14 Mar 2011

What happened to the simple days?

A few might have caught unto this already, but as I am sometimes a late bloomer, I hope I shall be forgiven.
The Dailymail had an article about Gaultier’s newest muse, who’s said to become Lagerfeld’s muse too. The muse/model was spotted on Jean Paul Gaultier’s Haute Couture Show in January 2011 as a bride and earlier on last year in JPG’s autumn/winter 2011 menswear show in tailored suits.

JPG Haute Couture 2011

JPG A/W 2010 Menswear

Ok, so this has been done before. As you might recall one of fashion’s and photography’s biggest moments was the YSL ‘le smoking’ tuxedo, shot by Helmut Newton in the early 70s.  The new age woman, strong, yet sophisticated. “Think Marlene Dietrich”, was what Helmut must have said to the model on the shoot.

YSL Le Smoking shot by Helmut Newton
Marlene Dietrich 1933

On a more detailed read, however, it turned out that the model dressed as the bride, who was the same model that appeared as a female model in the 2010 menswear show, was in actual fact a man. Described on models.com as “a poster boy for fashion androgyny”, Andrej Pejic seems to be the newest sensation in the fashion scene with many designers jumping on the bandwagon. Along with the previously mentioned designers, Marc Jacobs s/s11 ad campaign features Andrej along with his so-called female look-a-like Ginta Lapina. I guess there’s more to come for his career.
Some might argue that there is nothing strange in this. Female models like Freja and Agyness have been booked numerous times because of their androgynous looks and their ability to portray this with little or no effort. However, they still remain women, their features rarely completely disguised.

Agyness Deyn and Freja Beha Erichsen

Is the fashion industry expecting too much of models? Gone are the days when fashion shoots or shows used to be about showcasing or selling a product. With the model just looking his or her best. Now, it seems like the more otherworldly an idea is, the better. The more it would catch the attention of consumers. Fair enough, Andrej might have softer feminine facial features, but the rest of him still remains masculine. Why should there be a necessity for a man to be portrayed as a woman or the other way round? Could a similar looking woman not fill that space?

Another point is also what the fashion industry deem important and feel requires change. Flipping through the pages of high fashion magazines, to see a model of different ethnic background is almost like searching for a needle in a haystack. The last 3 years saw a decisive turn in this area, with more black models being booked for shows. But it spans wider than that. Variety doesn’t mean black or white, neither does it mean that models should only be booked to make up quotes. Instead it should mean that one sees beauty in variety and bookings are made due to merit.

The fashion, media and music world can be very glamorous but in some instances very damning and superficial. Being strong in character so as not to be forced to conform to a certain image a person is uncomfortable with is very important. Be it about weight, sexual orientation or ethnicity.  

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