Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Poetics of Body

Not quite sure what to say about this. I actually haven't had much to say about a lot of things recently, which is pretty strange for me and this blog because I do love a good rambling. Readers who've been with me for a while can attest to that. Anyway, I guess I should first let the work speak for itself. As for what it says, that's open for interpretation.

Poetics of Body
Vogue Korea September 2010
Ph: Rafael Stahelin
Styling: Ye Young Kim

I do have to say one thing. With the title "Poetics of Body" you'd think they would put more effort into making Freja look poetical or lyrical instead of making her look like she was attacked by piles of black clothing. But maybe that's an issue of language, translation and semantics. Either way, I really would have liked to have seen more elegance and subtlety. Don't drum up my expectations with words, only to counter them with your images. I can't say I'm a big fan of this. It's not her best work, but it's not her worst work either. To my mind, it's really

Now that people have finally moved away from pigeonholing her with the androgyny shtick, we've seemed to move into a newly dominant "too cool for school" characterization that also does no justice to Freja's full capabilities and talents as a model. But c'est la vie in the modeling world. Part of being successful is occupying a role and niche in the market. You do your character and you do it well. But to a fan like me, this gets old pretty quickly. Seeing the same thing over and over again doesn't inspire me. It doesn't enrage me. It just makes me feel apathy, which is a far more dangerous thing to feel when it comes to your favorite model. I mean, I can't be the only one dying to see Freja in full haute couture acting super delicate and feminine in a field of daisies, right? Or am I? Maybe I am.....

As with most things in life, we go through stages of ups and down, likes and dislikes. Regardless of what you might think of me since I do run this blog dedicated to her, I don't always like everything that Freja does and I don't worship the ground she walks on. I write about her because I find her and her work interesting and intellectually intriguing; although I will admit that her second "career rejuvenation" has made those things seem less so to me. How ironic that the more work I have to look at, the less I find myself inspired to say something about it. A lot of the intrigue and mystery that I was so drawn to two years ago when I started this blog is being eaten up and replaced by her ubiquity and extreme success. I'm happy for her of course (!!) but it's a bittersweet feeling that I'm not quite sure how to express without alienating some of you, so sorry about that.

I guess I'm going through one of those dips instead of hitting one of those high crests. Saw previews of both the upcoming Vogue Paris and V Magazine edits and I'm not too impressed with either. But maybe HQ images will change that. So until then, I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Maybe some other long term fans who feel differently? Or the same? Is it inevitable to fall into some sort of apathy after literally years of following someone's work? Hopefully the SS11 shows around the corner are just the thing to get me excited again.

Image Credits: cheny1117 @


bregje said...

Oh, I can totally understand you. I'm following her career for 4 years or so now, and I'm really happy that she's so successful right now.

But I'm not that enthusiastic about her work in the last few months, there was no editorial or campaign that I would desribe as perfect/totally awesome/fantastic.

I think I would love to see some work where the people in charge have a "conventional beauty" in mind. Not this cool, kind of rough and messy look that is ubiquitous. Maybe then I would start to post in her tfs-thread again! ;-))

Rrose Sélavy said...

@ bregje: Thank you for your comment. I'm so happy that I'm not the only one feeling this way! Makes me feel less self-conscious for sure. :) It's hard to walk that balance between being happy for her success and being sad to no longer feel the same excitement over it. But I'm with you...I want to see her in something conventional too. Lol. Some big multi girl editorial where they're all pretty and frolicking would be a nice change of pace. (btw, who are you on tFS?)

bregje said...

I'm not sure I want to post my username here, I'm secretive about everything :-)

The multi-girl idea sounds good. But even if Freja is stuck in her new niche for the coming months I won't be devastated by this. There are a lot of other girls that are worth following.

Rrose Sélavy said...

^Totally understandable. You can always email me. :P Kidding, kidding.

There are definitely lots of other great models out there worth following, but it's a bit of a problem for me considering I have this blog to run....I won't be devastated, but I'll have a hard time updating. :/

Anonymous said...

Deep down I still like freja because I keep seeing that girl from 2005 trapped in all that too cool for school attitude but yeah lately i don't care for her work as much.Maybe she needs a break,after all don't you appreciate things more when they've up and left you?

Rrose Sélavy said...

^Very true, but I don't want her to stop working either. I guess I'm just being whiny and wanting to have things all my way. I should just be happy Freja's getting work at all considering how many girls don't. Oh man, if she stops working I'm going to kick That will teach me to keep my mouth shut. :)

Anonymous said...

I think it's hard when the whole industry seems to have developed our appreciation of Freja right now....I mean, there are just so many articles saying she's the new 'cool girl', and especially with the hair comments, its like everyone's suddenly creeping round her. They just want to work with her, I'm not sure that they mind if the work becomes a bit... same-y?
A change would definitely be good, but the trouble is, one of the new season 'changes' is the whole fifties era, and Freja could never fit into that, possibly for her physical build (I only mean that in an objective way)
I don't know, I'm happy for her being successful too, but you sometimes almost wish she could stay more on the edge, to stop her being...spoilt?

peter irvine said...

personally i would advise you to remember the words you have said yourself and realize that you dont actually feel apathy for freja herself :) . .

"you'd think THEY would put more effort into making Freja look poetical or lyrical instead of making her look like she was attacked by piles of black clothing."

bear in mind a models job is to be what a designer , photographer or stylist wants , sadly i was reminded of this just today whilst watching americasnexttopmodel but the words still hold true . i think freja is in a position in this shoot where she has been styled badly and told to make the best of it and look poetic , i mean for a start the background of white screams editorial and hard fashion before she has even started let alone putting her in black lumpy clothing . it is THEY who i (probably like youself) am frustrated with . looking at freja ONLY , under the garments , her light hand positioning and her whimsical facial expressions in most photos remind me that freja herself is doing a good job and is being poetic , its just a shame that the editorial didnt fully understand itself or how to achieve the look ? instead they just fired out the guidelines : white background , these clothes , this model and this title . i dont think this shoot was ever destined to achieve greatness .

just trying to give you form of humble realization :)

peter irvine said...

this references this shoot only may i add i understand alot of you feel this about her work of lately , but this shoot in particular is what i wrote about ;)

Rrose Sélavy said...

to anonymous @ 2:53: I agree that with her physical build Freja isn't a model that comes to mind for the 50s era. But by god, I'd like to see someone try it. That would be interesting as hell and just the kind of change I'm looking for. You never know how something will turn out until you try it. But yeah, I do kind of feel like the things I like about her are being spoiled a bit...but I'm happy she's successful and getting work. It's a constant push/pull feeling that I have. :/

@ Peter: Thank you for pointing out the good aspects of this editorial. You're right, I'm not apathetic about Freja, but about the type of work she's been getting lately.

You readers are really the best when it comes to making sense, making good points and providing a place for a wonderful exchange of thoughts. <3

Anonymous said...

As with many of you, I'm not overly impressed with this ed. That said, I think Freja is getting some work that is at least colouring outside the lines of the 'too-cool-for-school' role. We saw some of it in the shots she had for VP in August, and personally I was blown away by the tenderness she had in some of the Modern Love photos.

Something I've personally caught myself doing is looking at Freja as Freja. After watching interviews, and getting a sense of what Freja herself is like (at least, the self she shows to cameras), I wonder if we're finding it difficult to look at her simply as a model without inferring what we have come to find from backstage photos and fan stories?

That's not to say that she's not getting a lot of work in this laid-back chic mode, but I think she's being given a little bit of leeway, certainly more than when her hair was shorter. Just a thought :)

Anonymous said...

ok the haute stuff is coming!! i think u need to vent by posting your favorite freja editorial and you favorite editorial of all time. that way you can relax a lil bit and understand the beauty of this gothic korean appeal.
K love you bye!

kim said...

I don't know if anyone noticed that Freja does a lot of the hand in the mouth pose. Not that it is a bad pose or anything. But it is almost like a signature thing.

I haven't been very excited about her work lately either. I don't love her any less and I am super happy about her getting so much work.

peter irvine said...

you're welcome , but thank YOU for providing a forum with such intellectual well written opinions and facts all with a non aggressive nature :)

peter irvine said...

on a lighter note ! thought id throw in just how much freja not only is being recognized for her modeling ability but for her creative side too :

i love her tattoo's SO much that she influenced me to get mine , right where hers is , same font too :) i just LOVE it but its my own interpretation of a freja trademark !

Float Ho said...

"Colour shock" didn't give me deep love until your post on how it's a variation of Uglow's works. Things can also different in this very case. As I notice, the font of the title reminds me of "art writing" we created hundred yrs ago in Asia (the Chinese ink, hair pen, you know) so there might be a old poem, a song, an artistic work in general underlying this editorial, something that can possibly bring the concept to light.

There are flowers, soft wool strings and veil which are meant to convey the poetic side of the ed, bring it out of those slouchy, destructured black clothes. And Freja, Freja with her masculine-feminine feature was chosen as if the ed is intended for her.

I, no less than you, long to see her in shoots of conventional beauty. How long has it been since she last did editorial shot in large nature ?

Once again, magazine is business, I think they can hardly risk putting her in a 50s vibe and tell her to do sth they're even not sure of.

Time will change it... or the length of her hair.

Sorry for the poor English. Just my piece of thought about these shoots and the problems put forward :)

yantomycin said...

I totally agree with peter and float ho. I think freja was just doing her job. And she's doing it perfectly, right?

And as float ho said, there must be some particular inspiration or something that they trying to convey in this editorial that may justify the whole cloth and everything they choose in this ed.

Every story has two side right? So, do what you best Rrose, Be CRITICAL. Dont give up in freja. I think this is just another phase in her career. And we're lucky enough to witness it.

BTW, thank you for the blog rrose.

jaimi said...

First, I love your blog! It's perhaps the only one I've come across where a subject in fashion is discussed seriously, but in a fun way. It's often provocative and always encouraging of discourse beyond 'omfg I love this ed!' or 'I don't like this'.

I feel similarly about this shoot. I'd attribute it more to the styling than her though because she's definitely not phoning it in here, as they say, but does appear a bit subdued overall. No particular shots really jump out at me.

I was surprised how much I liked the ed in Vogue Japan shot by Terry Richardson -- perhaps mostly because it was so different for Terry and showed he's capable of not always being a complete sleazebag. The Craig McDean shoot was my favorite though, by far. It didn't depict the typical, fairytale sort of romantic story --- more strained and complicated. Like real relationships are. Plus the styling was perfect!

I'm interested to see what her work with Cass Bird will be like. Cass is young and hip but the pictures I saw, I liked quite a lot. It's nice to see her in a different setting, out in nature doing something soft and kind of dreamy.

While this may be a bit dull, I'm still drawn to Freja. She is just SO versatile, it'd be a shame not to explore her full range of potential. I also appreciate that she is a private person. She's just fascinating, like a quiet person who you sort of know but come to find actually has loads of hidden talent and range and can put on an incredible performance.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes, I do wish you would just remain silent, without much to say. But hey, your blog, who am I to say. Thanks for the updates.


Rrose Sélavy said...

@ Peter: Love the tattoo!

@ float ho: Don't apologize for your English. It's not poor at all. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. :)

I think I should have made it more clear that what I don't like about this ed is the styling and concept. This time, Freja couldn't save it for me, no matter how great of a model I think she is. But don't worry, I'm not giving up on her. I suppose I'm just feeling tired and bit uninspired. But thanks everyone for pointing out all the good things that can be found in this story! :)

@ anonymous at 2:14: If you have something constructive to say, I welcome you to leave a comment here. Otherwise, take it up with me in an email. I'd rather not see childish, passive agressive comments directed at me in the public space of something that I've put a lot of work into. So if you have a problem with me and the way I run this blog, you can find my email on the side. :)

Miranda said...

"A lot of the intrigue and mystery that I was so drawn to two years ago when I started this blog is being eaten up and replaced by her ubiquity and extreme success."

Exactly. I think that is exactly how I feel right now as well. It makes me sad that the sense of unending newness and enthusiasm that I held for Freja (and other favorite models of mine) is fading away. Any anticipation that I have as of lately is much more subdued than previously.

But I guess that is only natural (or should I say unavoidable?)...considering editorial after editorial just keep getting rolled out, and it's not as if all editorials are so fascinating that they'd particularly strike my fancy.

Unfortunately, we can't really expect each editorial of Freja's (or anyone, really) to always be even more amazing than the last...right? (Or can we?)

: /

Anonymous said...

Love your blog Rrose! Ignore that hater's comment. You know what they say: haters gonna hate! Well it just shows how popular your blog is. :) xoxo

Anonymous said...

BTW, forgot to mention I heard there's an article about Freja in Vogue Korea. They praised her being a true professional. I hope some one can translate the article for us.

Anonymous said...

To Rrosey Selavy

"A hater is nothing but a fan. They just dont know how to express it in positive way"

Bar Rafaeli's tweet

Rrose Sélavy said...

@ Miranda: You're right. I think it's natural and unavoidable to enter into some sort of let down or slow down phase. Nothing lasts forever, right? I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that something comes around to renew all of our excitement and enthusiasm again!

To the rest of you...thanks for the support and positivity. Love the Bar Rafaeli tweet, LOL. Negative comments are so rare on here since this blog is pretty small and relatively unknown outside Freja fans, that I guess I get taken aback when I see one. Nearly all of the time you all are wonderful, thoughtful, insightful and so knowledgeable. It really is a pleasure to read what you have to say and be privy to your opinions. <3

Juliet said...

i'd love to see Freja in some dreamy beautiful innocent editorial with her ultra girly girl. She's done so many edgy editorial lately that people have forgotten the sweet girl who she was when she first entered the runways with that long hair.

juliet xxx

Anonymous said...

She's finally tweeting. YEY!!

Anonymous said...

No, she's not. That twitter-account is fake.

Anonymous said...

/frejabe twitter it's fake? I thought that it war real because she has tweets of other models.. all are fake?

Rrose Sélavy said...

^Yeah, it's a fake account. The best you can do is report it as spam. There are a LOT of fake twitter accounts out there because people seemingly have nothing better to do with their time. :/

jjoongie said...

while i can't say i love this shoot (it's too much of a mess and falls short of whatever it was trying to achieve), there are a few shots i do love. i feel like this is a different sort of androgyny from the usual tough, strong, masculine androgyny we usually get from freja; there's something soft, boyish, and youthful i'm really liking about some of these shots, especially the first and second-to-late ones.

and one of the things i like about your blog is that you're not one of those fans who simply blindly gush over everything they're favourite model/singer/whoever does. (:

and if anyone comes across a readable scan or a transcript of the interview anonymous @ august 27, 2010 1:07 am referred to, i'd be more than happy to translate it.

jjoongie said...

(oh WOW errors galore. i meant, "second-to-last" and "over everything THEIR.")

Rrose Sélavy said...

^Thanks for your comment and offer to translate! Hopefully we will get a scan or something of that interview. Even though it probably won't say anything different than what we're already used to. :)