Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Changing Tides

I know I seem to be stuck on this subject (considering I just wrote something in the same vein two posts ago), but I think it's a pretty huge deal. Especially to all the longtime Freja fans out there. So what's the big deal? Freja is officially a modeling icon, or about as close as one can get to becoming a modeling icon these days under modern circumstances. She's no longer obscure, fringe or merely a cult hit. The tide has changed and she's mainstream, well known and recognizable now. I know, I know, we'll never return to the era of the supermodels. But at the same time, we shouldn't use that as the barometer against which we measure all subsequent modeling successes by. For the past is past, and we are firmly in the present. That past can never be replicated so long as the world evolves and things change. And if there is one certainty in life it's that things do change. The fact that a heavily tattooed, spotlight avoiding, tomboyish model sits at the top of a modeling industry predicated on long held feminine ideals of beauty should tell you as much. It's hard to imagine such a thing happening 10 years ago or even 5 years ago. But it's happening now.

We do get modeling waves: the Brazilians, the Russians, and (currently) the Dutchies. But the remarkable thing about Freja is that she doesn't belong to any of those waves. She didn't ride on the coat tails of an industry wide modeling trend. She started out when doll-like, blond models were all the rage. And so she got to where she is based on her uniqueness, personality, likability, authenticity and genuine appeal. That's what makes her an icon in today's fashion climate. That, and the fact that her career is stronger than ever five (almost six) years in.

Most of us had the fortune of witnessing the turnaround Freja's career has gone through this past year. She was a big name within the industry before, but now she's an even bigger name who has begun to transcend the boundaries that usually limit models like her to the high fashion sphere. So along with her high fashion cred, Freja has slowly earned commercial viability and mainstream appeal. She isn't a household name, but everyone seems to know her. And the work she's getting is beginning to reflect that.

Even Vogue Italia's editor in chief Franca Sozzani recognizes and write about it in her editor's blog on vogue.it:
"On July, 2010, three fashion magazines used the same Miu Miu dress, Vogue Uk, Elle Uk and W in America. Vogue UK had a model on the cover, Elle UK a singer - Lily Allen - and W Eva Mendes. In England sales were higher. Freja is the new icon for models. Eva Mendes didn't have an impact on W."
Freja can sell magazines! In a time where all American publications (cough, US Vogue, cough) tell us that celebrities are the only people who matter or who can move units off the newsstands, Freja is proving otherwise. Imagine that....a fresh, appealing face who isn't so completely overexposed that you're actually intrigued enough to see what she might have to say. Wow....I'm shocked (insert sarcastic smiley here). Anna Wintour take note; the general public might actually want to see someone besides a typical Hollywood starlet a la Blake Lively on the cover of Vogue. And to hit home on the idea of Freja's broader appeal, she'll be selling jewelry now as well.

Harry Winston Jewelry
Ph: Patrick Demarchelier

It's a bold move for Harry Winston, but a great coup for Freja. If I were her, I'd be going around to everyone I know saying "whatnowbitches...booyah!" But that's just me. I think that to a certain extent we've all underestimated Freja. Whether we think she can't pull off femininity or that she can't ever reach a high level of popularity, this campaign proves us all wrong. This is the type of campaign I've been waiting for. It gives her a completely new image, but one I always knew she was capable of. The irony of the images will not be lost on ardent fans, and the absence of tattoos might disappoint others; but the significance of this campaign is what's important here. And if all goes well, I think we could see Freja transcending even more boundaries in the future. So congrats to her. As she turns 23 and enters into a new stage of life, it's only fitting that her career should grow and mature as she has so beautifully done before our eyes.

Image Credits: bbs.sfileydy.com, twitter.com/amandaweiner, passionluxe.com via tFS member candlebougie


Anonymous said...

Interesting to know that Freja's cover of Vogue UK sold more than a cover of a celebrity. I quite enjoyed the interview following her ed. There was something refreshingly dull about it, no Perez-Hilton-worthy confession, no grandiose statement, a stark contrast to celebrities who often treated the interviewer as a megaphone for announcing their much rehearsed autobiographical narrative.

Lmao at your "booyah" comment. Seeing those pictures from the campaign instantly triggered my fan-girl mode, who knew that the model from the "Think Punk" ed can also sell jewelry to aspiring bridezillas.

peter irvine said...

of what 'anonymous' said , referencing back to the 'think punk' ed - it would AMAZE anyone uneducated of her career that those are the same two people :) she definitely has a repertoire of work that when talked about by mainstream folk would shock and impress ! she looks GLORIOUS in these shots - a real princess look about her , so exquisite infact that i hadnt even NOTICED the tattoos were absent ! :D
i cant help but laugh at a memory that just crossed my mind - in memoirs of a geisha , when the apprentice geisha is told that she has only made it when she can stop a man in his tracks with a single glance ! well boy did i fall off my bike looking at these ! haha
this is a landmark for her career in my mind . undoubtedly .

Anonymous said...

Freja is radiant in these pictures. I'm actually breathless. :))

newmanbuster said...

There is no doubt that 2010 continues to be a defining year for Freja and it still is not over! Just when you think that things can't accelerate anymore than they already have so far (the numerous magazine covers, campaigns, editorials and runway appearances) we are presented with these Harry Winston images. Talk about being in a "moment" in one's life!

This is such a reflection of Freja's professionalism and her diversity in front of the camera. There really are so few models who reach this level and hit such a stride after being in the business for 5 plus years.

I am already looking forward to your 2010 recap, Rose. :)

keremsevil said...

Glamour,guts and glory.

Anonymous said...

My jaw literally dropped when I saw the Harry Winston ad.She is so versatile. I am so proud of being her fan and she has a great work to back it up. And I'm so happy that her UK Vogue sold well.Paging Anna Wintour!But Freja is doing well without her. Freja is soaring high.woot!!

peter irvine said...

haha so true ! anna wintour must be fuming at the very fact that a model other than blake lively is doing so well ! haha