Monday, November 22, 2010

either/or/doesn't matter.

Patty Huntington is doing great things over at frockwriter. Well, she has for a long time- she was among the first Australians to start a fashion blog. Anyway, she has championed model Andrej Pejic (an Australian by way of Croatia and New Zealand) since well before this i-D shoot but this was the first time that his image completely and totally stopped me in my tracks. As in, I stood and examined each and every photograph and then went back to the first image again. Gazing at his face, my eyes kept slipping between searching for the masculine and the feminine. His lips- his cheekbones- his hair- his presence. It's one pretty, extraordinary and pretty extraordinary face. Neither masculine nor feminine yet both at the same time.

The next trend for models may very well be beautiful androgyny as a reaction away from the hyper-feminine models that have been dominating catwalks and editorials this year (your Doutzen Kroes, your Alessandra Ambrosios, your Miranda Kerrs, your Lara Stones.) Freja, Daria and Abbey certainly haven't been wanting for work, but it will be interesting to see how the styling changes and how male models might be further incorporated into editorials directed at female consumers.
As an indicator of what might be sidling into a magazine near you very soon, I give you:

Givenchy FW campaign 2011 (photographed by Mert and Marcus)

Polaroids of Trimapee AW11 campaign by Jamie

Andrej (again) by Mert and Marcus for Vogue Paris September 2010


  1. yes! don't you think he looks like Lara Stone in the last image (rose in his mouth)?

  2. Ha! He does, doesn't he? Because of that hair/make-up combination. :)

  3. Oh, wow! He is really similar to Lara Stone.

    I find it disconcerting when fashion leans towards such an unattainable body aesthetic, though. I mean, how are most women meant to feel when they see a man as the ideal? I know that it makes me feel fat, haha.

  4. Wow, Hannah, I didn't even consider that. That is a really interesting response... Andrej as the ideal woman- and he is not actually one himself. I wonder whether it is also the unattainability of him. That is, fashion feeds on prestige- the unaffordable, the creative impulse that is expressed by one individual living completely (at least in terms of their designs) in their own aeshetic universe (McQueen, Galliano, Kawakubo, Lagerfeld), the unattainable body (whether it be wasp-waisted lush curves or rake thin, verging-on-deathly skinniness).
    I think this might be a new development in the tease between fashion and its consumer. We can never be him- he is so unusual that he cannot be replicated, and yet his image is so malleable but so beautiful in each disguise that it is an object of fascination. He is a living person yet also rendered as something else in these images that create him as feminine. To use a vulgarity, it's an eyefck.
    What are most women meant to feel? Somewhere between desire and despair I think.

    I'm sorry it makes you feel fat- I'm certainly not reposting the images to hold him as an example of how we all should look. I think that the fashion industry holds the image of physical perfection as a measuring stick above all of our heads. It is a perfection that is impossible to attain, and it's not supposed to be- the tension that the industry creates is that it thrives on image but we are more than image- we are embodied, and gloriously so.
    I really believe that part of the delight of fashion is the recreation of your image it enables. If you're not comfortable in your own skin, one small way of perhaps appeasing that is to find a way of dressing that makes you feel amazing. I used to be hyper-self-conscious of my body (I'm your classic hourglass, not that it matters at all, but so you understand that I am no long, slender model either) and part of the delight of fashion for me was the escape it allowed. Swimwear shopping has always been a particular breed of torture for me- perhaps because the models are always supertoned and tiny-chested which made me feel like I was exploding out of swimwear. Nothing that was cool and carefree and surf-brand lovely was supportive or concealing at all and I remember flushing scarlet with shame at my own reflection- I was all wrong. Not the swimwear that wasn't designed with people with my shape in mind- me. It was a horrific feeling.
    Maybe that's why I embraced one pieces and high-waisted swimwear with open arms- they felt great.
    So. OK. This is practically a post in itself. I guess what I'm trying to unpack is the power of the image that fashion presents. An image that is both compelling and exhausting.
    This needs more thought.

  5. Oh Hannah I just wrote you the longest reply ever but it was too long to post- literally. Blogger wouldn't let me. I'll post it tomorrow!
    you have kicked off a whole new discussion and it's fizzing through my head like champagne. Check the blog tomorrow and let's keep talking x

  6. On an aside to the discussion: I didn't even think of despair. For me it's all desire, desire, desire. I want to possess him, or collect him, or catalogue him, or... The list goes on. He's like some sort of extraordinary/rare/exquisite creature that you can't help but want to cage, even though you know it will in some way ruin the original appeal. To have for the pleasure of having. To look at for the pleasure of looking. To own for the selfish thought: 'Mine.'

    I do think the move toward androgyny is most apparent in male model editorials. Particularly when they adopt what are usually considered to be 'effeminate' poses. One can hardly be offended or affected when it's at such a remove from reality, I think.

  7. o hang on... it did publish after all! that's a relief.