Thursday, November 19, 2009

Stand and Deliver.....Sort Of

I'm going to preface this post by saying that Freja will always be my favorite model. I love the idealized persona she represents, the niche she fills within the fashion industry, her projected sense of complete self confidence, and her resolve to stay true to herself. In many ways I owe my interest in and love of fashion to her, and for that I will be forever grateful.

But I think I'm going through a little rough patch in my Freja fandom. I haven't really liked any of her editorial work in a while and the new Twin Magazine ed is no different.

Stand and Deliver
Twin Magazine #1
Ph: Boo George

I don't know why I haven't been able to get excited about her editorial work recently. I see her eds and I'm happy because she's getting new work. But I save the images out of habit, not because they're so stunning that I just have to have them for posterity. As soon as I saw this new editorial, images from an older one immediately popped into my mind. The slight similarities in mood, makeup and look were striking enough to draw up the comparison. And while I was looking back at this particular ed I remembered what it felt like when I used to love everything Freja did.

Individuallure (excerpts and not the full ed)
Vogue Italia Supplement March 2008
Ph: Paolo Roversi





This isn't Freja's fault, but the Twin editorial seems over-styled (fashion wise) and over-stylized (photo wise). The contrast and hues, in the black and white images especially, are overly pronounced to the point where they're distracting. And honestly, I'm so tired of Freja playing the same type of role over and over again. She has the talent and range to go more feminine, and I just wish people would give her the chance to do it more often. I realize that it's probably a bit unfair to use Paolo Roversi's editorial as a benchmark, but it shows the freshness, excitement, and inspirational beauty that I miss seeing.

I'm sorry to sound so negative, but maybe letting all of this out will get it out of my system. It's just that the fan adoration for Freja has gotten to be too much for me. The constant chorus of unanimous praise and the near-religious levels of devotion are rubbing me the wrong way and perhaps pushing my fandom in the other direction. I also feel the law of inverse proportion at play here in that the more work Freja gets, the less I get excited. Or maybe this is simply a manifestation of human nature--you always want what you can't have, but the second you get it you want something else.

Then again, as a fan I should be allowed to be critical. In fact, I think it's my duty and just because I don't like all of Freja's work doesn't mean I'm any less of a fan for it. Someone should say that Freja looks tired and worn out in this new editorial. Someone should say that she looks overworked and drained. Someone should say that they can't feel the heart behind the work. Someone should say that it feels like she's just going through the motions, even in the behind the scenes video. But of course, this is all very subjective.

Regardless, blind devotion and complete consensus don't move the world forward. If everyone agrees with everyone else all the time, how do you progress? It's the voice of criticism that challenges the status-quo and makes you reevaluate why you like something or someone. You're forced to take a look at your own positions, and as a result, they can be strengthened and solidified under the critical assault.

And since no one else seems to be capable of being critical (just read Freja's thread at tFS), I guess I have to be my own voice of dissension. Gah!! I'm know I'm such a hypocrite. Here I am talking about fan devotion on a freaking blog dedicated to Freja that I, myself started....just wait, in a few months time I'll probably be proclaiming my love and devotion once again on tFS, complete with the gross overuse of happy faces and hearts. Sorry, but you'll have to put up with my whining until then.

I'd appreciate hearing some of your thoughts on the editorial, whether you loved it, or loved it....or maybe, just maybe, even felt something less than love for it. :) I can get so wrapped up in my own thoughts that I sometime lose sight of the obvious...

But I will end on a positive note. The vulnerability that Freja projects here is amazing, raw and quite touching.

Image Credits: scans by tFS members candlebougie and leggy e11e


Anonymous said...

I understand the "going through the motions" thing, it is a bit boring, although she still looks incredible.
She has the features to be feminine and I wish people would play on that more, instead of just her own style and persona.

Love the blog.

Anonymous said...

I think her eyes are oustanding in that ed. I like how intense they are. In fact they were what attracted me to her. The way she looks project intelligence. I could make an entire essay about this subject, so I will stop here.

But perhaps what is happening to you is similar to what is happening to me. I discovered Freja some months ago, around april I think, I surfed through all her tfs thread in awe with each new photo, but lately I have become a bit bored. She doen't surprise me anymore. Also doesn't help that the video about the Twin magazine shooting was too revealing, those photos were there. In a forum I recently read someone was complaining about the lost aura of expecting to see how the ads, campaign, editorials would be in fashion magazines next issues since now we have so much immediate information on internet. This last spring/summer season even we have had twitpics before the real show has begun!

But perhaps this is only my appreciation of things, I tend to become bored and in need of the next exciting new obssession out there. Slight obssession to fun or to learn about.

If this was a board it would be fun to encourage us readers to post our favourite photo of hers. Perhaps it's what you should do.

Sorry for the long long comment.

Anonymous said...

did you see her in Bazaar shot by Karl in I think the October issue? I really enjoyed that one, b/c she was styled differently than she has been in a while..

Rrose Sélavy said...

Thanks for reading Sara!

To the second commenter, I've been a fan going on two years now, and this is the first time I've felt this way. So it's not that I'm bored with her...I don't really know what it is. :(

And to the commenter above, yes I did see that ed and even wrote an analysis of it.

Anyway, thanks all for reading and sharing your thoughts!

Root Beer said...

"She has the talent and range to go more feminine, and I just wish people would give her the chance to do it more often."

before we 'complain' or 'moan' about things, i think she didn't seize the opportunity to prove herself to be versatile in the first place. Her personal style is always safe and consistent, like Karl. She tried to have different looks in the book for the Sonia Rykiel SS 2010 show but...

Anyway, since she made her mark in fashion by her androgynous features, so why not stick with that winning formula.

Rrose Sélavy said...

I'm going to have to politely disagree with you Root Beer. The androgyny didn't come into play until later in her career. Much of the work she did when she first started out was feminine. She proved her versatility early on. But then she cut her hair and that limited her to androgynous material.

When you stick with the same formula for too long things becomes staid and uninteresting. The excitement comes with change.

And her features aren't even that androgynous to me. I think she has quite feminine features, especially when she smiles. There are plenty of other models out there who are more androgynous but they don't get pigeon-holed as much as Freja does.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, i agree with you.
It's interesting that i do not feel a thing looking at the whole ed.
I did not feel the toughness of leather portrayed in freja's expressions (or postures), nor in how the leather was worked (through the postures and lighting), nor the environment.
Neither did i feel the rips and tears or devilish delight!
it was just a blank, don't you think so? Much as the setting was over-styled/stylized, it wasn't portraying all that it had seek to be aye?
It might be an issue of not being directed well... i don't especially like the whole staring at you looks by her..i thought inner strength can be better portrayed rather than brutal directness...but then again, this is just me...
and i a way, i don't see how vulnerability is coherent with the subject matter (leather)...unless..we are talking about leather as a facade, a shield, a decoy to the harsh world... then again.. this 'theory' doesn't seem to work with the way the photos are*shruggs*
My fav ed is the one in I-D mag, shot by Collier Schorr. It was very coherent, precise, and romantic.

Anonymous said...

thank goodness i wasn't the only one who disliked this ed. everything feels forced and completely unoriginal.
they could've done so much with Freja but they choice a safe and easy route.

Anonymous said...

also with her hair now growing back, her agency should push for her working with bigger magazines like Vogue Italia and Paris even the British publications like I-D and Dazed would suffice.

Anonymous said...

Love Freja , hate the ed!
At the first look it seemed so promising, but I feel like the way they portrayed her and edited the pics make it that way (the clip is way better) . They wanted to go for something fierce, cool and sexy but it's only work on the image outside, no depth within. Regarding your comparison, I personally prefer the old one. Look at her eyes, there were more in it that capture my heart.

Anonymous said...

p/s this ed just looks like she's mad at the world, while in the old one, it was staring but there was still a vulnerable side within.

poor little rich girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

they made her look like effy from skins especially style/hair wise and shes on a completly different level to that. i dont think it was necessary bad it was just a bit bland and staged. the bottle shot is a bit cringe as well.

ps. enjoying your blog
your a great writer
do u write on any other subject matter? i would be intresting in reading it.

Anonymous said...

RRose, I think your a sweetheart. Your certainly more interesting than some of Freja recent eds :) I agree the Twin ed was nothing special. I think the best pics in recent times of young Freja would be the ones the girls @
took at Paris Fashion week. Her smile, dimples and pesonality just radiate. I'll take these type of candids over played out andro-gender bending eds anytime.

Anonymous said...

This always happens with female models who are portrayed in a more masculine manner, people begin to ask when are they going to start looking more feminine but it's never the other way around I've noticed (no one ever asks "when are we going to see Edita V. in a suit?").This isn't meant as a response to you, just a thought.

Anonymous said...

I love Freja, I truly believe she's a good model.... but I'm getting a little bit tired of the whole androgynous look, and the worst thing here, is that it's not even on her hands, she only accepts what they're offering to her. It's so sad to see how categorized she is now, I mean, c'mon lagerfeld had put her on men's clothes!!. I really hope this would change in the future, cause it's starting to look boring for me.

Rrose Sélavy said...

Wow, thanks everyone for all your comments and contributions. I love reading the insightful things you all have to say. This is the type of discussion that excites me.

To address a few things: No I don't write about anything else. Honestly, nothing else inspires me to write as much as Freja does.

And yes, there is double standard with feminine and androgynous models. This was a great point to bring up. But as long as gender roles in society remain the same, femininity will remain the dominant ideal for female models.

Lastly, it is sad to see Freja's range limited like this, because there isn't anything she can do about it. Hopefully things will change as her career progresses and her hair grows. She's surprised many times before and I'm hopeful that she will again.

Anonymous said...

But as long as gender roles in society remain the same, femininity will remain the dominant ideal for female models.

^But by subscribing to them (gender roles) aren't we promoting/agreeing with them and allowing the cycle to continue? I also kind of want to see a more feminine side to freja's, work like earlier in her career, but I'm not saying that she "should" be styled in a more feminine way.

Rrose Sélavy said...

^There's a fine line between being complicit and being subversive. I don't really want to get into a discussion of feminist politics here. Ideally there would be more fluidity from either side. Feminine models being used for more masculine work, masculine models being used for more feminine work. And hopefully with that, gender roles would gradually become obsolete. But styling Freja androgynously all the time does nothing to move the conversation forward imo.

Anonymous said...

Since we're on the subject of feminine and masculine work, I think there is some hope for Freja fans that she will get work that will allow her to show her range of appeal in the near future. (especially with her growing out her hair)

One good indication would be the recent SS10 season when she opened for Chanel and Chloe, and closed Valentino all in one day. I think all three shows styled her differently, and all three houses have very different appeal and collection as well. I hope this is a sign that fashion designers and people within the industry see her as more than just the poster child for androgyny.

Anonymous said...

Are those lines on her lower stomach (i see three; one longer heading towards her belly button and two shorter lines either side) the elusive first tattoo?

I too was dissapointed with the ed; she can be so diverse and flexible with her work, i just wish more people would play with that.

Gillian said...

Everyone here seems to be massive Freja fans and very familiar with her previous editorial work. I'm fairly new to fashion, and when I saw her on basically every runway show in recent memory, I thought oh hey, let's see how this girl looks in pictures. This editorial was the first thing I came across and I was floored. A lot of it has to do with the composition of the photos thanks to Boo George and also the makeup and styling team, but through my unfamiliar eyes, these shots are very powerful. The eyes specifically are almost hypnotic, I can't look away...
You lot definitely have seen more of her work than I have which makes it possible to say this is repetitive, but if you were to look at these pictures just for themselves, not as part of a body of work streching back six odd years, I don't think you can say they are bad ones, by any stretch.

Paola Mae said...

^i agree with you gillian. in fact, i've only been a fan late last year. this is one of the first editorials with her that i've seen. she's gorgeous in the colored shots - radiant even.

but my absolute fav are the first and last: the one where she's in leather top coat and lace-up boots, there's just something about the slouch and the way she leans slightly, and the almost juvenile glare, and the way her legs seems so naked; and the one where she's topless in a hat and black jeans, there's power there and just a touch of desperation.

overall i liked the ed.