Freja, if you continue to produce work like this you'll have me fan-girling again like a 12 year old in no time. Whatever it is you're doing, please keep it up because the start of 2010 has been fantastic for your work and your versatility. Not a Lagerfeld-lensed editorial in sight. No androgynous styling to be seen anywhere. It's like you're a new model, and in a sense you are because we've seen you work with Meisel for the first time in your career, and you're back in the pages of Vogue Paris after a few years' hiatus.
Vogue Paris February 2010
Ph: Inez and Vinoodh
This is a beautifully shot and composed editorial, and it's something I can get excited about. It's both visually stunning and intellectually stimulating. When you look at this, you can see more than just the clothes, models and setting. You can see and feel a subjective social voice behind it as well. Maybe it's just me and my tendency to over analyze things, but I see an appropriation of the Middle East going back in the tradition of Edward Said and his concept of Orientalism. The clothes are all current yet the setting is devoid of any reference to modern times or technology making the differences (whether actual or merely perceived) between our western world and this eastern one even more stark. There is also a play on the now pervasive tourist snapshot that captures out of place people in extraordinary locations. The collision between western and eastern fashion norms is also apparent in the diaphanous discord between covering up and revealing the skin. There is also the idea of male desire and the male gaze, made even more poignant when one understands the history and role of the harem in middle east culture. These are just some of the thoughts that came to my mind, but I will not expound upon them for fear of boring you (although that's probably too late).
Anyway, I don't believe this is your typical east meets west fashion editorial. There is something different about it and this is what interests me. The setting is far from glamorized. There are no sweeping landscapes or gorgeous vistas. In short, this isn't a travel magazine spread like fashion eds sometimes can be. So I guess I'm left with a feeling of unease after seeing all the images. This isn't a bad thing at all, but I just get an ominous feeling from the confluence of all the elements in this editorial. Something is very unsettling in the way the images are cropped and composed. It's like I want to see more, but I physically can't. Nevertheless, this is just my own reading which is undoubtedly influenced by my limited knowledge of the current situations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Moving along, Freja looks to be at the top of her game. She's working well with both Lara and Dree, yet she's able to stand out in certain shots. You can feel her glare jumping off the page and straight into your own eyes. It's just so refreshing to see her in something where she doesn't come across as passive, bored or uninvested. The rest of the editorial is quite interesting too. There appear to be three fashion stories going on simultaneously. Although I wonder, why were all the shots pushed together in one big editorial? Why not just have three separate pieces? If you look at each story individually there is enough narrative and cohesion that they stand on their own: Freja, Lara and Dree's shots being one, Daria's being another and the studio shots being the third. Interesting choice by the VP team.
Your thoughts, comments, insights, criticisms? I'm interested in hearing what other fans think beyond the fact that Freja looks good.
Image Credits: Angelscans and tFS member AngelLover