Thursday, July 29, 2010

Random Bits: Inspiration, Encounters and Candids

-Molly Girard Coonan and Alice Barlow, the two people behind new label Barlow, are just like us in that they find a source of inspiration in Freja. Her picture is apparently up on their inspiration board, and they told NY Mag's The Cut that they "like to mix in elements that are both masculine and sexy." Well, if you ask me they couldn't have picked a more perfect source for that type of inspiration.

-I came across a lovely (but oldish) Freja encounter. During the shooting of the editorial "Before the Fall" for Vogue UK August 2008, fashion intern Rebecca got to meet Freja and just recently posted about the experience (complete with pictures) on her blog. Here's a snippet of what she had to say:
"Anyway in between camera flashes and set manoeuvres I found myself, the overzealous intern, engrossed in conversation with Freja and mesmerised by how laid back she was. Personally, I was overwhelmed by the whole experience. I’d acquired my own chauffeur for the day to ferry me to and from the studio, I was immersed in a sea of designer shoes and garments that, no doubt, amounted to more than what I would earn in my life time and I had drinks, CHOCOLATE, and first class food on tap. Freja was, obviously, used to what I wasn’t! and seemed so happy to sit and chat with me about me – oh and tatoos. She has ‘Float’ scrawled across her neck amidst numerous other skin engravings. She informed me that she just floats through life – like I hadn’t noticed."
You can see the pictures over on her blog as I don't feel comfortable posting them on here because I really only came across them by chance.

-Lastly, here's a candid picture of Freja, Abbey Lee and Leigh Lezark back in May at the Chanel Cruise show that was held in St. Tropez. It's still slightly odd to see Freja wearing a "color" other than black. ;)

Image Credits: My Scan

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Quick Recap

Just in case you've lost track, here's a quick recap of all of Freja's current work:

Balenciaga by Steven Meisel
Chanel by Karl Lagerfeld
MaxMara by Mario Sorrenti
Tom Ford Eyewear by Tom Ford
Valentino by David Sims

Best in Show, W Magazine, June 2010 by Craig McDean
Collection Privee, Vogue Paris, June/July 2010 by Terry Richardson
The Untold Crime, Vogue Nippon, August 2010 by Terry Richardson
Colour Shock, Vogue UK, August 2010 by Josh Olins
Modern Love, Interview, August 2010 by Craig McDean
Winter Before Winter, Vogue Paris, August 2010 by David Sims

Vogue Paris Collections F/W 10.11
Vogue Paris, August 2010 by David Sims
Vogue UK, August 2010 by Josh Olins
W Magazine Korea, August 2010 by Craig McDean

Chanel Haute Couture F/W 10.11 Accessories Video
Paparazzi Shots in Soho on 7/21/10
Ridiculous and ludicrous article from Jezebel about Vogue UK cover
Vogue UK cover getting even more press

It's been a very busy few months, and the S/S 11 season isn't even here yet!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Range and Power

Not much to say about this that hasn't already been said better and more effectively by someone else. And with all the work that's been coming out at such a rapid pace, I'm pretty worded out anyway. I know right? Can you believe it? Besides, we all know you're here for the pictures and not for the words I write. And I should probably be more cognizant of that, instead of taking advantage of it, so this will be (relatively) short.

Winter Before Winter
Vogue Paris August 2010
Ph: David Sims
Styling: Carine Roitfeld
Other Models (not pictured): Aline Weber, Crystal Renn, Daria Werbowy, Frida Gustavsson, Iselin Steiro, Isabeli Fontana, Monika Jagaciak, Joan Smalls

Versatility, variety, variation, volatile, etc.... Freja demonstrates the qualities that make her one of the top models working today. Effortless and organic, this editorial has it all. So many of the shots are capable of standing on their own, each telling a story and sending a powerful message. All leaving an indelible impression on my mind at least. Whether it's humor, rage, or power, there's an extremely emotional aspect to all of the shots. And with such a range it's hard to be bored or disappointed.

All of the other models featured in this are superb as well. I love this mega designer showcase editorial so much more than last year's one photographed by Inez and Vinoodh. Each model here brings a unique dimension and perspective to the different vignettes. And these vignettes break up any potential monotony that might arise from shooting head-to-toe designers looks. Check out Aline, Crystal, Daria, Frida, Iselin, Isabeli, Jac and Joan if you haven't already. Definitely a must buy issue.

Freja's had so much work recently, but what I'm most impressed with is that this work has stretched her abilities and displayed her adaptability and ease in front of the camera. And this particular editorial is like a summation of her range and skills in one short story. From tough androgyny, to glamorous femininity, and everything (and every role) in between, she's shown us that models only get better when they're allowed to expand beyond their stereotypes.

Image Credits: Scans by tFS member Carla-A

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Contributor

Here's a little addendum to the Interview Magazine editorial I just posted. Continuing on with the trend of model emerging as a personality in her own right, Freja's featured in the "contributors" section of the magazine:

Even if the model appears in the main editorial, she doesn't always get this spotlight. In fact, it's more a rarity than a common occurrence. I think the models that get this feature are ones like Kate Moss, Lara Stone and Daria Werbowy. So no matter how inconsequential something like this may seem, I think it's a pretty big deal and speaks loudly of Freja's rising status as a model.

Image Credits: My Scan

The Beauty of Modern Love

Continuing on her path towards utter domination, Freja has a magnificent editorial in Interview to cap off this whirlwind of a month:

Modern Love
Interview Magazine August 2010
Ph: Craig McDean
Styling: Karl Templer
Other Models: Dan Kling
Casting: Michelle Lee @ KCD

This is just a beautiful story perfect for some escapism. You can lose yourself in the narrative and let the portrayed emotions wash over you. This is as sentimental and delicate as we've ever seen Freja. It's the type of fashion story that seeps into your consciousness slowly, imbuing your mind with thoughts of loves lost, loves who never were, and loves who could have been.

This is so beautiful because of these implied emotions. Love stories have been done many times over in fashion editorials, but when it's done right it hits an emotional chord that makes us forget that what we're seeing has been seen before. Old associations become new, powerful and very raw again.

McDean/Freja is most definitely my new favorite photographer/model combination. The work Freja has done under the scrutiny of his lens has been some of her best. It's been the work that stands out in my mind as superb, and when I think back on the year that was 2010, I'll inevitably return to their collaborations.

There come times when I think I've seen it all in regards to Freja, but then she surprises and delights me with facets and subtleties of her modeling I never knew existed. Whether it's the intensity and sheer dexterity she displayed in Tough Ballerina, or the delicacy and wistful contentment she displays in this story; it's clear to me that her best editorial work happens under McDean's guidance. Feel free to argue with me on that point but you'll be hard pressed to sway my opinion. Oh, and how about giving it up for Michelle Lee? Kudos to her for the brilliant casting and for envisioning Freja in a role most other people wouldn't or couldn't envision.

Freja plays the role here convincingly, and with aplomb. The chemistry she has with Dan is palpable and they could have fooled me. Not to mention they share eerily similar features and have the same type of presence, making the role of lovers that much more distinguished, albeit a little disturbing. I'm always surprised by people who are surprised to see Freja express any type of femininity. The type she displays here is the kind that's ever so slightly tinged with an undertone of modern androgyny (which is itself present in a good majority of models working today), and I think this is what has defined the better part of her career save for a few seasons. However, I suppose that once you cut off your hair and become the poster child for androgynous, rebel bad girl, you can't easily shake that stereotype even if the work you've been doing for over a year is completely counter to that old meme.

Anyway, no boyishness from Freja to be seen anywhere on these pages. All I see is a woman and a model growing into her own self and being allowed to express a different aspect of that self that she might otherwise never get to express. And isn't that what modeling is about? Successfully taking on different roles, but never completely losing yourself in the process? If so, then Freja is most certainly one of the best and her number 2 rank on proves it.

Image Credits: My scans

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


We have our first look at Freja's role in the Balenciaga F/W 10.11 campaign:

I really think I love this. If it looks this eye catching in these low-res images, then I can only imagine how great it will look in the magazines. Things always look better in print, especially Balenciaga ads that seem to be made with the two page magazine format in mind. Remember last season's cut and paste job? Perfect example of how to engage readers by utilizing the inherent qualities of the format at hand. Not everyone liked the ads visually, but as tactile and tangible pages, I felt they were immensely successful.

Anyway, I also really love the unconventional model choices. Each girl is unique enough on her own that you really don't think they will all mesh well together to create one coherent campaign. But when you see the full set of images, you begin to understand that it's their quirks that bind them together. It's like one magnificent family portrait series. The focus on each girl is so serious and intense that it feels like a psychological study. And even though the aesthetics are nothing alike, I get a sense of Johannes Vermeer and his portrait work. I feel it most in the quiet gravity of the atmosphere and the heavy presence of the individual persons. In the following comparison, the use of clothing is of particular interest.

Maybe I'm the only one that sees any relation, but I do. It's by no means obvious; just more about the feeling I get, the response I have and the associations my minds draws up. Modern day women wearing very modern clothes, yet posed and captured in such traditional ways. It's this collision (no pun intended) of old and new, traditional and progressive, classic and modern, that makes these images quite captivating. But enough analyzing for now. I can't wait to see these in HQ!

In other news, if you want to read a great piece of writing on Freja and the impact of her latest VP editorial, please check out Fashion Does It Better. It's thoughtful, beautiful and it really says it all.
"In the recent rush for breaking the rules or boundaries, many actually miss the start and often forget that the actual backbone of fashion (and fashion photography) is its ability to let one's face and body express and feelings explode."
When I read something like this I feel refreshed and inspired again by the insight and intelligence that fashion is capable of breeding.

Image Credits: via tFS member tarsha,

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I find it amusing and comical that the latest fashion "story" to break on all the fashion sites is about the appearance of the same Miu Miu F/W 10.11 dress on three different magazine covers for August, one of those covers being Freja's Vogue UK. The story broke on the Guardian Sunday, and by today it seems like every major site has picked up coverage of the story:

At first I thought this was all pretty ridiculous and being blown completely out of proportion (Not to mention that's it not even the exact same dress on all three covers, but two similar versions as shown above). I still think this is all pretty ludicrous, but now I also think there is a huge plus side to this regarding Freja. Her Vogue UK cover is getting free press all over the internet and people who aren't usually exposed to Vogue UK are seeing it....a lot, over and over especially if they read a lot of fashion sites. It's an attractive and enticing enough cover that it will probably get lots more people asking "who's that girl?"

I'm not so naive to think that Freja is popular enough to be considered a mainstream, household name model. 99.9% of the US population can't identify the models in the ads of their magazines, nor are they frequent visitors to tFS. So something like this, no matter how trivial and ridiculous it may seem to me, definitely helps in terms of exposure and good press coverage for a model like Freja. Especially right now as her star seems to be rising even higher. And if all of this leads to more copies of Vogue UK being bought both here in the US and abroad, then maybe Freja will land another cover in the future. And maybe more magazines will start to put models more frequently on their covers. For we can all bitch and moan as much as we want to about celebrities on magazines covers, but it's the numbers and the money that speak the loudest.

There is a silver lining to all things, so I say to all the fashion sites out there: keep re-posting this story over and over again! You're not going to win a Pulitzer for groundbreaking news, but you'll be helping out our favorite model. :)

Image Credits:,

Sunday, July 18, 2010


It's been a fantastic year so far and it's only July (or already July depending on how you look at it). We have 6 more months and another show season to get through before we can definitively say that Freja is the model of the year. But with a Vogue Italia cover by Meisel, 6 FW1011 campaigns (including an unprecedented 5th run as a Chanel girl), a move up the rankings to number 2, and 3 covers for the month of August (two of them for major market Vogues) on her list of accomplishment, it seems like Freja is leaving all other models in the dust.

It was only about one year ago when Freja began her rapid climb back to the top of the industry. She had 5 campaigns for the FW0910 season, and the month of September 2009 produced a major uptick in her editorial work that has not seemed to slow down yet. But if you would have asked me a year ago what I thought about Freja's career prospects, I wouldn't have been very optimistic. I mean, how often do you see a model having the best moment of her career five years and 11 show seasons after her debut? Sure, you get small comebacks here and there, but nothing to the degree of Freja's revival in all aspects of the industry. Whether it's runway, editorial or campaign work, Freja is there at the highest levels. She's even being interviewed and spotlighted as a model/fashion figure/celebrity in her own right.

So I know the who, what, where and when, but I have no clue as to the why. And frankly I couldn't care less as long as Freja stays consistent (which I know is a lot to ask from an industry that feeds off constant change). Maybe it was Meisel's blessing that finally did it, or the move to New York that made Freja more accessible to clients. Maybe it was the longer length of her hair, or maybe it was a just a private decision influenced by personal matters. We'll never know the cause (and it really isn't our place to know), but at least we get to reap the benefits. So enjoy the versatility, elegance and beauty of Freja's covers for the year (so far):

More to come? Your guess is as good as mine. I've underestimated Freja before so......

Image Credits: Scans by tFS members elsaskywalker, Diciassette (17), PENG, vogue28, fashion_screen livejournal,,,

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Vogue Paris Cover

2010 is turning out to be the year of Freja. Five years after her debut, she's as strong, ubiquitous, and popular as ever. Congrats to Freja and congrats to all the old fans who have stuck with her through thick and thin, and to all the new fans who are just discovering her many facets.

Vogue Paris August 2010 Cover
Ph: David Sims

I'm of course overjoyed that Freja has landed her first solo Vogue Paris cover! But the moment is bittersweet for me because I keep thinking, "What about Raquel!? When is she going to get her cover?" Nevertheless, if the model isn't Raquel then I'm so happy it's Freja for she was long overdue for a solo cover as well.

My initial reactions on the visual appeal of the cover are too affected by my sheer excitement. That stare can sure kill you. However, I will say that I think the cover looks kind of shopped. The fur of the clothes blur Freja's silhouette, making it appear as if her image was cut out and pasted over the background. Maybe HQs will remedy this. I also think Freja is capable of more than what she's conveying on this cover. Perhaps this just isn't living up to my expectations in a month where the Vogue UK cover took me completely by surprise in the best way possible.

Anyway, all of this success couldn't be happening to a more deserving, humble and fantastic model. It's days like these when I'm SO proud to be a fan and proud to run this tiny blog.

Image Credits: via tFS member t-rex

London or Bust

I know it's way too early to be thinking about the SS11 runway season, but London has just announced it's schedule. Brands like Burberry, Matthew Williamson, Pringle of Scotland and Jonathan Saunders are set to show in the city again, while Swedish label Acne will be making it's London show debut. It was only a few seasons ago when the people behind LFW seemingly decided to amp it up to attract bigger names and more attention, and look where they are now. The city's fashion week definitely cannot be missed, especially for fans of Jonny Johansson.

I don't want to be presumptuous, but I hope this lineup means that we'll be seeing Freja on the London catwalks again and for the third time in her career. She only made her debut in the city during the SS10 season so she's still relatively new there. But it's a pattern that I'm beginning to see a lot more often; bigger name models aren't bypassing the city anymore, and neither are the press and the rest of the fashion flock. With the schedule being the way it is, can you blame them?

But of course, this is Freja who were talking about. So I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that she walks at all this upcoming season and doesn't disappear on us like before or decide to retire from runway a la Raquel and Lily D. And if she makes it to London again, and maybe even that Acne show, that will just be icing on the cake.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

On the Fire Escape

I am all for progress, change and the democratization of fashion that the internet has brought about. It's revolutionized the industry in a very good way. But sometimes, too much is too much. Case in point: I don't see too much difference between these candid shots from the making of the Chanel F/W 10.11 campaign...

and this actual campaign shot in the current issue of W Magazine...

At the time the candids leaked, I was as happy as anyone else was to get a glimpse of Karl, Freja, and Abbey at work. But now that the ads are starting to come out, I wished I hadn't seen all those candids because the final campaign images seems less special. In fact, some of them look just like the candids but with the "Chanel" logo slapped on them. It's pretty disappointing.

But that's life. You make some sacrifices in order to make some gains. So I guess I sacrificed the element of awe in order to satisfy my curiosity early on with the candids.

Image Credits: My scan,, rachel_photo flickr