Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Long Awaited

This is another one of those times I'm cursing myself for not checking off the box next to "French" on the list of courses to take in school. If anyone has any significant insight into what the narrator, designers or other people in the video say about Freja, please feel free to share. In the meantime, just some thoughts on "Les Filles en Vogue" and huge thanks to tFS members Valentine27 and FrenchCactus for graciously taking the time and effort to upload the film and share it with all of us.




Models are poked and prodded backstage so much more than I ever thought they were. It must drive them crazy to basically have no personal space for the duration of the shows. And it's interesting to note that three is Freja's lucky number. Hence the three lines tattooed on her finger and the three circles on her wrist. Any other threes you can think of?


Freja is so relaxed and so nonchalant about everything. I can see why she's so appealing to the people she works with and for. There is a calming, soothing nature about her that comes across so well here. I can only imagine how attractive it is to be around in real life especially during a hectic show season. But I think it's important to note that this nonchalance should not be confused with apathy. Even though Freja may not show it in conventional ways, I do believe that she is invested in and enjoys her job as a model. In the past five years I think we've seen her accept her own role in the industry on her own terms. It was a process that took time and the onset of maturity--two things not often granted to models.


She's deeply entrenched in the midst of all the action, but her demeanor is such that she appears to be floating above it all, slightly detached. She personifies the meaning of her tattoo "float" to such a perfect degree. And now I understand why it's on such a prominent location of her body.


After watching this all, the following quote is what particularly stuck out to me:
"I don't think you should let anyone dictate what you should do with your own body. You do sell your body as a product but it's still yours. I body....I get to do with it what I want."
What an interesting thing for a model to say, and perhaps the reason why Freja has been labeled as the "rebel" throughout her career. You can sense the conflict that she must feel towards her role as a model. One the one hand, it's a job that has given her success and access to the comforts life can offer. On the other, it has required her to give up part of her autonomy and individuality. Relatively speaking, it's a tough position to be in and there's an implicit struggle in Freja's words and a yearning to reconcile the two conflicting factors.

The sentiment Freja shares about her body is a perfect microcosm of the feeling that I (and I think many of you) have towards the fashion industry as whole. There's an internal conflict that perhaps all of us feel towards fashion at one point or another. Assuming that you're open-minded and liberal (as most people in fashion tend to be) the industry's tendencies towards sexism, racism, ageism, and sizeism are all political and social issues we fight against in our daily lives and denounce in our beliefs. Of course women should be treated equally and schools should be integrated. The color of skin shouldn't affect a person's place in life, nor should the size of their waist or the wrinkles on their face. Yet you look at the fashion industry and all those things are reflected back in the worst possible ways. (i.e. Terry Richardson, white-washed runways, the fact that a size 4 is considered to be "curvy," etc...) But because this is fashion and we love it and get so much enjoyment from it, we accept it's negative aspects in ways that we'd never allow in other avenues of our lives.

I don't know....maybe I'm only speaking for myself here. Although I do feel that this is the same type of conflict that Freja expresses in regards towards a model's relationship to her own body. We might appear to be complicit with the industry's discriminations, but hopefully we'll actually end up being subversive in the end. Just like Freja tattoos her body to regain the autonomy she loses every time she's required to become the "blank slate," I hope that some of us will leave positive marks that eventually change the industry's way of doing business.

On a less serious note, I have to say that I'm in love with Sasha now. I nearly died from laughter when they show her at the very end trying to close her beat up suitcase plastered with random stickers. She comes across as such a lovable, genuine, fragile, yet strong woman. She's an individual through and through and I find her personality incredibly endearing and addictive. As a matter of fact, all the models come across very well. Vogue Paris has a wonderful feature on their hands, and I sincerely hope they decide to do this at least every year, if not every show cycle. It's a win-win for everyone. More press for the magazine, more press for the models, and more fodder for the increasingly model-obsessed fans like us out here.

And Freja, I know it's your body and all, but geez least try to pace yourself with the smoking. Your fans want you around for a long time to come!

All in all, my expectations were met with this film. It was entertaining but also thought provoking. It changed some of my opinions, but for the better. And it instilled in me an even deeper sense of respect and awe for the models who are able to endure and persevere season after season. What about you? Your thoughts? Changed opinions? Anything?


Anonymous said...

yea the film met my expectations, i just wish we would have seen the models at chanel. freja is beautiful, she should go easy on the smoking you can tell she does it CONSTANTLY. i also fell for sasha's charm, i love how she says MASH POTEITO!! lol. the film was great over all hopefully we get an english subtitle soon. also i liked when they showed freja at times and the sound of waves in the background would come up. very enchanting in the mist all all the chaos

Anonymous said...

Very interesting movie, as well as your thoughts and comments. I didn't know much about Sasha, i fell in love with her too! (The girl obviously has a talent. As a graphic designer, I would be interested in seeing more of her drawings!) As for Freja, the girl is pretty and elegant as always...

The fact that she's the only one talking about the 'body as a product' is not super surprising. After all, didn't we all expect it? I wonder if she's the only one preoccupied about the topic.

I wish we could see her smile more often though, as in the last interview for First Face. (You can see she's lot more relaxed with a friend around.) Otherwise she becomes deeply serious in front of the camera. I think that girl is very thoughtful about what she rejects and I don't see her much as a rebel.

And I love Constance, that girl is very grounded, and she speaks very well.

Kim said...

I think the part when Sessilee said that the reason why she is modeling is that her brother could go to college is just so touching. Sometimes when people, like me, look at models and fashion, all we can see is glamor and we don't see what happens behind it. All the rushing, all the preparation, we usually don't see that. And, like you said, when you work with photographers like Terry Richardson, you can get mistreated. The need to be thin is also so hard on them, although Freja sounds like she is one of those lucky ones who don't ever get fat no matter what she eats.
I cracked up every time when they show Freja, they would put the water sound clip with it. I have a very tender scalpe, when I see the how they pull on models' hair in Chloe, all I can feel is pain.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that she is aware of how much she smokes, lol.

I think I understand why the director of the documentary described her as cold. I don't think she is though, just very blunt and to the point. She probably wasn't comfortable with being filmed for the documentary. She doesn't seem like the type who loves attention.

Anonymous said...

sessilee didn't get much film time in the tents as the other girls did..cause shes not white?

Anonymous said...

@ the last commenter:

That is possible yet I do think that another factor is involved, stage presence. Sasha indisputably has more screen time than the rest of the models, and after watching the documentary one can easily why. It is usually the slightly deviant ones that garner more attention. In Sasha's case, maybe she defies the stereotype that her doll-like face may have inspired by showing her talent as a painter and her overall positive personality, thus prompting the audience to have a second thought about these "life-size dolls."

About Sessilee, the focus of the documentary seems to skew toward depicting lives of currently employed models rather than sporadically employed one hence her limited screen time. Nevertheless, as I noted earlier, your comment about race is a highly plausible factor. After all, diversity in the fashion industry is too complicated a topic to be distilled into a short power point presentation with three or four bullet points.

Anonymous said...

I never liked Freja much. Don't know why.. it seems I'm still in love with supermodels of the 90's. They still seem so perfect to me.

But after seeing this movie I changed my mind. I got interested with her. Seems soo different, original and smart at the same time. Really liked her and wish her all the best.

I also find Sessilee very interesting. Self confident, focused on her career with clear values and goals she would like to acieve. Rest of the models, forgive me, made an impression of a liitle bit silly and goofy with nth intersting to say.
I only liked the scene with mom's sweater in the end - really good, fragile and touching.


yantomycin said...

i Really wish i could understand french....hope there will be a subtitle to this....

PreppyLittleLady said...

I know im late, like a year late, but I can totally translate some of the bits where they speak french in the vid.. just send to me the exact time frame! (im fluent in french )

Message me on twitter, southener_

Camou said...

As PreppyLittleLady, I'm also a bit late, but I would be happy to translate some parts of those videos. I'm French, but I have been studying in UK, so my English is not so bad!:D Unfortunately I don't have the time to make subtitles for the whole video, but I would glady translate some bits if you ask me to!:D I'll give my e mail address to anybody interested!