Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Covering the Possibility

Been thinking about this for a while you think Freja will land on the cover of Vogue Paris any time soon? I keep going back and forth in my mind, making arguments that say "yes," then promptly defeating them with counter-arguments that say "no." So I thought I'd lay it out.

-Her first and only cover was nearly 5 years ago in November of 2005. Shot by Testino, it was a multi-girl cover also featuring Maria Carla, Natasha, Solange, Vlada and Tasha. Needless to say, a solo spot and proper cover is long overdue.

-The recent issue of Vogue Paris Collections was dedicated to her, resulting in a cover image composed literally of an army of Frejas.

-Not only does Freja have an editorial in the current June/July issue of Vogue Paris, she's also one of the five girls featured in a special supplementary DVD movie shot by the venerable Loic Prigent of "The Day Before" documentary series fame. Short preview clip is up at, and posted below for your quick viewing pleasure. Freja's bit begins at around 4:08, but the whole thing is an interesting watch:

(Translation of what Carine says thanks to tFS member French Cactus: I recently got interested in Freja. She is very aristocratic in her mannerisms, her poses, her walk. She is naturally elegant. She is very professional on the runway, yet she has a certain nonchalance. She has a certain something, she is extraordinary.)

-Freja is the face of Chanel, Max Mara and Balenciaga for the upcoming campaign season so she's sure to be one of the industry's most recognizable models in the coming months. What better way for a magazine to appear on trend than to feature an esteemed model who's career is going just as strong five years in as it was when it first started?

All these factors considered, you'd think she was being primed for a cover right? But maybe it's because of all these factors that Freja won't be getting a cover. Let me rephrase it this way. Are these things indicators that that cover is forthcoming? Or are they consolation prizes in lieu of one? Your guess is as good as mine.

Image Credits:, scan by tFS member vogue28

Monday, May 24, 2010


Finally got my copy of W in the mail. Freja has two more shots in addition to the one I already posted before. At first glance this seems like just another studio edit, but one neat thing about this is that W has supplemented each shot with commentary from those involved, whether it be designer, stylist or model. You can read the commentary on the pages, and also some additional insights online. This approach definitely brings new breath to what could have otherwise been just another studio ed languishing in the mundane.

Best In Show
W Magazine June 2010
Ph: Craig McDean
Styling: Alex White
Other Models: Various girls all from IMG, but only Freja's shots scanned below

“How do you look both powerful and feminine? I wanted to explore that question.” —Tomas Maier, Bottega Veneta
“I wanted to make her look kind of glamorous, and a little cherubic at the same time. I hadn’t see Freja like that before. It’s an unusual way to do a look like that—prettier instead of boyish.” —Eugene Souleiman, hairdresser

You can't ask for a better model to embody both power and femininity, as Freja has proven over and over again. And Eugene definitely succeeded in drawing out the cherubic qualities of Freja face in this first shot. I don't know about you, but cherubic definitely wasn't a word I ever associated with Freja before. But I'm glad others are starting to see beyond the boyish androgyny.

“This look has been influenced by an Irving Penn picture representing someone from the streets wrapped in a poster with words. I used words and text from the work of Cindy Sherman and the French artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster.” —Nicolas Ghesquiere, Balenciaga

Knowing that Nicolas incorporated Cindy Sherman's work just makes me love this Balenciaga look even more, as she happens to be one of my favorite artists. (I mean, who doesn't love Cindy Sherman?) So having Freja model the look is just icing on the cake.

“For this collection I was thinking what embodies chic now: a precise shoulder, the contrast of black and white, a skirt that fluidly encircles the body.” —Giorgio Armani

Don't you just love seeing Freja being so 80's power career woman chic? That hair actually does wonders for her and it's a look that I hope we get another chance to see again. The soft volume contrasts well with the severity of her stare and the linearity of her body.

If you have the chance, I really recommend that you go through each shot online to read the commentary. For it's within the context of the commentary that each look makes more sense to me. I can appreciate the entire story so much more than if it had merely been a studio editorial of just one girl jumping against a gray background (cough, US Vogue, cough).

Another great thing about this editorial is the use of models. You've heard the cliche "location, location, location," but when it comes to fashion and editorials I really think that "casting, casting, casting" makes all the difference in the world. Not only is this a great showcase for IMG and their robust roster of models, this also presents a wonderful cross-section of the modeling world today. You have models at all different stages of their careers, at all different statuses within the industry, and at all different levels of fame. I felt excited to flip through each page of the editorial because I couldn't wait to see who would be next and what she would bring to the page and to the clothes.

And speaking of, it's always nice to finally see how looks from the runway translate to the page. Perhaps it's a little too early to be thinking about Fall, but I don't mind one bit if it means I get to see those divine Balenciaga and Burberry looks.

Freja has done some great work for W recently, that I'll be so sad to see it stop. So please don't stop it Stefano Tonchi.

Image Credits: My scans

Friday, May 21, 2010

Musings on a Scandal

I debated on whether or not to even blog about this, but it's something that I do want to address. I love fashion a lot, but that doesn't make me blind to the negative aspects of it. The sexual exploitation and power imbalance that can define the relationship of photographer to subject, with the whole scandal around Terry Richardson being the most recent and high-profile example, cause a lot of conflict for me. How can an industry that purports to celebrate the female form and allow women to express their creativity and individuality also allow a man like Terry Richardson to continue working?

The exploitation maybe isn't as obvious the higher up you go in the modeling world, but that doesn't mean it's nonexistent at other levels, and to go on pretending that it is does no service to anyone. I've held my tongue before but this time I want to make my feelings known.

Collection Privee
Vogue Paris June/July 2010
Ph: Terry Richardson
Styling: Carine Roitfeld
Other Models: Lara Stone

This editorial is lazy, flat and trite with a recycled aesthetic to boot. Was there any effort put into this at all? Because it sure doesn't look like there was. And to even have Lara and Freja mimic Terry's personal trademarks (thumbs up, aviators, wide grin) is absolutely distasteful in my opinion. To be honest, I'm just really disgusted. Not because of what the images look like, but because of who's behind them. For this is a case where I can't separate my feelings out and even attempt to look at this editorial objectively. For me, the scandal and subsequent inaction that has been taken towards Terry have left a very bad taste in my mouth. (How can there be no consequences for his actions? Why are women like Anna, Carine and DvF still working with him? What message is this sending to other photographers and models? What message is this sending to young teens?) From now on, the way I regard any of Terry's work will always be negatively colored. Freja's presence in this editorial isn't even a little bit of a saving grace. In fact, I really hate that she's working with Terry a lot more now than she ever was before. She appears to be such a strong individual that it's disheartening to see her working with such a weak one. And to see her even purposely taking on his persona (like in the 9th picture) is just a slap in the face.

And all the people coming to Terry's defense and making up excuses for his behavior just show me how easy it is to turn a blind eye to the truth when it's beneficial to your own self. It shows me how easy it is to maintain the comfortable status quo instead of enacting change. It shows me how hard and risky it is to actually have the courage to speak out against disgusting actions performed by people in positions of power; for inevitably the judgment, scrutiny and blame will unjustly fall back on the victims. It also makes me realize that the job I do in my day to day life, and the industry that I work in are still as needed as ever in the world today. Perhaps even more so because many people now operate under the assumption that everything and everyone is equal, and that we live in a post-modernist, post-racialist, post-feminist, post-whatever other "ist" you can think of world. Well, clearly we don't.....complacency can be a dangerous thing.

I think Tavi said it best and better than I ever could, and no I'm definitely not afraid to admit when a 14(?) year old is more eloquent than I am. You can agree or disagree, you can tell me I'm overreacting, you can call me a typical American prude (even though I'm not objecting to sexualized photography or nudity, just the impetus behind it), you can say whatever you want to say but nothing can change the way I feel about Terry and consequently, his work.

Nevertheless, I do feel guilty for indulging in fashion as a whole when I know that this Terry situation isn't the first, nor is it an isolated, case. After all, aren't I being complicit simply due to the fact that I consume these images? I do feel like a huge hypocritical ass sometimes, but at least I can recognize and admit that. That's something, right? And maybe I'm no better for merely acknowledging it and then moving on and really doing nothing about it. But that's a battle I'll continue to have with myself (rather than attempt to further play out so poorly on this blog). So this will probably be the last time I do a post about Terry's work with Freja, assuming that they work together again. And for the time being I'll just try to focus on all the good that comes from fashion, but I'll still make sure that I'm at least aware of all the bad.

If you've read this all, thank you for indulging me.....I'll step down from my soapbox now.

Image Credits: Scanned by tFS member Valentine27

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

In The Beginning

Wanted to take some time to revisit what are perhaps some of Freja's earliest test shots taken by photographer Jens Stoltze. Not sure how many people have seen these, but I think they're worth another look now especially in light of Freja's current career and what she's come to embody in the modeling world.

Test shots give you a good feel for how a girl photographs and what she's able to give to you in front of the camera. I think the mood and atmosphere set up in tests also play a part in establishing an upcoming girl's modeling niche. Play up her quirkiness and she'll most definitely go the high fashion/indie magazine route. Emphasize her beauty in a straightforward way and she's molded for another path.

This is why these tests are so interesting to me, for Freja is playing the role of a sexy, feminine vamp. With that sun-kissed skin and damp hair you half expect to see her rolling around on a beach for a swimsuit catalog. And she looks so soft and playful which is such a change from the hardened, stern look she tends to wear like armor now. So looking at these tests, would you have expected the model in them to ultimately become the very definition of androgynous chic? The one model who people laud for her casually cool, boyish streetstyle and praise for the toughness and strength she conveys in her work? So many people forget or simply don't even realize the feminine underpinnings of the early part of Freja's career.

Definitely makes me wonder what Freja's agents had in mind for her at the start of her career. But no matter....the passage of time brings change, and change necessitates adaptation and the evolution of ideas and expectations. To look at a model's early test shots is to take a glimpse into her past and recognize the familiarity but also acknowledge her growth and development. Search out the early tests of your other favorite models and see what I mean. You'll be surprised at how much, or how little they've change; or how far they've veered from or stayed the course on their initial aesthetic paths.

As much as I rag on the constant androgyny that permeates Freja's work, I know that it's a huge reason she's the model she is today. Still, I can't help but wonder how different things would have been if the alluring femininity displayed in these test shots had instead become the dominant theme in Freja's career. Ahhh, "what ifs" are fun to think about so long as you don't lose your grip on reality.

Also, this is unrelated but needs to be said. Big thanks to for the shout out and link love! I am beyond flattered, but also slightly embarrassed about the attention being called to my amateur musings. Nevertheless, it is truly, truly appreciated. The real credit for this blog goes to Freja and all the other fans out there who share their thoughts and words of encouragement to keep me going. So thank you too!

Image Credits:

Friday, May 14, 2010


The upcoming June issue of W Magazine has an editorial featuring some of the many great models on the roster of IMG in a Fall fashion preview. Running the gamut from industry legend (Liya) to newly crowned it girls of the moment (Julija & Sam) and everyone in between, Freja manages to snag the opening shot for the whole story:

Best In Show
W Magazine June 2010
Ph: Craig McDean
Styling: Alex White

This marks only the fourth time that she's worked with McDean. The last time they worked together resulted in this brilliantly dynamic editorial for Interview magazine. And even though there's just this one shot for W, it's another great one. What better way to drawn in an audience than with a captivating, beautiful, and distinct face? Now frame that face with gloriously curly hair, and a fuzzy gray sweater and you have the perfect picture of Fall.

Even though I wish Freja and McDean would collaborate on more only-girl editorials (3 out of the 4 times they've worked together have resulted in one-shots like this), having something short but sweet is better than having nothing at all.

I also have to wonder if this is the last time we'll see Freja styled by Alex White? With Stefano Tonchi now at the helm of W, Alex's position there is uncertain as staff shuffles are likely to continue happening. And that's really too bad because Freja has been a consistent fixture in W under Alex's styling hands. But perhaps she'll continue styling for Karl and Chanel, and perhaps Freja will keep on landing Chanel campaigns. One can only hope for the best, since this is most likely the last time we'll see Freja in W for a while now that Tonchi wants to take the magazine in a different direction. Think more "lifestyle" (read: celebrities) and less "fashion" (not that there was even that much to being with). Yeah, I'm a little bitter.....

Oh well, more international magazines it is!

Image Credits:

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Freja is Back for Balenciaga

Add another brand to Freja's campaign count this season! The news comes from (via tFS), so it's legitimate and confirmed instead of just speculations and hearsay:
"A bevy of top-model beauties and top-notch photographer: these are the ingredients behind Balenciaga's Fall-Winter 2010 campaign.

The legendary maison under the creative direction of Nicolas Ghesquière for more than a decade, features some of today's youngest and most successful supermodels: Freja Beha Erichsen, Stella Tennant, Mirte Maas, Karen Elson, Julia Step, Meghan Collinson (sic), Eliza Cummings and Iselin Steiro.

Steven Meisel, who photographs regularly for Vogue Italia and Vogue America, has already photographed the ads for a lot of French brands.

The styling has been overseen by Marie Amelie Sauvé, Ghesquière's friend and muse, along with being the stylist for the Italian and American editions of Vogue."
It will be great to see Freja modeling for Balenciaga again, along with the likes of Iselin, Karen and Stella (talk about flashback to the early 2000's!) As for the rest of the cast....I'm definitely apprehensive. On an individual model basis, my feelings run the gamut from absolute love to strong dislike. So I really don't know what to expect from a campaign combining all these girls with such differing aesthetic appeals. To make this more digestible, pictures arranged in alphabetical, first name order for those who don't know their models:

Now imagine how they will all fit into one campaign. Can you see it? I'm having a hard time discerning an overarching vision and cohesion here. Then again, maybe they'll be shot separately like the models were for SS09. Regardless, I'm happy that Freja has finally landed in a Meisel Campaign. Even though her two previous Balenciaga campaigns were both shot by David Sims, I still have high hopes for this one. The strange combination of models all put together might actually just work. Don't let us down Meisel. You have a lot to live up to, because it would literally be heaven to see something as good as these again:



And talk about being at the top of your game. Congrats Freja on being both a Chanel and Balenciaga girl this season. You're as in demand as you ever were and finally making up for all those skipped seasons. :P

Image Credits:, bwgreyscale

St. Tropez Fun

It was great to see Freja back on the runway again. Despite donning three disparate looks, I thought she looked refreshed, comfortable and happy to be walking. Then again, who wouldn't be happy getting whisked away to St. Tropez this time of year to walk on the beach and play Chanel themed Bocce Ball?

The rest of the cast was made up of a mix of old and new models, all who seemed to be having a blast walking (mostly) barefoot around the cafe like beachfront setting. No matter what you think about Karl and his designs, he sure knows how to put on a good time for everyone, audience and models included. (There's a reason why Chanel is the one show that most models want to walk.)

We saw all of the usual suspects walking, but we also saw the likes of Crystal Renn, Tanga Moreau, Marloes Horst and Veroniek Gielkens making for one very interesting, unexpected and diverse cast. But diverse only in age, body shape and industry experiences. Racial diversity was glaringly non-existent, which is especially surprising to me since we're coming off a FW1011 runway season that saw breakthroughs for a wide variety of girls from different backgrounds: Lais Ribeiro, Joan Smalls, Mengyao Xi, Sun Fei Fei and Carla Gebhart immediately come to mind. Where were they?

Anyway, Karl's full film "Remember Now" also premiered in conjunction with the runway show:

There is surprisingly little of Freja to be seen throughout, which could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it and taking into consideration the Paris-Shanghai film. For me, this film was definitely less cringe-worthy and actually pretty enjoyable. I'm going to attribute it to the fact that there was less talking and more dancing/partying. Taken for what it is--a tone piece meant to showcase the attitude of the collection--the film delivers and the models do a great job. Karl isn't pretending to be Spielberg here, so as long as you recognize that it's pretty easy to revel in the sheer entertainment value of it all. And I have to say that I laughed so hard when Uncle Karl made his cameo. Never change Karl....never change. And never stop using Freja for your work. It's something I've come to expect and frankly, depend upon. It's reliable and it comforts me, and that's a very rare thing to find in this industry that thrives off of trends and constant change. So even if I do complain sometimes, it's out of love and appreciation.

Your thoughts? Am I the only one who didn't mind the film? Thoughts on the runway casting? Did your favs walk? Didn't you think Freja looked good?

Image Credits: