Monday, August 2, 2010

On the Beauty of Magazines

I finally got around to picking up a copy of Freja's Vogue UK. My encounter with this particular issue is just going to reiterate how important I think it is to buy actual magazines because the viewing experience is so much more enriching and fulfilling than just seeing the images online. The colors seem more vibrant, the glossiness of the paper adds dimension and having a tangible object in your hands makes the images look least to me. You're also privy to more information about the images you're viewing, making for a more robust experience. Case in point: The editor's letter and contributors pages tell us what people think about Freja, and they tell us about the context and inspiration for her editorial.

I feel like I was destined to love this editorial because it combines two of my (and probably the vast majority of twenty-something females') interests: art and fashion. I know this isn't a novel concept by any means, but I feel like rarely do we get to see the connection and conversation between the two so pronounced as it is in this editorial. Josh Olins took his cue from English figurative painter Euan Uglow. Knowing this tiny, but significant, fact changes things completely. I now look at the editorial with new eyes and the images take on new significance, especially when compared with their inspirational source:

If you read about Uglow and his artistic process, Olin's photographs don't seem so simple in their appearance anymore. My previous thoughts on the editorial read Freja's positions and poses as the best way to display the clothes. But I found this particular bit about Eglow's working methods particularly enlightening:
"Planes are articulated very precisely, edges are sharply defined, and colours are differentiated with great subtlety. His type of realism has its basis in geometry...."

That's from his Wikipedia page. (I have better researching skills but considering my lack of time and library resources, that will have to do.) Freja was posed that way to emulate the figures in Uglow's work. The planes, sharp edges and colors also happen to be great ways to show off new looks for the upcoming season. :) Fashion and art intersect in so many ways that it's a pity the same respect and scholarly seriousness hasn't been accorded to fashion like it has been to art....but that's a whole other story.

In case you want to know, here's what Josh said about Freja on the Contributors Page:
"I'm really glad my first cover is with Freja. She's beautiful but boyish, and has this great repertoire of innocent and feminine expressions. She'll sit down and look grumpy, but when you take the picture she looks captivating."
And here's what Alexandra Schulman said in her Editor's Letter:
"We all admire Freja for her distinctive looks, which stand out amoung the sea of pretty, tawny-haired models that often prevail on the catwalk. Photographer Josh Olins's shoot, featuring autumn's off-beat colour mixes, is the perfect vehicle for her boy/girl allure."
Mentioning Freja and "boyishness" has become too easy and trite that's it's completely lost all meaning for me. I wish people would start to move away from that because it dilutes the meaning of the term, and frankly I think it's a misuse. In her modeling work I really don't see how she's more boyish than any other model. Hilary Rhoda and Isabeli Fontana (no offense to them) have the manliest jaws in the industry but they're both considered "sexy." Maybe the term is in reference to her body, but in editorials where she's wearing clothes to cover that up it becomes a non-issue. Maybe it's in reference to her demeanor in person and on set, and for that I have no factual basis to judge that on. It just don't get it, so please someone enlighten me. Moving on....

This instance just strengthens my resolve to continue buying magazines because the industry cannot die out. If I had not bought this issue I never would have read about the Uglow reference. It would be a travesty to lose the print industry; not just magazines but books as well. Having something in my hands forces me to read it and absorb it more than I would have if it was just on the screen. (The irony of me using a digital method to communicate this message isn't lost on me.) Technology is wonderful and it gives us so many things, but to completely lose the preciousness and uniqueness of certain experiences in the haste towards progress and technological trends would be a huge mistake. It doesn't have to be one or the other. People can have i-Pads and e-readers and still buy magazines and books, with both mediums working in concert to create a complete and total experience. Or maybe I'm just too old-school and living in a dream world....

Image Credits: Scans by tFS member fearless123,,,


Anonymous said...

love this post thanks for sharing. and going back to the whole boyish appeal it has to be the way she presents herself in person.

BunnyBehan said...

This is such a precious eye-opener. Thanks for the reference to Uglow, very very precious.

I've just received my VP collection FW 1011 with Freja all over the cover. Of course there're no editorials and almost no art-related experience but once I look closer at the season, the whole vision of fashion appears clearer than ever.

Stupendous said...

I totally agree with you on the desire for something real, and this is reality is so important to me, which is why i still buy CD's and magazines etc. hopefully it never dies out, because although we can access things through technology, the precious things may end up becoming nothing more than light projections behind a screen etc., and really, what is that?
and yeah i'm a massive fan of Freja. This 'boyishness' used to be something that i would identify her by, but over time, seeing how great and versatile and distinguished(?)she is as a model, that 'boyishness' has become simply 'beauty'. Freja Beha is a beautiful model.

Miranda said...

"Hilary Rhoda and Isabeli Fontana (no offense to them) have the manliest jaws in the industry but they're both considered "sexy." That made me laugh--the manliest jaws part.

If this was a few years ago, the notion that we might be losing the whole print industry would've made me incredulous. But lately I've had my doubts as well. Even my mom remarked on how more and more people are getting e-Readers and all that. I only wonder how many of us there are that still cherish the aesthetic of print. I've tried being optimistic about this...I mean, books have existed for more than a millenia, which is quite a stretch of time, so it almost seems unfathomable that they'd just become relics of the past now. It's a shame, yes, a travesty.

But then again, maybe I'm kind of old-school (or just set in my ways) as well. And I can't imagine forfeiting the smell and touch of glossy magazines....

In my mind, the very image and essence of reading is well, sitting there with two hands flipping open a book, a magazine, and yes--a newspaper, definitely.

Annika said...

Wow! Thanks for digging deeper into this. I wasn't terribly impressed initially upon viewing rather small sized scans of this editorial, but now knowing more about the artistic process and Uglow's paintings makes me see it differently, which is fascinating really! I wonder how I would feel if I could see it in person! Now I must have to track down the issue! It's hard because magazines are so expensive...but when I find an issue I love, I tend to hang onto it for a long time.

And a sidenote, looking over all the fantastic editorials she's had lately, I wonder how she'd be as an actor or if she'd even be interested in that (beyond that one video where she's smoking and looking sulky and wistful)?

Rrose Sélavy said...

Thanks for the comments all!

@Stupendous: Really well said. Freja is very versatile, but sadly her personal life seems to overshadow her talents and causes some people to only see certain aspects and characteristics.

@Miranda: Perhaps it's only a matter of time before there's a reaction and people return to old forms of print. I guess we can only hope. I mean, records have made a comeback lately so hopefully tangible print will never become truly obsolete.

@Annika: The editorial looks even better in print. :) And about Freja being an actor....I think she's probably make a better Bless her heart, but she was definitely pretty awkward in Chanel's Shanghai video.

Anonymous said...

IDK if anyone has told you, but your blog got a mention on

If you scroll down where it says "Modelling News"
There's a part that says "Freja is certainly killing it. Keep track of all her top work by her favorite fan, right here.
See how Rose reconciles her dislike of a certain fashion photographer with her love of Freja."

Congrats! :D

Anonymous said...

I believe Freja has had at least one look at this blogspot because this BS is the one of the first things that pop when I google it. You, Rose, have been doing a really good job and if I were Freja, I would be more than happy :)

And yes, lol. Freja should really turn a musician as she ever wanted it. Her dance scared me and her acting cracked me up (I dont mean to be a harsh asshole, just react because it was so funny and cute).

Music is better, she has her heart for it <3

Rrose Sélavy said...

I did see it! Thank you! :D Betty @ has linked here before, and I'm always utterly surprised and completely honored when she does it. Especially since there are so many great blogs out there. I really just happened to pick a very timely, and great topic to write about. That's all it boils down to.

Freja has said that she only goes to tFS to look at pictures and that she never reads stuff about her, so I really do doubt that she comes here. I'm sure it's pretty surreal and kind of strange to have a whole site dedicated to you, run by someone you don't know...haha. So I def wouldn't blame her for staying far, far away.

מיכל♥ג'וש said...

such a smart + beautiful post. thank you.