Thursday, September 30, 2010

Balenciaga Beckons

We have touch down in Paris! After a disappointing absence at Dries Van Noten yesterday, Freja finally made her first runway appearance in Paris at the Balenciaga show, walking in the second to last look before Gisele. Not too shabby. And with two looks at Balmain already under her belt as well, Paris is turning out to be as we expected.

What I didn't expect from Paris is the general lackluster feel of the collections so far. After a brilliantly colorful week in Milan, rocker chicks, leather, and studs all seem kind of passe to me. Even Dries didn't bring the usual eccentricity that I've come to love and expect from him. What gives? Have Milan and Paris traded places this season? I guess it's too early to tell, but I hope the rest of the designers step it up a bit.

Image Credits:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Think Punk, Think Again

Oh boy. I'm going to try and make this short and to the point. Seeing that Paris Fashion Week just started, I think we'd all rather dwell on that than this.....

Think Punk
Vogue Paris October 2010
Ph: Mario Sorrenti
Styling: Emmanuelle Alt

This editorial challenges me for sure. It challenges my tastes, it challenges my notions of beauty, it challenges my ideas of Freja. I never thought it would be possible to make her look so unattractive and harsh. I'm trying really hard to find some redeeming qualities in this, and not to let my own personal notions of beauty determine whether this editorial is good or bad. But it's really difficult for me to get past the way Freja looks. Call me shallow...I don't care.

I get the impetus behind the editorial concept. I'm familiar with the whole punk scene and it's history, but I'm just disappointed that we get this in the 90th Anniversary Issue of Vogue Paris. My expectations were raised so high....maybe too high. On the other hand, I know I should just be happy that Freja is included in the issue (twice!). And I suppose that she is even further expanding the range and testing the limits of her look and portfolio. Love it or hate it, it's most definitely something that pushes the boundaries of her modeling work. And it contributes to the notion that she's one of the most versatile models working today. Not many can go from this, to this so easily and effortlessly.

Despite the harshness of Freja's look, her hair, the styling, and everything; I admit that I am impressed with the little moments of softness in the last shot above and the first shot below. Maybe I'm just reaching for anything good, but I see a tenderness there that's actually quite alluring, and not always present in Freja's other work.

Sigh. What do you guys think? Maybe some of you are better at looking past the obvious and finding the beauty beneath. For as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Although, one thing I cannot and will not stand about this editorial is that it further entrenches Freja within certain stereotypes that have followed her around for the past two years. Yes she's tough. Yes she's cool. Yes she can be androgynous. Yes she has tattoos. We get it already. Now it's time to move on and show us other sides to her modeling persona, instead of repetitively highlighting this one. But I guess all models have a shtick they can't get away from....Lara and her boobs immediately come to my mind. And maybe that's a good thing because it means the model is memorable and the model is known. In such a fickle industry, I guess that's all that matters....or is it??

Image Credits: Scans by Carla-A at tFS

Monday, September 27, 2010

Milan SS11 Recap

Milan Fashion Week S/S 11 - 12 Shows Total
3 Opening Slots

3 Closing Slots

Alberta Ferretti (C) - 3 Looks
Bottega Veneta (O) (C) - 3 Looks
Dolce & Gabbana - 2 Looks
Emilio Pucci (O) - 2 Looks
Etro - 2 Looks
Fendi - 2 Looks
Gucci - 3 Looks
Jil Sander - 2 Looks
Marni (O) - 3 Looks
MaxMara (C) - 3 Looks
Prada - 2 Looks
Versace - 2 Looks

Even though the shows in Milan aren't over yet, it's safe to assume that Freja has already moved on to Paris considering she didn't walk in the Roberto Cavalli show held earlier today. Never mind that though. Her week was already packed enough, and filled up with some great runway appearances to satisfy any fan. I'm pretty flabbergasted by how much demand there still is for Freja. She's a model doing her 12th runway season circuit, yet she's opening and closing shows left and right. Of course it's what you always hope for for your favorite model, but it's not something that usually happens in this industry especially at this point in a model's career. It feels like things are too good to be true, and I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop......but maybe that's just my pessimistic, over-analytical self. To be honest, I've been feeling like this for the past year despite all of Freja's success. Sometimes it's hard to just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Anyway, the week started off predictably with Freja walking for Gucci on Wednesday. Things got a little unpredictable when she closed the Alberta Ferretti show later during the day. It's a show that she only recently started walking for back in FW0910; and prior to Wednesday's appearance, Freja has only ever had one look per show. So to have three looks including the closing one says a lot to me. (I know it's toooooo early to be speculating, but I can't help it! Campaign perhaps? Maybe if Meisel goes back to shooting it.)

Thursday was my favorite day for Freja in Milan, because it brought about her return to the Prada runway after last season's absence. She walked for Karl and Fendi in the morning with two looks, and then she did Prada later on. I know that the Prada runway prestige seems to have lost some of it's clout in recent seasons; but no matter what people say, Miuccia is still an influential taste maker. And the models who walk her runway (whether they're forgotten by next season or not) still catch the eyes of everyone who matters. It was a beautiful collection and it got people and critics buzzing immediately. So I was happy to see Freja, and a lot of old regulars like Kinga, Marina, MCB and Marija, take part.

Freja walked for Etro and Versace on Friday, two shows that she's walked for many times before. I just love the fact that she's always at the Versace show, and has been since the beginning of her career. Proof that Freja wasn't always considered to be tough and androgynous first and foremost, since the mere mention of Versace connotes sensuous femininity. The runway aesthetic has changed a bit since the 2005 years of Daria, Hana, Elise and the likes, but Freja has been a constant presence and perhaps even the bridge linking the Versace models of the past to the Versace models of the present. She's legitimately gorgeous, but she also has that modern edge and the ability to transform fluidly in between different extremes.

Saturday was by far Freja's biggest day in Milan as the shows (and openings and closings) came one right after the other. I could barely believe it when all the news of her runway appearances started rolling in. Two opening and two closings, just in one day! Things started when Freja opened and closed Bottega Veneta in the morning, only to zip over to Max Mara in the early afternoon where she closed that show as well. Being that she is the current face of the brand, it was only appropriate. Next came Jil Sander, a brand which I think Freja is perfectly suited for. The sharp angles of her face always coincide wonderfully with Raf's minimalist designs. The last show of the day was Emilio Pucci, and Freja had the honor of opening the show wearing an unbelievable dress with thigh high tan boots. (The return the femininity definitely continued in Milan.)

Freja continued her streak on Sunday when she opened the Marni show. See what I mean when I say things seemed almost too good to be true? Anyway, with Marni's early call time, hopefully we'll get some Marni backstage sleeping pictures again. The season never seems to be the same without those and pictures of Freja's middle finger. ;) The last Milan runway appearance for Freja came later during the day at Dolce & Gabbana. It was an all-star cast and a nice way to end an absolutely fantastic week on the runway.

We only have one more city to go before the season is over. Time sure does fly! But as fun as it is keeping up with all the shows, it's even more fun to have your normal life back. Yes? Yes? Luckily we have a bit of a break before the Paris shows come at us full force, so rest up.

Image Credits:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sense of Self

There are so many reasons why Freja is one of my favorite models. But perhaps the biggest reason I admire her is that she's attained extreme success all while seemingly staying true to herself. In an industry that pressures you to do and be a lot of things, maintaining a solid sense of self is a really difficult thing to do. I always get the sense that with Freja, it's no compromises. What you see is what you get. Any change that has taken place is the result of natural growth, progress and maturation. Nothing seems forced, and Freja doesn't seem like some modeling robot born and breed to walk catwalks. She's an individual and her uniqueness comes across so well, which is why I think her fanbase is so large and so devoted. For some reason, we all find something in her to connect and relate to. And that is what fosters loyalty and love.

Anyway, I was looking at some backstage pictures from Alberta Ferretti and those are what got me thinking along these lines. Take a look at what I mean. Here are pictures of all the other models coming off the catwalk:

And now here's Freja:

When I saw these pictures the contrast literally made me laugh out loud. But this is why I love her. She's so endearingly herself. Just because she's a model, arguably one of the most "feminine" careers one can undertake, doesn't mean that she'll act the way we all think models should act. She could care less if there's a camera around, and she doesn't need to wear a new outfit everyday in an attempt to fit our conventional notions of model style. Just a pair of black jeans, a soft tee and a black leather jacket and Freja's good to go. Whether she's on duty, off duty or caught off guard, you honestly get the sense that she is the way she appears to be, without pretense. It's this genuine quality that drew me in and served as my gateway into fashion in general. If you can believe it or not, before Freja I barely knew anything about fashion. Now it's a whole different story.

Even if I get frustrated with her work sometimes, and even if it seems like I'm a bad fan because I'm overly critical, Freja will always be special to me. She ignited my love of fashion and models, and she also anchors it closer to reality with her individuality and accessibility. I love discovering new models, but I think a part of that has to do with the hope that I'll find another Freja among all the newbies.....that I'll find another model who will get me excited and make me feel inspired for more than just a season. Impossible, I know. But I still hope for it nonetheless. I'm willing to bet that most of you out there have similar feelings and stories as well. :)

Image Credits: