Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Random Bits: Architects and Smart Models

-Are you curious about the gorgeous location in Freja's current W magazine editorial? Then click over to W magazine's Editor's blog, where they have an interview with Lee Mindel. Lee is an architect and owner of the home in which the editorial was shot.

-Freja gets the treatment on "Models are Smart"

Models know zombie worms.

Models know acronyms.

Models aren't above being made fun of every now and then. Models are Smart is a hilariously brilliant tumblr that riffs off the long-thought-to-be-true-cliche that models are dumb. The author takes photos of models and overlays them with her own captions, making for one very entertaining blog. Some of my favorites:

The way the captions and the models' expressions line up sometimes is pure genius. I kinda wish I had come up with the idea myself....much like all the blog links under my "Hodge Podge" section on the right side of this blog. Oh well.

Image Credits: wmagazine.com, modelsaresmart.tumblr.com

Monday, March 29, 2010

In Two Minutes

I saw this backstage video from the SS10 Isabel Marant show and felt that it perfectly captured the range of emotions and feelings associated with putting on a runway show. In a neat little two minute package, we get to experience the calm before the storm, then the gradual rumbling of activity as the models are prepped, then the frenzy that occurs backstage as those models rush about to change, then the elation and utter joy that the end of the show brings.

Glimpses of Freja are present throughout, but I particularly like this video because it shows us an aspect of fashion shows that we rarely get to see. You always hear about how crazy it gets backstage as a show is going on, but this is the first video that's actually given me some sense of that. And I'm sure that sense is heightened at least ten times in real life. All the running around, the reckless abandon with which you have to approach changing in public, all those people prodding, poking and invading your personal space...

So at the end of the day, I think it would do us all well if we remembered that models are just doing a job and fashion is just a business that comes with it's own stresses, trails and tribulations. The glamor is what we're allowed to see (or maybe just what we choose to see) but the other aspects are there. You just have to dig around a little to find them.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


The FW shows are barely over and we already have news about Cruise Collections. According to Vogue.com:
"Lagerfeld is already at work on his next film, which will debut in St.-Tropez in May along with his [Chanel] cruise collection."
Chances are that Freja will walk. She hasn't missed a Chanel show in a long time, and she is the campaign girl for the third season in a row, fifth time over all. But I wonder who will be in the video? Perhaps Freja and Abbey since they're both staring in the FW campaign? Maybe Edita because she's been in all the past videos? (But she hasn't really been walking the Chanel runway recently.) Maybe Heidi? Baptiste for sure of course.

If Freja is in it, I just hope it's better than her last foray into acting. At least we know that she won't be asked to play a Chinese courtesan or peasant, so that's a start. Maybe with St. Tropez as the setting (and possibly inspiration?) we can expect a video of gorgeous models lounging around on a beautiful beach? Now that is a video that I can get behind 100%.

Speaking of Chanel, pictures of Karl, Freja and Abbey shooting the campaign have been all over blogs recently. But just in case you haven't seen them, here they are:

And tons more good ones here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rachel_photo/
Plus a wonderful, detailed writeup here.

They were shooting on Wednesday and Thursday down in Soho on Orchard street apparently, so for all the New Yorkers out there, this is your best chance to do some model watching and Karl watching. Maybe you'll spot him drinking Diet Coke without his sunglasses on, or listening to one of his hundreds of iPods....

Interesting choice for the campaign setting too. I bet you all were expecting a cold locale considering the big iceberg at the show and all. But Karl wouldn't be that predictable. With a barn as his setting for the SS10 show, you'd think he would have made use of his Vermont country house again for the campaign. But instead, he went all the way to Argentina. Anyway, I'm very excited to see how this campaign turns out given the setting. A little reminiscent of the old Daria Chanel campaign with that last shot, non? And I'm anxious to see how Abbey will fare as a Chanel girl. She isn't an obvious choice; but then again, neither was Freja when she was picked and look at where she is now. Five campaigns and counting....

Image Credits: elleuk.com and ajchen.com. streetlevel.com, thelodownny.com, misschico.com, fringesocial.blogspot.com all via tFS member slow_hands

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Androgyny or Femininity?

Which characteristic made you a fan of Freja's in the first place?

A comment by reader Miranda on this post got me thinking, and now I'm curious to know, what side of Freja were you drawn to first? And what side remains your favorite? I've made no qualms about my preference for her feminine side, but I also realize that some of you probably only got to know Freja when androgyny dominated her career landscape. So the million dollar question is: Androgyny or femininity?

I made the classic and callous mistake of assuming that everyone felt the same way about the topic as I did, but many of the comments regarding Freja's i-D cover have proven me wrong and shown me that there are a fair number of you out there who prefer her androgynous side.

Perhaps our preferences are just a result of whichever aspect we encountered first? I'm generalizing of course, but it seems like the old school fans love the girlishness while the newer fans love the toughness. The old timers remember the impish teenager from Denmark with the wonderful smile while the newer fans reveal in the brooding New Yorker dressed in head-to-toe black. Despite all my mumblings and severe overuse of the words androgyny and femininity in one post, I do have a point here.

Regardless of what we prefer and how we all came to be known as fans....all these things-these differences-just provide more proof as to what a special model Freja truly is. It's really amazing that she can attract such a wide array of fans based on two characteristics that sit on opposite ends of a spectrum. That speaks to a true and very rare modeling talent. She's the chalice that holds all the different ideals that we use to make the measure of a good model. And I really can't think of another one who has such different appeals to different people. But at the same time, her personality and uniqueness are not lost, but in fact seemingly magnified. It's really quite a paradox and this is what keeps me so intrigued. For with each chapter of Freja's career the paradox seems to grows stronger. Her recent surge in work has increased the scrutiny of her off-duty persona and life. I feel like she has become more "known" than ever before. (Or maybe just more obsessed over. It's a fine line.) Yet at the same time, her work continues to display this wonderful diversity and versatility whereby we'll see her looking demure on the cover of VI one month to looking tough on the cover of i-D in another month. Or we'll see her going from slick and sleek in Vogue UK to 80's glam in W Magazine. All the while you always get the sense that you're looking at something that's utterly Freja-ish.

To be so malleable and yet so distinct is quite a feat and something that Freja's is never given enough credit for. So maybe the answer to my question isn't either or....maybe it's both?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Upper East Side Glamor

Freja's latest editorial in W magazine is an absolute dream. I love it's updated take on the 1980s style of glamor, opulence and affluence. I love that it features Freja in full glam, feminine mode. I love the great casting of both Freja and Raquel as modern day ladies who lunch and lounge on the Upper East Side of NY. I love the big hair, ostentatious jewelry, fabulous clothes and cheekbones galore that pop out on every page. In fact, there isn't anything that I don't love about this editorial. Every single shot is strong and stunning with both models really emoting and showing all the new girls how it's done.

NY, NY 10021
Ph: Inez and Vinoodh
Styling: Alex White
Other Models: Raquel Zimmerman

Maybe it's the amazing sets with their extreme attention to detail, but to me this editorial looks like a beautiful tableau vivant. I keep waiting to see Freja or Raquel move on the page. I haven't been this enthralled with an editorial and it's complete vision in a very long time.

This is such a difference from the last time Inez and Vinoodh shot Freja and Raquel for W Magazine. Thank god Freja isn't treated like a background prop again. I only wish we had at least one shot of her and Raquel together so we could see them play off each others strengths and show us some really interesting contrasts. It's not often that you get two veteran models of their caliber working together, so it would have been really nice.

Speaking of, I'll never understand why people feel the need to say that so-and-so outshines so-and-so whenever there is more than one model in an editorial. Is it insecurity that elicits the need to put down one in the effort to prop up the other? I just don't get it. Perhaps I'm too PC. What I do understand is that is really doesn't get any better than Freja and Raquel shot by Inez and Vinoodh. Think about it. That's years worth of modeling and photography experience coming together in one editorial. How could it not be good? As much as I loved Freja's VI ed with Mathias, this one has to be my favorite of the year hands down. I knew from the moment I first saw it.

I always thought Freja had a little bit of that 80's era opulence in her look, and when styled in this manner you can definitely see it. The last shot is especially wonderful with Freja looking so feminine, playful and wistful. It's the perfect shot to end a beautiful story, and it's the kind of image that really displays the model who I've always known Freja to be. I'm just so happy that this year has finally brought that out again after we all had to dwell in the androgynous doldrums for so long.

You know you've just seen a good editorial when you're utterly disappointed to come to it's last image. And this might even be the last time that we'll get to see something like this, for there are major changes afoot at W Magazine. Changes that could result in major staff leaving the magazine, including Alex White who styled this editorial. I know that W isn't always the greatest when it comes to content and covers, but I feel like it's really the only mainstream American magazine that consistently runs editorials like this one and I would hate to see that change. Stefano Tonchi, now that you're the new editor-in-chief, I beg of you: give us more models and stunning eds, and less egregiously photoshopped celebrities please! Although, things are already looking bad for us fashion lovers. Blah!

Image Credits: My scans

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Great little write up on Freja today over at Fashion Does It Better. Definitely make sure to check it out because it's intelligent, insightful and succinct (something I'm not capable of). My favorite part:
"Or simply that careers are not straight lines leading either to the top or to oblivion but made of u-turns and other spirals ? Labyriths, maybe. Who gets lost today will be found tomorrow."
How beautiful is that thought? The picture that it paints is just brilliant. The site is definitely on my list of "must-reads" everyday. It's always thought provoking and inspirational in a way. And it has it's own quirky signature style of writing that I love. FBID focuses mainly on very new girls who are relative unknowns to the majority of us, but occasionally they will spotlight a girl like Freja or Maryna if there is something insightful to be said about them and the impact they're having on the current landscape of fashion. And Freja is definitely having that moment right now.

Springtime Will Punch You in the Face

At least that's what comes to my mind when I see Freja's latest cover for the Spring 2010 issue of i-D Magazine. Nothing about this says "spring" to me except for the bright green background. Maybe that explains why it seems photoshopped in at the last minute. Quick! How do we make this look more spring-y? I know! Make the background green. Genius.

The cover was shot by Emma Summerton, who is a wonderful photographer. Therefore, I have a hard time believing that this was the best option for a cover shot out of all the images that she took. It doesn't really bear the distinctive and defining characteristics of her usual work. The hair is an overwhelming mop, the angle is distracting (making Freja look even thinner than she already is) and the styling is bland. Freja also looks rather menacing. I just don't believe in this image as a cover hailing the arrival of Spring. i-D covers are usually a complete hit or miss for me though. And compared to the last cover that Freja had, this one's shortcomings become even more obvious to me:

Then again, I'd be a very happy women if the words androgynous and/or boy and Freja never appeared in the same sentence ever again. At the very least I'm thrilled that Freja is working with Emma! Their first and only other collaboration yielded this lovely editorial with Lily. So hopefully the inside story will be a bit more inspired and polished in it's execution and aesthetic. One thing that I do kind of like about this cover is that it seems to capture the essence of who Freja appears to be off the runway. It seems like it could be a candid shot of her backstage during the shows; but ironically enough, that's also a reason why this cover doesn't work for me as a cover. It just seems amateurish. What do you think? Am I just too biased against anything androgynous when it comes to Freja, or do I have some legitimate concerns here?

And good god Freja...when was the last time you took a break from working? The rate at which you're putting out new work is alarmingly fast....not that I'm complaining. But still, I think my wallet and typing fingers could use a rest and I'm sure you could too.

Image Credits: ftape.com via tFS member Flashbang, scan by tfS member Diciassette (17)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Closing Moments

This great candid shot comes to you courtesy of Bobby who runs the blog Fotovalise. He was kind and thoughtful enough to share this with me, and now he's letting me share it with you. If you love model candids you most definitely have to check out Fotovalise, especially since Bobby just posted some of his shots from Paris. Lots of models there that you'll recognize but also some that you might not, which I love. I feel like most photographers tend to ignore the lesser known models which is really a shame, but Bobby does a great job of capturing a wide and diverse swath of the fashion flock.

This picture of Freja impeccably captures her unbridled joy moments after finishing Miu Miu, her last show for the FW1011 runway season. Can't you just feel the relief and sense of accomplishment shining through on her face? The perfect picture of someone ready to celebrate, utterly at ease, and without a care in the world. Bobby has tons of more pictures like this one on his blog, including another one of Freja whom he likes to call the "mighty Freja Beha." No arguments there. It certainly takes a mighty model to walk 46 shows and put out 12 editorials in the span of 2 months. Thanks so much Bobby! Also, please respect his wishes and do not repost his pics at tFS. Thanks!

Anyway, to go along with the "final moment" of Freja's season captured above, I thought it would be fitting to post some final show moments from throughout the rest of the season. Sorry for all the themed posts recently....chalk it up to a by product of my humanities educated, tendency to search out broad, connecting concepts....

The final moments of a show, where all the girls come out in one last processional walk, serve as a functional last look for all the buyers and press sitting in the audience. Makes sense because it accords people the opportunity to solidify their ideas and discern the broader theme of a collection and a designer's vision. When captured, these moments make for beautiful pictures (check out the stunning location for Dries), and cute instances if you pay attention. Proof that it ain't over until the last girl steps off the catwalk.

So much of how we view shows is one look and one girl at a time, but the final runway promenade gives us the rare opportunity to see the total vision and complete cohesion. I love it even more in videos because you also get the see the looks from behind when the girls turn around to walk back. We wear clothes in 360 degrees and designers design clothes that way too. Pity that we can't see them that way on style.com as well. Maybe one day....

Another thing I love about these final runway moments is that we can see how all the girls compare to each other in terms of height. It's only when I look at these types of pictures that I remember things like Amanda Norgaard is only 5'8", and Karlie Kloss, Frida Gustavsson and Ylonkal Verheul are veritable giants who make other models look short.

Is anyone else as fascinated with model boards and final walk pictures as I am? Or am I kind of being weird here? I guess that to me, these type of things show us glimpses of fashion's inner workings, and I just love trying to figure how things work.

Image Credits: candid via Bobby at Fotovalise, cobrasnake, corbis, coutorture, fashionologie, style.it, vmagazine