Saturday, January 29, 2011

Coming to a TV Near You

We first got word back in November, and then confirmation back in December. Now, finally, the H&M TV spots are here.

Freja is accessible, commercial, yet still totally herself. Which one do you like better? I prefer the first spot myself, because at the end of the second one Freja looks like she wants to kill me, or hurt me, or beat me in a staring contest, or all of the above. It would have been nice to see a more playful expression from her to match the youthfulness of the clothing. After all, yellow ruffles and semi jazz hands are pretty incongruous with death stares.

But maybe it's the unexpected pairing that makes it work? Maybe that's what makes people linger over it....what sells the clothes? I don't know, but I do know that I have a sudden hankering for some yellow ruffles to mix into my all-black wardrobe. Or maybe just a black t-shirt with some yellow on it. ;)

Video Credit: via youtube user BijuBRANDO

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Diverge - Converge

What comes to mind when you think of "Valentino"?
Femininity, luxury, elegance, red, I right?

What comes to mind when you think of "Freja"?
Androgyny, tomboy, leather, cool attitude, etc....yes?

So how can we reconcile the two? How we can explain Freja's role of prominence for the established high fashion house that represents nearly everything that Freja is not? Two consecutive ad campaigns, lots of runway looks, opening the just held SS11 Haute Couture show......what gives?

Even though the two (fashion house and model) may seem so divergent at a surface glance, I actually think Freja is a wonderfully suitable choice to take the brand into the new decade. She is the perfect bridge between traditional elegance and modern edge. She is accessible and beautiful, but also avantgarde and quirky. Her classic beauty references the past, but the personal sensibilities she imbues into her work scream the present, the here, the now. If a venerable house wants to embrace the ever evolving spectacle of modern life and show that it isn't stifled by it's own history, then Freja is the perfect model for the job. (I suspect this is also why Karl is so taken with Freja for Chanel.)

If you don't change, you die. But change too quickly and you lose sense of your very core being. We're all going through this same balancing act in life; whether we're an old school fashion house, a successful model, or just a mere fan. We're all just trying to find ways to navigate through the confusion of surviving while the world swirls and changes around us. And sometimes, in this madness, disparate elements will converge together to make absolute sense.

Image Credits:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chanel Haute Couture

No surprises here. Freja showed up at the Chanel Haute Couture show earlier today wearing three beautiful looks. No special treatment. No opening or closing looks. No smirks. No different hair style. She was just one of the runway girls, and I don't know why but that's utterly refreshing to me. Sometimes you just want to see a model do her job and do it well, without all the fanfare and hubbub that can happen.

The toned down affair, both in setting and in color, was quite beautiful if misleadingly simple. If you get a chance, zoom in on the details and you'll see what distinguishes Haute Couture from RTW and why these pieces cost upwards of tens of thousands of dollars. Freja wore a softened expression on her face to match the mood, instantly drawing up nostalgia in me for the old days. I definitely don't miss seeing that hard, stern glare that used to be her frequent runway companion. What always surprises me with models like Freja (and Raquel, Daria, etc.) is how they manage to seem ageless despite surviving through the rigors of a stressful industry like fashion. I guess the ageless gene, in addition to the skinny, tall, and good skin genes, are what distinguish them from us mere plebeians. ;)

Valentino Haute Couture shows tomorrow....any bets on whether Freja will be there or not?

Image Credits:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Freja Speaks

Most of the time I post about things that other people have said about Freja. Whether it's from regular fans, photographers, designers or models, there has been a plethora of good things said in regards to Freja. But rare is the time that the tables are turned and Freja gets to do the talking.

The February issue of US Harper's Bazaar contains a story about IMG model manager Jen Ramey. She's at the top of her business and if her name sounds familiar, its because she's guided the careers of Kate Moss and Daria Werbowy. Just think of any top girl at the powerhouse agency and odds are Jen stands behind her success. Lily D? Check. And yes, Freja? Check.

The article is your typical "how I overcame [insert obstacle here] and feel great about myself now" story that fashion magazines are apt to give us every single issue. That being said, Jen admirably lost 120 pounds and overcame a breast-cancer scare. A few of her model clients are interviewed for the article and here's what Freja had to say:
"Jen is one of the strongest women I know. I'm not surprised that she succeeded in what she put her mind to..."

"Jen manages to cut straight to the core. There's never any BS with her..."
Ok, yeah...Freja's not going to win any oratory prizes for her input here, but it was pretty surprising to see her name when I read this story. I knew that Jen was her manager, but I guess I just wasn't expecting any words from the (previously) press shy Freja. I've spent the better part of over two years covering Freja and her career, and in those earlier days backstage interviews, style features, appearances at parties, anything that didn't solely relate to the catwalk or the editorial, were near impossibilities. All I can say is that Freja's come a long way. Now as she enters the ripening phase of her career, I hope she gets the chance to speak more often. It would be nice to cover the things she says, instead of just the things people say about her. :) Anyway, congrats Jen!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Runway Randomness

Freja popped up in Berlin yesterday, making a runway appearance at the Hugo by Hugo Boss show where she had the honors of opening and closing. Random, no? Then again, to my memory, Hugo Boss always manages to snag a few big name models for their BFW show. I'm sure they pay very nicely. And it's nice to see the return of a sleek and clean runway version of Freja.

Brings back memories doesn't it? Memories from her earlier seasons....

In other runway news, the Haute Couture shows start next week and Chanel is showing on Tuesday, the 25th. So mark those calendars you avid Freja watchers. Bets on what role Freja will play this time? After being singled out during the Pre-Fall show, I wonder what Karl has in store for her this time, if anything at all. Another fact of note is that Karl is once again foregoing the epic proportions of the Grand Palais in favor of more intimate settings at 46 rue de Cambon; not to be confused with 31 rue Cambon, the address made famous by Coco Chanel. So no elaborately huge runway centerpiece this time around. The economy is only showing slight signs of recovery, so excessive consumption is still a bit taboo.

Anyway, all this runway randomness just adds to the excitement about the F/W 11/12 runway season peeking right around the corner.

Image Credits: scans by tFS member Alien Sex Friend,,

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tears Us Apart

Ever since I've seen the images from Freja's new Vogue Paris editorial, I've had Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart in my head for obvious reasons. And maybe it's fitting that I do, because I can't get the first image and all it's lingering emotions out of my head.

En Vogue l’Été
Vogue Paris February 2011
Ph: Mario Sorrenti
Styling: Jane How
Other Models (not pictured): Daphne Groeneveld, Daria Werbowy, Joan Smalls, Lara Stone, Natasha Poly, Sasha Pivovarova, and Saskia de Brauw

If you can only dwell on one image from this editorial, make sure it's the first one. Make sure you view it in full size and make sure that you give it a good, long look. For if you do, you will be privy to one of the most touching and expressive moments from Freja's work in a long time. Notice the mascara touched trail of a tear down the cheek and the pain in her eyes. The emotion is tangible, but somehow paradoxically made subtle by the necklace's pronouncement of "tears us apart." All the noise is concentrated there. So if you're not careful you might miss this woman who is suffering such woes that not even being outfitted in head-to-toe Chloe can remedy her sadness.

Never mind that these shots don't tell a cohesive story. They aren't supposed to when they're designed to showcase the past season's top designer looks. Heck, they don't need to when you can find a story in each shot, in and of itself. This is an editorial packed with imagery; a visual punch to the senses. Each frame stands on it's own, each extols different merits, each displays different facets of the model that Freja has grown to become. When you can take any shot, blow it up and make an awesome poster out of it, you know it's good.

It's quite an editorial, and all the models play their parts exceedingly well. I can't remember the last time I liked every component of something so much. If you have to leave Carine, this is surely the way to do it. With a bang instead of a whimper. With the masses wanting more.

Image Credits: scans by tFS member Carla-A

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Are you there fashion gods? It's me, Margaret. Ok, seriously, my name's not really Margaret, but someone must have heard my repetitive musings on the triteness of Freja and androgyny, because this is everything that I could have ever hoped for and wanted in terms of an antidote.

Smiling and frolicking (sort of) in ruffles and lace? Why yes, of course. Looking easy, breezy and oh so commercial? Most definitely. This is a far, far cry from the rough and tough tomboyish image that made Freja "famous" and won her the adoration of drooling fan girls everywhere. But this is much, much closer to the image of Freja that I fell in love with all those years ago. If this is a sign of things to come in 2011, then color me excited. With a refreshed image comes refreshed ideas. :)

By the way, I must say that Raquel looks amazing with her new short hair. The two of them together in this ad is giving me serious nostalgia for the fashion landscape circa 2006. Those were simpler, purer times; but then again, everything seems that way in hindsight.

Image Credits: via tFS member FRANCY ITALY

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Kind Words

Remember this one shot in the New York Times T Style Magazine that came at the very end of 2010? Well, I just stumbled on some words the photographer (Alice O'Malley) said about Freja and the experience of shooting her. They're so lovely that I just had to share.

"Over the years you have developed an amazing body of work featuring your friends, an extended circle of downtown New York artists. How is it for you shooting people you don't know? Is it important for you to create some sort of intimacy? And how do you do this when you only have the subject for say, 40 minutes - or less?

Less! I had 10 minutes with Freja [Beha Erichsen]. She arrived at the Chelsea off a runway show at twilight, and we ran up to the roof to catch the last drops of sun. That’s when I understood the skill of a professional model. Her genius in front of the camera meant that we could make a great picture in only a few minutes. And somehow we found time to talk about the first wave of feminism in America. I always make a connection with my subjects; that's what I photograph, our connection."

Writing this blog makes me forget sometimes (ironically enough) why I like Freja so much. Maybe I get too focused on the words, or trying to come up with something to say. But whenever I read stuff like this, no matter how small or insignificant it might seem, it gives me a jolt and makes me remember "oh yeah, that's why." :) Because she's a great model and she can talk about feminism. But of course, those are just a few of the many reasons why.

Image Credit:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Year of the Smile?

Is 2011 going to be the year of the smile? Things seem headed in that direction so far. Three ads in a row now have showcased Freja's radiant smile.....something we didn't get to see much of at all last year save for Harry Winston. And that only came towards the end of the year. Maybe everyone else is getting tired of the same old stuff too (all the toughness, androgyny, rebelliousness), so it's not just me and the few of you who've agreed with me in the past. Or maybe it just took the surprise of the HW ads for more people to realize that "Hey, Freja can smile and she's actually really infectious, effusive and beautiful when she does." Maybe people want to be happy when they see ads because the world is depressing enough as it is. Geez....who would've thought? What a novel concept, right?

We all know that fashion triumphs change, and perhaps this is merely another change in Freja's image--a new phase of her career if you will. Maybe it's a sign that she's isn't going anywhere after all. If there's one thing that Freja and her image makes know how to do, it's how to make her stay relevant. From new girl with the fringe, to rebel girl with the tattoos and short hair, to indefatigable veteran who oozes a calm coolness, to woman with confidence and joy. She's done it all, and the fact that she's done it all makes her still so relevant today.

The rest of the Valentino S/S 11 campaign is below, shot by David Sims. Not too much to say here. Similar to last season's, but a bit more refined, clear and focused on the new house message. It's pretty amazing to think that a "punky" Dane known for her tattoos and tomboyish image is the new Valentino woman now. :) Change can happen and it's up to us whether we want to embrace it or not.

Image Credits: scans via tFS members style_expert, rox_yr_sox, via tFS member candlebougie

Monday, January 10, 2011

Freja's Place Within the Cult of the Model

Freja seems to be getting more and more press these days. Not only does she have an editorial in the February issue of Vogue UK, but she's also discussed quite a bit for an article in the same issue regarding "The Cult of the Model." She seems to be one of the poster girls for our current obsession with wide spread and pervasive this "obsession" is amongst the general public is questionable and open for debate. But among model followers and fashion insiders, Freja has certainly made a name for herself this past year. As someone familiar with her career back when she chopped her hair off and wasn't getting covers and editorials in all the major Vogues, it has been quite the journey of ups and down, elations and disappointments, anticipation and apathy.

Now I can't help but to wonder, has Freja made enough of an impact to withstand the fickleness of the industry, it's constantly changing tides, and the pitfalls of stereotyping and overexposure? Has she made it over the ridge and to the plateau where we can all rest easy knowing that we'll always be seeing work from her, a la Daria, Kate and Giselle? Or has this second coming in career doomed her to a fate similar to the countless other hyped faces who are everywhere one minute and then forgotten the next?

I suspect the answer to this lies in Freja, and Freja alone. It lies in her own goals, aspirations and wants out of life. And it lies in her modeling skills, which are on full and glorious display in this editorial.

Look Forward
Vogue UK February 2011
Ph: Patrick Demarchelier
Styling: Kate Phelan

She has the goods.....whether she wants to use them and for how long is the uncertainty here. It's a total shame that so many casual observers seem to write her off as a one-look pony. If they took the time or effort to truly look, they would discover what we fans have discovered long ago. And they would see that 6 years worth of work creates a book dominated by androgyny, yes, but also full of delightful subtleties, underrated femininity, and untapped potential. Oh yes, Freja is far from a one-trick pony, but I suppose the words of Vogue UK have more gravitas than the words of a simple fan.
"Look at Freja: demure for a Harry Winston ad, accessorized with an innocent smile and a slice of wedding cake and wearing a strapless dress straight out of a fairy tale; for MaxMara, she's a chic young mother in a camel coat about to go shopping down the via Montenapoleone in Milan; she's a girl hanging out at a music festival in skinny leather jeans for Vogue."
After writing about this kind of stuff for so long, I'm just happy these notions are being recognized by sources with a rider reach. Because maybe now I can take a long break.....or maybe Freja will come out with even more work to get me hooked again. :)

Image Credits: scans by tFS member gossiping

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Flood of Ads

When it rains, it really pours. Much like the deluge that those in California experienced these past few weeks, the fashion industry has seen an out pouring of the campaign variety. And not one to be left out these days, Freja makes her (newly cheery) presence known in campaigns for three brands:

Chanel by Karl Lagerfeld
(Nothing too special, but I guess the formula works for Chanel customers, which is why Karl has stuck with it for the past few seasons. Last two shots are my favorites.)

Louis Vuitton by Steven Meisel

Georg Jensen by Unknown Sebastian Faena

Sometimes I still can't believe how popular Freja got. All of these campaigns? Three Vogue Italia covers within a year? Status as a Meisel favorite? A few years ago all of this would have been unimaginable to me as a fan, and maybe that's partly why I started this blog. Because I just couldn't understand why such a wonderful, versatile, enthralling and intriguing model was being overlooked by nearly everyone except Karl Lagerfeld. So I just had to write about it. And now here we are and Freja is definitely no longer overlooked (but I do not take credit for this, lest you misread my words). She has worked with nearly all the top photographers and been featured in nearly all the major magazines. She also has plenty of stans, tumblrs and sites dedicated to her; enough that I continually question myself about keeping this one running because it feels like there's less and less of a reason to do so.

Anyway, lots of people say that she is overexposed and I actually completely agree. But you know what? I'm just going to go with it because she is a great model (those who say otherwise have no knowledge of her complete oeuvre) who deserves to be acknowledged after 6 years of hard work in the industry, and truth be told I'd rather see her face plastered everywhere than some 16 year old's. The requisite backlash and bashing that comes with this kind of model success has already started in the tFS campaign threads, and I only expect it to get worse. But c'est la vie. You don't survive for half a decade in the industry without developing a very thick skin. And let's face it, most of that anger is displaced disappointment about people's own favorite models not getting certain campaigns or not being featured in certain magazines.

It's no secret that I have my own love/hate relationship with Freja's image in the modeling industry. Maybe hate isn't the right word....annoyance is more like it. I've been guilty of expressing my fair share of criticism, but it comes from a place of respect, admiration and a complete belief that Freja is capable of being more than just the stereotype that she's been saddled with. I think we're seeing signs of a sea change now, as a few of these ads show a new direction for Freja. A direction where she is allowed to be happy and radiant instead of only tough and morose. If so, then this underexposed aspect of her modeling is another welcomed chapter in her already illustrious career. And I hope it means that 2011 will be a year of continued evolution and more surprises, instead of overexposure and hackneyed concepts. Whether I'll write about it as much as I have been is up in the air, and I guess subject to my own whims and boughts of inspiration. Then again, maybe this is all just the post-holidays blues talking, so we'll see!

Image Credits: scans by tFS members gossiping, rox_yr_sox, style_expert