When it comes to androgynous style in fashion, few could do it as well as Freja. In fact, androgyny became Freja’s signature look for several years until her hair grew long again.
The genesis for Freja’s androgynous look began in late 2007 when she appeared at the Spring/Summer 2008 season with a newly shortened haircut. It wasn’t until April 2008 however, when she emerged in two editorials in Vogue UK (the latter being “A Stroke Of Genius”, shot by Paolo Roversi) that the look began to take off.
One look at this and it’s easy to see why. From its basic premise, Freja takes the masculine styling of this editorial to new heights. Alternating between brooding and swagger, her poses are charged with an energy that is decidedly masculine. The expression of this masculine energy extends to Freja’s hands as well; in one shot we see one hand placed into a waistband; in another shot, a thumb looped into a pocket; in others she is playing with her quiffed hair.
However, the real key to the power within these images lies in Freja’s unyielding gaze – whether directed towards the viewer or not, it is a powerful expression of strength and poise – Freja is no shrinking violet here, nor anywhere for that matter. All of these elements express themselves most powerfully in the 5th shot – Freja is slightly reclined, jacket and shirt open, daring the viewer to challenge the validity of her expression of masculinity, with just enough vulnerability to take one’s breath away.
This editorial set a precedent for Freja to be styled in an androgynous way in the years following (for better or worse) but few come as close to greatness as this. In my mind this editorial is as powerful and seductive as Helmut Newton’s iconic “Le Smoking”.
It’s beautiful to watch in motion too: