Monday, October 25, 2010

Freja by Hedi

It's no secret that a lot of Freja's recent work seems lackluster to me. This editorial is really no different. I don't love, I don't hate it, I just.....see it. One thing I am thrilled about is that Freja finally got the chance to work with Hedi Slimane. But maybe finding out that he shot this before I actually saw the final product was setting me up for disappointment. I was hoping the editorial would turn out to be something more like Hedi's Girls, but instead we got Freja half naked in a weird looking, blond wig.

Temps libre
Vogue Paris November 2010
Ph: Hedi Slimane
Styling: Carine Roitfeld

If you haven't noticed by now, I have a tendency to let very small, aesthetic features on the surface determine my like or dislike for an editorial. For all the analysis and serious thought I profess to do on this blog, I can be quite shallow. One of the main reasons I hate "Think Punk"? The hair. One of the main reasons I don't really like this editorial? The hair. (Though I will say that Freja's posing here is pretty exquisite and beautiful.) This shallowness is not something I'm proud of, but at least I recognize it and I'm not afraid to admit it. After all (and maybe we don't like to admit it) shallowness is a characteristic pervasive throughout all of fashion....and perhaps it's also a characteristic that largely defines it.

It's probably not very fair of me to compare this to Hedi's Girls, because that editorial signifies so much for me. It was one of the earlier ones that really affected me and made me see the beauty of the human body and made me take fashion photography seriously. It basically sealed the deal in regards to my love for fashion and models like Daria and Raquel. I was following fashion before it, but after it I was really following fashion.

Anyway, I was talking with a friend about my recent apathy and she made some really good points that I'm going to sum up here. Let me make this clear: I don't like that I feel so apathetic and I don't want to feel this way. Freja is my favorite model and I've been running this blog for two years now. Apathy is not a good thing to feel if you're in my position. After expressing these worries, this is what my friend had to say, in a nutshell. Back when Freja wasn't working so much, each editorial that she had felt so special and amazing because they were so few and far between. I loved and appreciated them so much because I was just happy to see new work from her. But this year Freja has been working a ton, and it's hard to keep up that level of excitement and wonder when she's putting out new work practically every week. To be honest, it gets downright exhausting, and everything starts to blend into each other because there's just so much of it.

I feel like such a little punk complaining about all the work Freja It's like the so-called plight of the rich; complaining about problems only rich people have, while the majority of the population is just getting by. I'm sure Snejana fans would love it if she had even 1/8 of the amount of work Freja is getting right now....hehehe. Any model would be lucky to have the career that Freja has, and any fan would be over the moon if their favorite model was as successful as Freja is. But perhaps it's just human nature to never be satisfied, even if things are going your way 100%. Or maybe it's just my nature? I don't know. If anyone else has similar feelings please do speak up.


Also, in case you didn't know Freja has another editorial in this issue of Vogue Paris. But in lieu of posting the ed and promoting the photographer, I'm going to leave you with this instead. (Be sure to click and enlarge the image so you can read the text.)

If this controversy is enough of a cultural zeitgeist that people who draw comics recognize and incorporate it, that's definitely saying something. The fashion industry should be utterly ashamed. People completely unrelated to and outside the industry feel the need to address this issue, while everyone within continues to ignore it. Yeah, that's bullshit. This is just one of the many things I hate about fashion, in addition to it's failure to deal with questions of racism on the runway, eating disorders in it's models, and the legal age limits of its newfaces. I also hate that despite all of this, I still follow fashion and can't seem to stop. Makes me feel so guilty and complicit to horrible things I would not put up with in other arenas of life. :( If you want to see the editorial, you can find it on tFS.

Image Credits: scans by tFS member Valentine27, ontd via


miss_modular said...

i agree with your comments, and yes i think it is in part due to fatigue... but i think another large part is that as fans we've seen much better and more interesting work before, so it's hard to be thrilled by mediocre work, which i've found both these editorials in VP to be. may i ask what has been your favourite editorial in the VP run so far?

Anonymous said...

sometimes there is like a downtime for fans (at least for me, I experienced it many Don't worry, I think it's normal.I am actually surprised that you felt this way just recently after many years of following, I found it funny that you made an example of Snejana's fans (why are some of them hating on Freja?)lol

Anonymous said...

Despite my extreme dislike of Terry Richardson I actually think Freja did a good job in the Le Geisha editorial. It was still horribly offensive though.

Anonymous said...

i actually like this editorial quite a lot. love the profile shots and how the wig looks on her. and the very soft poses. however, i don't quite get it the photos 5 and 6. too much unnecessary nakedness.

Anonymous said...

^ Agreed with above statement

Miranda said...

"But perhaps it's just human nature to never be satisfied, even if things are going your way 100%. Or maybe it's just my nature? I don't know. If anyone else has similar feelings please do speak up." That makes two of us. In general I think that people are always in want of more--we expect great(er) things continually. Expectations don't stagnate. Once a wish or desire is fulfilled we just keep wanting to see what's even better. While it's not a particularly good aspect of nature, I don't think it's entirely bad either, because if you look at it this way: there's always room for improvement. I'm not sure about other people but I'm always looking for improvement, both in others and myself.

This Hedi Slimane editorial is all right. I don't find it particularly offensive. Like I've said in the past, we can't always expect to see even greater things than we've already seen before all the time/always...but this one's O.K. I suppose.

I'm a bit tickled that there's a Terry Richardson reference in X-Men. It's probably the last thing I'd expect to find in a comic. That's gotta be saying something about Terry Richardson.

Mona Lisa Overdrive said...

No don't burn down SFMOMA! :( Nice little comic. Poor Terry, he just can't catch a break. I think he's getting caught up in the anti-hipster backlash.

I don't know Rose. I happen to find some these photos quite inspiring. However, in my humble opinion, this editorial would of worked much better aesthetically if they had not used the wig. Freja's long locks are exquisite and should not be sequestered under such a cheap prop. Sometimes you have to find certain aspects of a particular piece that appeal to you and the look for the beauty within those details. My favorite shot in this editorial is the one where she islooking to the right with the watch strapped to her arm.

Not her best work, but still good.

Anonymous said...

If you're gonna banish terry's work from your site since it constitutes with what's wrong in the fashion industry, you might as well get rid of your promotion for young girls, or underweight girls and so on.To me it seems you're willing to excuse one aspect,or rather overlook it, while banning another.

Anonymous said...

Um I think the problem with Terry is that he has been accused of MOLESTING young models on multiple occasions. Not "hipster backlash."

Anonymous said...

Если честно мне не нравятся такие работы, я имею ввиду когда Фрея полуобнаженная. но это лучше чем ничего... Я оЧЕНЬ ЛЮБЛЮ ФРЕЮ.

Mona Lisa Overdrive said...

@anonymous who said "Um I think the problem with Terry is that he has been accused of MOLESTING young models on multiple occasions. Not "hipster backlash."

In case it didn't come across, I was being sarcastic. You know ... snark snark. I'm very much aware of Terry Richardson's alleged lascivious behavior and honestly, I don't know what to say. I'm not a big fan of putting people on trial in the court of public opinion. Remember the Salem Witch Trials? I've always maintained that if the models in question were abused by him then they should have filed a police report or sued. Cases like this are hard to prove because you would have to show evidence where a girl said no or I’m not comfortable and Terry didn’t listen. Or a story where he said "you have to do this to keep your job." If that did happen and he did cross those boundaries then he should be put in jail, but somehow I don't think that's the case. Maybe it's just that some models are expecting a certain level of professionalism and are caught off guard by his obscene sense of humor. From what I've read it sounds like he's just trying to have fun with certain situations. If the girls were of a higher IQ then they would be able to see through this crass philistine behavior, and could easily parry and joust their way out of those situations, without naively acquiescing to such cheesy, salacious requests. Just because someone is a perv or a creep doesn't make them a criminal.

Anonymous said...

i agree with the russian.

Anonymous said...

Agree with the russian her pose in the hedi's ed....

Anonymous said...

@Mona Lisa overdrive

Not the OP but It's very hard for models, especially models who are young and new to the business, to contact the police in these types of situations. First of all, it can potentially put their careers as models on the line. Secondly, it can be very hard to prove as you said, so many don't bother.

You're right that Terry's just trying to have fun. But he does so by taking his clothes off and at times, getting sexual with the models. Some models are completely fine with this and go along, but then their are others who are not fine with it but still participate. Why? Because even if Terry never outwardly says, "you need to do this to keep your job", or even if he has no intention of trying to get them fired from a job for saying no, the models don't know that.

There is always going to be a climate of fear and pressure that they might not get the next job if they do say no. There is an imbalance of power there that taints any "fun" to be had. For Terry the set is his playground, but for the models it's their work place. He said in an interview once that,
"I don't think I'm a sex addict, but I do have issues. Maybe it's the psychological thing that I was a shy kid, and now I'm this powerful guy with his boner, dominating all these girls"
Basically here he is saying that not only is he aware of the power imbalance between himself and the girls, but that he enjoys it.

The bottom line is, we do know for a fact he gets sexual with some of the models he works with and has them do some extreme stuff on their own, he has admitted to it himself and we have the pictures. The problem isn't so much if the models are okay with it or not (although that obviously is an issue). It's the very fact that he puts them in that situation in the first place. He can never know for sure if the girls are really okay with it or if they are just trying to keep their job.

Oops, didn't mean to write that much

Rrose Sélavy said...

^Oh wow! Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! Whoever you are! :)

I'm so glad you wrote that much, for you wrote what I had neither the will, words, nor patience to write. I really just can't deal anymore with people who don't have an issue with the way Terry operates. Everything you said is so clear, eloquent and SO spot on. Sad thing is that some will read your words and still not understand the problem at hand. :/ But thank you so much for your post!! Do you have a blog or something? If you do, please e-mail me!

Mona Lisa Overdrive said...

@anonymous who said "The problem isn't so much if the models are okay with it or not (although that obviously is an issue). It's the very fact that he puts them in that situation in the first place. He can never know for sure if the girls are really okay with it or if they are just trying to keep their job."

It sounds like there are lots of legal loop holes that need to be plugged. I'm not privy to the mechanics and inter-workings of the fashion industry, but I would imagine that the models are not directly employed by the photographer, but rather the agency that assigns them the work. That's where you would need to look if you wanted to get to the bottom of why it is that models keep getting assigned to gigs with said photographer.

Unfortunately, in the United States, and almost any other country you can think of, there isn't an established legal code set in place to deal with these types of cases. Making it even harder for victims to come forward because of a lack of legal precedent in prosecuting such cases. I happen to be of the persuasion that not only is it in bad taste for a photographer to behave this way, but should also be grounds for legal action.

If you truly care about this issue and are passionate about reforming the modeling industry, now would be a good time to write to your congress critter and ask that he/she to support legislation that would, in effect, extend existing workplace laws barring sexual harassment, to the fashion industry. Or maybe even sponsor legislation that would create a whole new legal framework to deal with this particular problem. However, it is highly likely that I am talking to someone outside of the United States, in which case this advise would not serve you any good.

The only way change will come is if there is a grassroots movement on a global scale that would pressure the politicians into taking action. Time is neutral and the default position of the fashion industry is inertia. People are afraid of change because it upsets the existing order of things and might strain established relationships within what has for the most part in its history been an unregulated network of internationalists.

Anonymous said...

@Rrose Selavy...Thanks so much for your kind words! I had a few mid term exams yesterday so I think I was still in writing mode. I don't have a blog, but I do really enjoy yours.

@mona Lisa Overdrive...I think you're really spot on. A great overview of why enacting that sort of change within the fashion industry would be an incredibly daunting task.

POWERFUL said...

i love blond wig , it's odd and unique