Monday, August 31, 2009

Andrej 2010

Frockwriter first noticed Andrej Pejic at Sydney’s Rosemount Australian Fashion Week in May. Then 17 years old, Pejic was a little hard to miss at Ant!podium’s show: he opened it. And many may well have assumed he was a she. The incredibly androgynous Melbourne-ite has been modelling for 12 months, turned 18 on Friday and is about to complete his HSC (Australian highschool final year exams), with his agency, Chadwick, prepping to send him overseas. After Jethro Cave (who appears on the latest cover of New Zealand’s NO magazine), frockwriter predicts that Pejic will be Australia’s next edgy male modelling star. In its August edition, Australia's Pagesonline dedicated eight pages to Pejic. And he features on no less than 14 pages in the new issue 30 of RUSSH, in this intriguingly-titled, Will Davidson-lensed editorial ‘Creep’.

According to Chadwick Melbourne director Matthew Anderson, the interest in Pejic bucks a dramatic, and quite sudden, conservative shift back to beefier male models in the Australian market.

Notes Anderson, “Over the last 12 months skinny androgyny shifted when the economic crisis hit. Within a three month period we went from scrawn to brawn. Myer going from using Jethro Cave to (former Brit rugby league player) Kris Smith is a good example. In times of economic crisis, subconsciously advertisers seem to be responding to strong guys who look like they’re going to save us. That all-American, chiselled jaw, Abercrombie & Fitch guy seems to be the flavour of the month again”.

all images: courtesy russh

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fashion's Nordic horror fetish rocks on

supreme via

Closely following the release of the spooky, Paul Rowland-lensed supplement to V Magazine's issue 61, which showcases models from the New York agencies Supreme and Women by way of "corpse paint" makeup and styling that appear to have been directly inspired by the Norwegian black metal scene, comes Supreme's model showcards for the New York Spring/Summer 2010 runway season. The makeup and styling are equally horrific and coincidentally, the photographer is Scandinavian: Swedish-born Hanna Linden. Horror is a dominant theme in Linden's work, which has depicted nightmarescapes haunted by masked, spectral figures, with titles in one 2006 New York exhibition including "Death Gate", "Death Upon a Black Horse", "Playing Dead" and "Skeleton Creek". Linden, a fan of the Davids Lynch and Cronenberg, described her work to PAPER magazine as "dystopia after a catastrophe".

For sure, the horror film genre has enjoyed a resurgence over the past decade and given its popularity, it is perhaps surprising that it has taken this long to hit fashion.

Could the current economic climate of doom and gloom have anything to do with things? September's W magazine for instance also delivers a Craig McDean spread of a down-on-her-luck Sasha Pivovarova, dressed as a stylish vagrant in shredded luxury shopping bags.

Scandinavia, as it emerges, has quite a vibrant horror film culture.

After the Japanese and South Korean horror waves that delivered film franchises such as The Ring and The Grudge, some horror aficionados are tipping Scandinavian horror as the next big wave. This follows a spate of recent Scandinavian horror releases, including Let The Right One In, Dark Floors and Tommy Wirkola's Dead Snow Nazi zombie spoof, which had its world premier at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

This is not the first time that horror has raised its hand in fashion this year.

Some might recall Steven Klein's "Lara fiction noire" editorial in the February edition of Paris Vogue, for which Klein shot Stone in a horror-inspired, and quite bloody, series of images depicting simulated violence. Although the original series ran on Klein's website, some images were reportedly censored from the magazine.

It's interesting that Supreme believes this is the best way to showcase its models to prospective clients. Of course, the series is bound to stand out amongst the myriad of agency showcards that do the rounds at this time of year, with agencies vigorously competing for a slice of the season's runway action.

But while most shots are clearly in the fantasy realm, a couple look like outtakes from a community service announcement about domestic violence.

Click here to see the full series.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Charlotte Dawson was a Marc Jacobs muse?

Well, for fifteen minutes at least. Here is a series of screen caps from an episode of Andy Warhol's 1980s MTV series Fifteen Minutes, filmed in January 1987 and which features the former Ford New York model, now Australia's Next Top Model judge, modelling one of Jacobs' earliest collections. The underwear-as-outwear-themed collection includes the Freudian Slip Dress, emblazoned with a Sigmund Freud caricature. Dawson was one of three models cast for the show. Twenty three year-old Jacobs conducts the interview astride a ladder. And if you find the photo shoot antics of the ANTM contestants amusing, Dawson and co are required to climb the ladder after him. It's one of three episodes of the MTV series that will be screened by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) next week under the umbrella title Marc Jacobs' New York, as part of ACMI's week-long Marc Jacobs on Film festival during Melbourne Spring Fashion Week.

Yes, that's right, an entire week of films - six in total - dedicated to Jacobs' work.

Frockwriter buddy Bryanboy, in whose honour the ostrich skin 'BB' bag from Jacobs' FW0809 collection was named, has been flown down by ACMI to open the festival on Saturday night.

Click here for the full schedule and ticket details.

all images: screen caps from 'marc jacobs' new york', courtesy ACMI

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The downunder Allure of Jezebel?


Could Gawker Media's high profile ladyblog Jezebel be heading to Australia for a slice of the A$1.8billion Oz online advertising pie? That's what some are wondering, after spotting this advertisement from Allure Media, which is looking for editorial staff for the imminent launch of "a well-known women's lifestyle network" in this market. The Sydney-based digital publisher already owns the Oz licenses to Gawker Media's Defamer, Gizmodo, Kotaku and Lifehacker - in addition to the local license to parenting blog Babble - a network it claims attracts over 1.65 million readers per month. UPDATE 14/09/09: IT'S NOT JEZEBEL - ALLURE MEDIA ANNOUNCES THE LAUNCH OF THE SUGAR NETWORK INTO AUSTRALIA.

Jezebel, whose promo line is “Celebrity, Sex, Fashion for women, Without Airbrushing”, attracts a monthly audience of 1.4million according to Quantcast, 1.1million of that hailing from the US, with 49percent female readership.

And while the site's edgy, neo-feminist slant has proven popular with readers, others have called out what they claim to be the double-standards of some Jezebel writers who lament the sexualisation of women, while posting degrading images of themselves.

Over the past 12 months the site garnered considerable interest over the mystery surrounding its anonymous model blogger "Tatiana", who unmasked herself last month as Jenna Sauers (although her ID came as no surprise to readers of this blog).

Allure Media's md Chris Janz did not return calls this afternoon and two media buyers told frockwriter that they had as yet heard nothing.

According to Fusion Strategy media analyst Steve Allen, a local Jezebel would be "an interesting move indeed. Allure has come onto our radar because they are building traffic and assets quite quickly".

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Anna Wintour on The Late Show with David Letterman

Here is the full interview.

Risko business: Melbourne's mod bloggers face off against the h8ers

circa now

Did we say that a new genre of model blog is emerging... one in which models play dressups and pose for their own cameras? Yes, I believe we did - last night. Well already comes the news of two more model style blogs (tks Emma for the tip). Intriguingly, both are also Australian. And coincidentally, the model authors behind the blogs - SRC783 and Circa Now – are not only both 21, Melbourne-based and good mates, they share something else in common with outgoing Sydney mod Alexandra Spencer, whose 4th and Bleeker blog we profiled yesterday. At 5'7", both are very small in mainstream modelling terms. Kate Moss notwithstanding - and Moss is a rare exception to this rule - any 5'7" models would be shut out of runway contention and no doubt a lot of other work.

SRC783 is written by Christina Dietz (pictured left, above), aka "Risko", who is repped by Scene Models in Melbourne.

Circa Now is written by Tessa-Jay Slight (right) who is repped by, wait for it, Melbourne’s Giant Management.

Slight appears to be more of an introvert than Dietz, with her blog largely filled with fashion images depicting other models – or else cropped images of herself.

In addition to test shots, Dietz, on the other hand, has posted a plethora of what appear to be autoportraits in her own outfits, with some outfits/accessories apparently made by her.

And either her outfits, or her moxie, appear to have gotten up the noses of some of her readers, who left over 80 comments on one recent post called “night cats”, a large percentage of them unflattering.


In the 'night cats' post, Dietz posed in a leopard-print top, skinny pants, laceup boots and a cowboy hat, with a cigarette in hand (above).

But it wasn’t the anti-smoking lobby that took issue with the image.

Here is a selection of hilariously snarky comments:

“your blog is so shit, it is just an excuse for you to take photos of yourself and could not be more unoriginal. so what you have an obsession with a top - great blogging. real inspirational”.

“poor girl she has a fat bum and is with the worst agency in melb, half of her modelling shots are by photographers who shes helped with theyre folios shes a gaybo she has a pretty face but risko disko will never be a real model”

“you try way too hard. stop trying to be alternative. You'll always be just an over-tanned, blonde private school girl with no substance”.

“i agree, i know this girl and she is a five foot tall wanna be model whose photos all consist of test shots”

“christina dietze is a loser ok she models for scene the gayest modelling agency in melbourne i know her and she is an absolute c*** and basically if you have a camera or know someone cool she will befriend you! her bottom is massive also”

The vitriol prompted buddy Slight to fire off a “Lay Off” post and warn the “cyber bullies” that Blogger has been alerted and that their “IP addresses will be traced”.

Unless there were some rather more serious threats etc that have yet to see the light of day, best of luck with that guys.

Props to Dietz for having the guts to clear the comments. Like so many other bloggers who face malicious personal attacks such as this, she could simply have buried them. The comments are ludicrously juvenile however, and hugely entertaining, and anyone reading them laughs not at Dietz, but the twits who made them.

Dietz would do well to take on board the fact that two very high profile international fashion bloggers, Rumi Neely from Fashion Toast (who is heading to next month's Air New Zealand Fashion Week) and Susie Lau aka Susie Bubble, continue to cop their share of similar comments - and run them. In interviews, Lau has even spoken about negative comments prompting her at one stage to consider giving up blogging.

It's hard to put one's finger on exactly what it is about these personal style blogs that prompts so much unprovoked vitriol from some readers.

It's almost as if ordinary women standing up and feeling confident about themselves and their own sense of style is just a little too much for some people.

Wintour on Letterman: "I reckon that makes me luke-warm royalty with a whip from outer space”

The much-anticipated Anna Wintour interview on The Late Show with David Letterman is due to air at 11.35pm Monday night in New York, which translates to 1.35pm today (Tuesday) here in Sydney. CBS has a teaser up on its website which includes Wintour’s rather amusing take on the newspaper coverage of last week’s premiere of The September Issue. In response to a question about her tough reputation, the US Vogue editrix notes, “I read in The New York Times this week that I’m an ice queen, I’m the Sun King, I’m an alien fleeing from District 9 and I’m a dominatrix. So I reckon that makes me a luke-warm royalty with a whip…from outer space”. There is no embed code but you can see the rest of the clip here.

V Magazine gets a little Norwegian wood

Overwhelmed by the staggeringly creative makeup in the 96-page Women/Supreme model supplement to V61? You are not alone. Various images of the covers have been floating around the fash blogosphere, but a behind-the-scenes video of the shoot reveals a striking series of ghoulish faces rendered in stark black and white by makeup artist Janeen Witherspoon, with styling by Nicholas Grasa and hair by Rita Marmor, Leonardo Manetti and Franco Gobbi. The series was shot by Paul Rowland, who tells V's blog that he was inspired by “Joel-Peter Witkin, paganism, mysticism, vampires, witches—all the things I love.” But did Rowland neglect to mention one key reference? Here is a series of screen grabs from the video.

And below is a series of images from True Norwegian Black Metal, a book by photographer Peter Beste that was released in May 2008 and is now on its third printing (and thanks to Kent for the tip).

Beste spent five years documenting the Norwegian black metal scene - which has been described, perhaps alarmingly, as Norway’s biggest cultural export.

Although apparently a little more civilised these days - Beste for one looks to have survived the experience - the roots of Norwegian black metal lie in Satanism and Norse pagan mythology and in the early 1990s, this underground metal genre became notorious in the wake of a string of violent crimes.

We’re talking murder, suicide, alleged cannibalism and as many as 50 cases of arson and attempted arson (churches, natch). GG Allin, eat your heart out.

Beyond the standard issue hardcore rocker accoutrements of black leather, spikes, studs and chains, Norwegian black metal-ites have a propensity for smearing their faces with ghoulish black and white “corpse paint” makeup, which would appear to have as much to do with 1970s rockers Alice Cooper and KISS as it does with early German expressionist cinema and the Oskerei, a legion of dead souls in Norse mythology.

Norwegian black metal is also the subject of the 2008 Audrey Ewell and Aaron Aites documentary Until the light takes us, which had its world premier at the AFI FEST in Los Angeles on October 31st 2008.

While Paul Rowland's Supreme/Women photo series appears in a limited edition supplement to V61, Lady Gaga is on the actual cover of the edition.

In an interesting coda, it emerges that the director of Gaga's new Paparazzi video is Jonas Ã…kerlund, a former member of pioneering Swedish black metal outfit Bathory.

1. peter beste via
2. peter beste via gawker
3. peter beste via

4. peter beste via nemotography

Monday, August 24, 2009

Auto (model) portraits

Interesting developments in model blogger land. Since frockwriter launched a year ago we have looked at quite a few model blogs, ranging from the fun, to the ballsy, to the erudite, and not forgetting the mysterious. But while many model bloggers tend to adopt a photo reportage style, using either professionally-taken shots of themselves, or snapping self portraits on the job or while clowning around, a new breed of model blogger is emerging, styling their own fashion shoots. This is an offshoot of course of the wider street style blog phenom in which the authors don’t capture random street looks, but shots of their own outfits. Fashion Toast's photogenic Rumi Neely (who is heading to next month's Air New Zealand Fashion Week) is probably the greatest exponent of the latter. Interestingly, Neely has now been signed to New York's Next Models. With their on-camera experience, professional models add an additional dimension to this. Priscillas’ Blake Lively-lookalike Zanita Whittington (see below), who has been blogging since November, introduced herself backstage at Jayson Brunsdon last week, camera in hand. Then there is Alexandra Spencer from Next's Australian affiliate Chic Management, who could wind up being the agency's next breakout star - without having ever set foot on an international runway.

The 20 year-old Sydneysider has been modelling for one year and has booked jobs including Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Oyster, Bec & Bridge, JAG, Jeans West, General Pants and Wrangler.

At 5'8" she is, frockwriter understands, considered a little too petite for the runway, which goes some way to explain why we have not seen her on the catwalks of David Jones, Myer or RAFW etc.

With self-timer in hand however and a great sense of style, involving some hand-made and/or customised garments - and a propensity to sex it up - Spencer has been creating quite the stir with her edgy rock/surf chick auto portraits on the four-month old blog 4th and Bleeker. (That's if the photos are in fact genuine self-portraits. The quality seems suspiciously professional - ditto the blog's use of typography).

The blog is rapidly garnering coverage, including mini profiles on Igor + Andre, Refinery 29 and

Spencer, who hails from the northern beaches suburb of Warriewood, mixes in interesting surf circles - she is currently dating former pro surfer Nathan ‘Noodles’ Webster, the Australian licensee of US skate/surf brand RVCA.

1-5 alexandra spencer via 4th and bleeker

6-9 zanita whittington via zanita

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