Saturday, December 12, 2009

On Success and Street Style

Craig Arend of Altamira has a really interesting interview with Faith Kates up on his site. As far as modeling goes, Faith is a pretty important figure in the industry considering that she started Next Model Management. Next is home to models like Abbey Lee, Karmen, Anja, Anna J, Catherine and Karlie, so it's definitely one of the heavy hitters agency wise.

The interview is a very good read if you're interested in models and how their careers develop. There isn't an outright mention of Freja, but while I was reading some of Faith's comments Freja did come to my mind:
"...I think that in our world...when a girl starts, if you have one of the three or 4 really important photographers behind you, that's the girls that are making it. So if you have Steven Meisel, you have Mario Testino, you have a Craig McDean, you have a David Sims... you have one of those guys behind you, you're in."
"The photographers and the magazines have all the power. Designers are important, don't get me wrong. They are very important. But I think it goes first with if you can get to the photographer. There are some girls that are really photographers girls."
One of the reasons I admire Freja so much is because she's managed to become successful without the huge support of a major photographer. On her level of modeling, she is the only girl I can think of who's the exception to the rules Faith speaks about above. Coco, Daria, Stam, and Elise all had Meisel's blessing. Catherine was a Testino girl through and through. But Freja? I really believe she built her career by staying true to her own individuality, knowing her strong suits, and playing off of her physical strengths. Yes, Karl is a huge supporter of her now, but at the very beginning of her career Freja made a name for herself on the strength of her modeling abilities. I know I'm biased, but I think that even to non-fans, her charm and appeal are undeniable and her face is truly gorgeous. Her androgynous characteristics merely heighten her appeal in that they provide a complimentary (and perhaps contradictory) contrast to her feminine beauty. Most girls are lucky enough to get the backing of top photographers, but only once in a blue moon is a girl lucky and talented enough to get to where Freja is without their help.
"You don't have to care about clothes...I don't think you have to love clothes. I don't think you have to dislike clothes. I just think you have to know how to wear clothes and know what feels good and right on you."
Reading this brought to my mind Freja's street style. To be frank, I'm bored with the way she looks off the runway because she's utterly predictable. Black, leather, black and more black. But even though I feel this way, I still think Freja looks good every time I see a new street style pic. And it's because of what Faith refers to above. Freja absolutely knows what is right for her and she sticks to it with unwavering loyalty. She doesn't experiment like Iekeliene, Irina, Kinga or Hanne because that wouldn't fit with her modeling persona. She wears clothes that look right on her and probably feel good to her. And she's most definitely mastered the art of minimalist chic with an androgynous flair. This might sound cliched and frivolous, but I really believe that when you feel good and comfortable about the clothes you wear those feelings translate to other parts of your life, and people are innately drawn to that.

I think that if I ever saw Freja wearing a dress off the runway I would laugh. But oddly enough, she looks perfectly normal wearing a dress on the runway. Go figure. It's amazing how much the context can impart the meaning in a situation. Anyway, what do you think about Freja's street style? Why do you think Freja's been able to attain her level of success? Sometimes I think I can be so biased that I lose all ability to even conceive of a different viewpoint, so yours are welcome.

Image Credits: altamira.blogspot


Anonymous said...

hmmm, i guess she's that successful, because she's professional, takes modelling as a job, is on time for work and gets along with the people. and doesn't party too hard
i guess it's like in other jobs. once you establish a good relationship with clients and they are content with your work, they'll tend to hire you again.
it's all about reputation. if model misbehaves at a job, people will talk ...
and another factor is that she's quite unique. there are tons of models who look alike and who you can't even distinguish.
and a last thing that comes to my mind. she stays in shape. gemma ward was highly successful, but nobody would book her right now, no matter how professional, nice etc. she is

Joyce said...

in regards to the 'stay in shape' comment - i think freja is one of the lucky ones that are naturally built for high fashion. i know there are a lot of pressures in the industry to 'stay' slim (i.e. taking a look at cat mcneil's latest news) but freja seems to be blessed with the body type that's suitable for her career. she also smokes like a chimney, that might act as weight control.

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SF said...

i think it's a 'curse' to be tied up to a single photographer. fashion/photographers can be fickle and drop a model out of it's a good thing she isn't too attached to a single photographer...unless Karl continues his stranglehold into next year.

Anonymous said...

I think I would have to sit down if I saw her in a dress off the runway.
I wish she'd wear blue jeans again once in a while.

I agree with the "curse" comment, if the photographer moves on, where does that leave the model?

Rrose Sélavy said...

I never thought of it that way...being tied to a single photographer as a curse. Very interesting. That's what I half worry about with Freja and Karl though. If Karl decides he's done with her, what next? Modeling is such a fickle industry all around that I guess we just have to be prepared for anything and not get too attached to one thing/person. Although it's kind of too late for me when you look at the title of this blog. :)

SF said...

^ loyalty. it's a hard thing to get rid off.
i can never imagine disliking my faves no matter what little they get.

Anonymous said...

"give a man a reputation as an early riser and that man can sleep till noon"- mark twain i think thats very true in regards to freja.