--when the glossy facade gets taken down and we get to see the reality behind the runway.

Freja @ 1:30, 1:40, 2:38 and 2:48

I love that we get to see bits of the girls' personalities. The human element really comes across and reiterates to us that these models are just regular teenagers/young women with irregular jobs. It's relatable and fashion can use more of that, especially in this recession.

Anyway, watch the whole video because there are so many hilarious moments. I was laughing so hard at how Kasia misdirected Alla at the end. And I think Mirte and Amanda's reactions at the Missoni rehearsal were endearing. That Missoni show seemed like a pain to rehearse!

Image Credits:

Freja Fridays

Yes, I know it's not friday today but I wanted to take this time to point out the beginnings of an internet revolution called "Freja Fridays." Ok, maybe it's not exactly a revolution but I think it should be. :) A few blogs have turned fridays, arguably already the best day of the week, into Freja Fridays thus making the day even better.

Skinny Intern was the originator of the idea, and now it's caught fire over at Nova Style. You + Eye even took part yesterday, but probably more out of coincidence because I don't think Freja Fridays is a regular fixture over there...yet. Maybe with some encouraging it could be?

What a great way to end the work week, right? I thought about adopting the moniker on fridays too, but then I remembered this whole blog is about Freja so everyday is already a Freja day.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Alex Joins the Fan Base

We know Freja loves Alexander Wang as she's been seen wearing his T by Alexander Wang line and carrying his black Donna Hobo bag everywhere during fashion month. She's even been known to stop by his sample sales in NY. Well, now we know the feeling is mutual.

You can add Alex to the growing list of Freja fans in the industry, which already includes the Rag & Bone boys and Stella. At his Barny's trunk show yesterday afternoon, fashionologie got the scoop on Alex's favorite look from his SS10 show:
I feel like everyday I change my mind. But I always seem to come back to Freja's look, she really knows how to bring an outfit to life, which is so important in a model for me.
And the look in question:

Alex has made no secret about how he is inspired by models off duty. So it should really come as no surprise that he admires the coolest one of them all. :)

Image Credit:

Tribulations of the Job

Think modeling is all fun, games and free clothes? Take a look at these backstage makeup and hair pictures from this past season and you might change your mind. They are simultaneously hilarious and horrifying. Hilarious in the way they can capture certain comical moments, expressions and situations.

Horrifying in the violation of personal space and feeling of irritation they can evoke.

Ok, maybe it's just horrifying to me (I'm sure many people would revel in this kind of "pampering" and attention) since I value my personal space a lot, so seeing some of these pictures makes me cringe. I doubt those hair stylist are super gentle when they've only got 15 minutes to get the job done. Not to mention that people coming at my face with pointed objects would most definitely freak me out.

But it's all just part of the job, right? As a model you learn to deal with it in different ways. Maybe you listen to music.

Or you talk to the person next to you.

Or maybe you just try to relax and zone out.

Sometimes you begrudgingly concede and accept the situation at hand.

And then again, sometimes it's all just too much and you simply want to curl up and protect yourself from the onslaught.

Even though they really do make me cringe sometimes, I love seeing these types of pics precisely because they're illustrative and evoke so much feeling.

You can really imagine the frenzy surrounding a girl the second she arrives to a show, especially if she's coming from another one. You can visualize the small army of people waiting to tackle her and wipe her completely clean of her previous look, only to do her back up again. It's a panoply of hands pulling on that, tugging on this, taking that off, putting that on. And many girls go through the process multiple times a day. That's layers of makeup being put on and rubbed off. Pounds of hair product being applied and washed away.

This is probably one of the few times when I'll say that models aren't like the rest of us. Yes, they're human, but the majority of them also have wonderful genes giving them abnormally great skin and hair. And that explains why they look so radiant off-duty despite the constant wear and tear their faces and hair go through during show season. That explains why they can still have flawless, zit-free skin and light, flowy hair at the end of the day. Well, that and moisturizer...lots and lots of moisturizer.

Image Credits: chloe, corbis, dazeddigital, eastnews, elle, elle,fr,,, zimbio

Thursday, October 29, 2009

On the Casting Horizon

With fashion shows now over and campaign season around the corner it seems like everyone has casting on the brain. The Imagist recently posted a very interesting piece on the model outlook for the upcoming campaign season.

He tells us that the "circle of power photographers who decide which models cross over from all that runway traction into blue chip work seem to be holding back on their campaign shooting. There is not the usual feeding frenzy to lock up those hyped new faces . No epic "New Faces" edit yet at W, no New Prada Contingent marching through Vogue Italia...yet. This is an indicator that the campaign castings are going to run even more conservatively than in recent years, skewing back to the Raquels, Sashas and Natashas, if there is even a model on the premises. Celebrities are going to continue to take a huge chunk of those choice bookings..."

And take this quote photographer Nick Knight gave in a recent interview: "To make money, the industry is increasingly catering to the lowest common denominator and, as far as the people who run the big companies are concerned, anything even slightly out of the ordinary frightens people. But anyone with a brain knows that it is the quirkiness and imperfection in a person that attracts other people. That is completely obvious to human beings; it's just when it gets to a corporate level that it all falls apart."

Reading all of this made me more than a bit disappointed. For one, I can't stand seeing the current crop of celebrities in ad campaigns. It's already bad enough that I have to see them on the covers of American fashion magazines month after month--leave modeling to the professionals please. Secondly, this season I really took notice of and a liking to many of the new girls so it will be sad to see most of them ravaged and tossed aside by the industry. Especially since they are so young and all so gorgeous in unique ways. They looked different enough that I could actually tell them apart for once.

Anyway, it's during times like these I'm so grateful that Freja has Karl firmly in her corner. Even if I complain about it sometimes, and even if she's just going to be relegated to his entourage, at least she's getting new work that we'll be able to see. And who knows...we might even see her in a few other campaigns despite the dire outlook for models. After all, she made a killing last season coming away with 5 campaigns, and she's coming off one of her stronger runway seasons in a long time. Hopefully Freja can channel all this momentum into some more results. And hopefully Karl will let her go long enough so that she can work with some other people.

All things considered, Freja is in a great position having just shot the Chanel campaign. And with her quirky and palatable looks to draw upon (providing a nice compromise between the corporate and creative sides of the industry), I think she could be poised for more. Unfortunately, that probably won't be the case for your other favorites. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Karmen and Karolin, and hoping that my new girl favs like Mirte and Lisanne emerge unscathed. What about you?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Model Boards

Here is a collection of what I like to call model boards from this past season's shows. A range of designers are represented, but Freja's picture is somewhere on all the boards. Can you spot her in each one? (Click through to enlarge. The show/designer is in the image file name.)

I love these models boards so much because they represent the culmination of a designer's work for the entire season. It's amazing how all the hard work, late nights and stress can reduce down to this one portable object--just some photographs on a foam board. I also think these boards are the perfect meeting point between reality and fashion. On the one hand you have polaroids or digitals of the models showing them in their natural state without the hair and makeup for the show. (Polaroids can be a pretty harsh photographic medium as there is no room for airbrushing. It's probably the best instance of photographs as actual representations for the objects depicted.) On the other you have all of the designer's complete looks. It's such an interesting clash between the real world and the runway.

I also love trying to spot all my favorite girls. Some of them look radiant even under the harsh lens of the polaroid. Some look like they just literally rolled out of bed and stumbled over to their fitting, which very likely could be the case since fittings happen throughout all hours of the day during fashion month. I just think these model boards are a perfect microcosm for what happens in the industry at large. If you look closely, they tell the season's story and I bet they even reflect each designer's aesthetic. Each board looks different from show to show, so I would love to do a compare/contrast study at the end of the season with all the boards.

Anyway, now that we are firmly out of the SS10 season frenzy, I'm going to try and do some recaps of backstage moments, etc... Everything happened at such a rapid pace during the shows that I think it's important to revisit and take stock. Hope you don't mind. :)

Image Credits: corbis, cobrasnake, dazeddigital,,, ftape,,, wwd, yvanrodic

Monday, October 26, 2009

Unusually Conventional, Conventionally Unusual

So I picked up the latest issue of Bon magazine, mostly so I could have this stunning Sara Blomqvist editorial. As I was flipping through the rest of the issue, an interview with Rick Owens caught my eye. I love designers interviews because I like getting informational nuggets about their inspiration, design process, and casting process especially. Much to my delight there was a whole bit about Rick's casting for shows and his views on the beauty of models working today.
What kind of models do you like for a show?
I have a casting director. And...casting directors sometimes have priorities that aren't mine. The fashion people will notice if you are using what are considered the best models in the business. And if you try doing anything too tricky with the models, it starts putting you into a territory of being like a young designer.
But I'm very happy usually. Because, I mean, among those people there are very wonderful, fantastic girls. And if you notice, I don't use girls that are that unusual. I use the same girls that Prada uses, that all of these people use. I just take all their make up off. Because I like to see just the skull. Cause they are like alien creatures already. When you see them without the make up and without the clothes and everything, or when I put them in my clothes, they are like these wonderful insects. They are just incredible. So I don't really have any complaints about them. I just take the make up off and turn them into Rick Owens girls.

You use a lot of models from the agency Supreme. Paul Rowland, the founder of the agency, describes their edgy, unconventional beauty as "intelligent". He means that you have to be smart to appreciate it. Do you agree?
Well, I think...The fashion world that we are working in is an extreme fashion world. We can't use conventional beauty because it has been done, and done, and done. It's impossible to be interested in conventional beauty when you reach the very sophisticated level of aesthetics that high fashion is. So you have to look for something else. And that's what's happened. We've created a beauty that's a little...It has to be inaccessible in order for it to be interesting. This is about creating a dream; it's about moving forward and experimenting and exploring. So yeah, in that context these girls have to be unusual, they have to be esoteric, they have to be exotic, they have to be special. And that moves beyond conventional beauty. So, you know, there's a place for conventional beauty, but high fashion is not it.
This part excerpted above was accompanied by the following picture of Freja...

...which got me to thinking. Where does Freja fit into this scheme of esoteric vs. conventional beauty? I've posited before that she's one of the few models who can so effortlessly navigate the extremes: high fashion/mass market, masculinity/femininity, and classic/contemporary. My initial thought was that she can do the same in this case; she can be either conventionally beautiful or unusually exquisite depending on the occasion and needs of her employer. However, after some careful thought I think that instead of embodying both qualities, Freja defines the aesthetic paradigm shift Rick talks about in the above quotes.

We have moved on from the conventional to the unusual; so much so that the unusual can seem like the conventional ironically enough. What I mean is that the parameters of beauty within the fashion industry have shifted so that the old notions of classic and conventional beauty are nearly obsolete. Like Rick said, they still have their place within our world but just not in high fashion.

Freja is hugely popular and widely considered to be one of the more naturally gorgeous models out there. Yet she is an unusual beauty. She has a very pronounced cupid's bow, strong and hard jawline, sharp nose and lots of visible tattoos. Set her in the 1950s and she would not be anyone's standard of beauty by any means. But in our modern times, she is conventional enough that brands like Gap and H&M have used her in campaigns that must appeal to the largest swath of people possible. She is a living, breathing, moving example of the fashion industry moving forward, pushing boundaries, experimenting and redefining the ways we measure beauty.

And so, when the unusual becomes the conventional, we start to see an emerging beauty that's more extreme that what we knew before. The recent proliferation of models like like Meghan Collision, Jaime Bochert, Ranya Mordanova, and the existence and mission statement of Supreme demonstrate this. Perhaps it's only a matter of time before we move even further to the left in terms of beauty (like we have started to do with Lindsey Wixson). Or perhaps, like fashion is oft to do, we will move cyclically back to old standards and norms. Regardless of what happens, I think Freja will always have a place because for once she's treading firmly in the middle of two extremes.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I was struck by one thing while watching the Chanel details video above: Freja and Baptiste share very similar facial features. I don't know why I never noticed it before. Maybe it wasn't laid out so plainly for me to see like it is in the video.

It's particularly in the way video crops their faces at one point, putting focus on specific features. If you watch starting at 1:55 you can see that Freja and Baptiste have very similar lips and chins. The structure and angles of their faces are also comparable, along with the cut and loose style of their hair.

With the way the cinematography is done in the video, especially the way their footage is cut in succession, I have to think this was intentional. Perhaps Karl's subtle way of showing us why he's so enamored with both Freja and Baptiste? Although Freja came first. :) If you think about it though, she started working a lot with Karl again just around the same time that Baptiste took over for Brad. Coincidence or not? Do you think Baptiste reminds Karl of Freja, or do you think Freja reminds Karl of Baptiste?

I don't really know where I'm going with this...I just think it's kind of amusing. It will be interesting to see how all these working relationships play out down the line. Although I'm half afraid that Freja has been relegated to an accessory role. Judging by what we know about the SS10 campaign being shot in Buenos Aires now, Freja and Baptiste are playing second-fiddle to Claudia so far.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's wonderful that Karl supports Freja so much, but I don't want her to turn into the female equivalent of Brad/Baptiste. I don't want her to get pigeon-holed and consequently written-off as Karl's play thing. I want her to continue working with other designers and creative types in the industry. It's how Freja will continue to grow and develop as a model, and gain new fans and respect. I supposed it's a conundrum though. How do you pick between stability and financial security on one hand, and street cred and risk-taking on the other? And if she's going to keep working with Karl so much, at least he could give her an only girl campaign again. Ugh, I know I'm probably sounding like a petulant, spoiled child right now. Maybe I'll feel better about everything once we see some new Freja material that's not produced by Karl.

But speaking of, he's photographed her (and Baptiste of course) for some book about hair. Schwarskopf is a German hair company and they're celebrating their 111th year by putting out a commemorative book with contributions from various people like Karl.

I think Freja is killing it in these. But I'm still holding out for work not lensed by Karl. :)

Image Credits: rp-online.ed, via tFS members candlebougie

Friday, October 23, 2009

Candids and Spy Cams

Candid pictures of Freja at fashion events are few and far between, so I just had to post this one I came across in the September 2009 issue of Interview Magazine. It was taken by Derek Blasberg back in July when Freja was in Venice for the Chanel Cruise collection. We saw another picture from the after party, but this one features Lara in addition to Freja and Heidi.

(Full page)

(Cropped version)

Talk about deadly stares...if looks could kill, these would definitely do the job. :)

And speaking of Chanel, you have to watch this video from the SS10 collection. Freja isn't in it, but it's the most interesting and entertaining 4 minutes I've seen in a long time. They put a hidden camera in the hair of model Nastya Karzan, and through this you get to see what it's like to be backstage amid all the craziness. I just love the contrast between the discombobulated flurry of activity behind the runway and then the organized composure of the crowd in front of the runway. Two very different sides to the same coin right?

I also love how small everything seems from Nastya's perspective. This is such a great idea that I'm surprised we haven't seen it done sooner. Leave it to matter how bizarre he seems sometimes, he always manages to push the boundaries.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

On the Webpages Of

Freja may never appear in the pages of Vogue (other than in ads) but at least she makes the occasional appearance online. Funny that they would chose that picture to illustrate that news clip. Especially since, if I'm remembering correctly, Freja had a friend cut her hair for her back in July of 2007. God, was it really that long ago? Time flies.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chanel Campaign News

Argentina here we come. In a complete change of direction, Karl will be shooting the SS10 Chanel campaign in Buenos Aires. The Vermont countryside had it's moment in the spotlight, but now it's South America's turn. Here's the excerpt from WWD:
TRAVEL, NOT LEISURE: Karl Lagerfeld will soon have a new stamp in his passport: Argentina. The designer is shooting the next Chanel campaign on location in Buenos Aires with Claudia Schiffer, Freja Beha Erichsen and Baptiste Giabiconi. It will be Lagerfeld’s first time in the South American nation. “I only go to places if I have a professional reason. I’m not a tourist,” he said. The multitasking designer said he would also work on a forthcoming book about architecture in Argentina. — Miles Socha
Unpredictable move for Karl in both location and model choice. Seeing as the runway show was centered around a big barn, one would think Vermont would be the natural location in which to shoot the campaign. So I'm very interested to see how things will turn out and what the final concept will be, especially shooting in a city as beautiful as Buenos Aires. Let's just hope the end result is better than what Karl turned out shooting in Monaco.

With Claudia in the mix (perhaps substituting in for Lara as the blond milkmaid), I think there could be potential for something good. I can't wait to see how everyone works together and how their looks mesh. Leave it to Karl to keep us on our toes, all while remaining somewhat predictable at the same time.

And now, let us have a moment of silence for Heidi. You will be missed but hopefully we'll see you in another campaign.

Editorial Comparisons

What's Glam Now
Harper's Bazaar November 2009
Ph: Karl Lagerfeld

If I'm going to be honest, I feel quite apathetic towards this editorial. I don't think it's horrible, but I don't think it's that great either. It just kind of exists, so I don't really know what to say about it. Freja looks good (although it's pretty hard to make her look bad) but I hate that they've airbrushed her face so that it's nearly unrecognizable in the 5th picture. I think this was shot in Venice, probably at the same time the Chanel Cruise show was going on back in July. (Edit: my bad, it was shot in Monaco. Thanks anonymous commenter!)

The sparse backdrop, singular focus on clothes and use of full designer looks did make me pay more attention to the fashion being highlighted. In fact, I even started to recall other editorials featuring the same or similar looks. (Note: All the following editorial and scanning credits can be found in the image file name.)

Louis Vuitton

I love seeing how the same pieces can end up looking so different from editorial to editorial. Fashion is really about transformation. Models have to transform and so do the clothes. So if you think about it, photographers and stylists are just the manipulators of external factors.


I also love doing these comparisons because it puts things into perspective. For example, I think this editorial's shortfalls become more evident when you see it next to others.

Dolce and Gabbana

The setting is incongruous with the concept, which is itself underdeveloped in my opinion. Just because you shoot in Monaco doesn't automatically mean it will be glamorous.


I would almost rather have seen this shot in a studio. At least then all the empty space would make more sense. The setting already looks fake in some shots anyway.

Giorgio Armani

I think Freja is a competent poser, but we all know it's never really been her strong suit. Perhaps I'm just having a Karolin moment, but I really think she puts everyone else to shame.

Marc Jacobs

It's the subtle details like her hands that make me stop in my tracks. Attention to detail like that comes with an innate sense that's really difficult to teach.


It's ok Freja. I love you for so many other reasons that more than make up for your posing. Plus I'm sure it was hard to do a good job with Baptiste awkwardly holding you. And really, who wouldn't look just ok compared to this?

Thank you for indulging my Karo obsession. Moving along now...Freja also has an editorial in the October issue of Numero. You can see the full thing here.

I haven't been able to get my hands on this issue yet, but it's a must buy in my opinion. In addition to Freja's editorial, two of my other favorite models have editorials. So with Freja, Karmen and Karolin, this issue is like a dream line up for me. Numero has always been amazing in this aspect. Each issue is jam packed with editorials featuring girls at all levels--from ones just starting out to established veterans--so you're guaranteed to find at least one ed that's to your liking.

Image Credits: My scans, frockwriter, scans by tFS members AngelLover, Diciassette (17), Luxx, achAT, Melange and helligirl.