|nathan paul swimwear out-take via mariah jelena kordzadze's facebook|
It’s been a long time since Andrej Pejic opened the Antipodium show at Australian Fashion Week. Three years to be precise. In the interim, alongside a score of headline-grabbing magazine appearances and advertising campaigns, Pejic has blazed a trail on the runways of fashion weeks in Paris, New York, London, Milan, Tokyo, Toronto, Sao Paolo, Barcelona, Berlin and Instanbul, modelling both menswear and womenswear - not to mention bridalwear. Digital Fashion Week Singapore is the latest fashion event to snap Pejic up, billing him as the "supermodel" star of its upcoming showcase, which will run from October 20-22. Apart from a couple of fleeting appearances downunder, why has he been conspicuous by his absence on Australia's runways you ask? Because we can’t afford him it seems.
Pejic relishes any opportunity to come back to visit his family and friends, reports his Australian "mother" agency Chadwick Models, which has booked several standalone jobs for Pejic back home over the past 18 months – including an appearance at last year's Myer relaunch as well as campaigns for Nathan Paul Swimwear and J’Aton eveningwear – in each case negotiating special rates. The Swisse vitamins party in Melbourne on the eve of the Melbourne Spring Fashion Week is a recent case in point, as it coincided with Pejic’s 21st birthday on August 28th.
According to Chadwick, MSFW did in fact make an "attractive" offer to secure Pejic’s services for the duration of the week, however he had prior engagements in New York.
But that was apparently highly unusual for this market.
“It’s all about the money - he’s basing himself in places where they are prepared to pay for a top model with huge recognition” said Joseph Tenni, Chadwick's international talent manager. “It would be great if there was more support from the Australian fashion industry. It is a little disappointing [that there isn't], considering his high profile”.
But forget runway sorties, Pejic now apparently commands five figure appearance fees just to turn up to a party.
“Wherever he goes, those pictures travel” added Melbourne-based Chadwick director Matthew Anderson, who originally signed Pejic in May 2008 after Pejic emailed in some photos. Yes, contrary to the often hilarious anecdotes that Pejic likes to tell about how he was scouted – in a cornfield, selling fruit at a market, at McDonalds etc – the truth is a little more prosaic.
Added Anderson, “If he was here for a period of time and someone wanted him to do something, I wouldn’t bother ringing him unless it was at least a $10,000 offer”.