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July 29 2014

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68 posts tagged "Carine Roitfeld"

EXCLUSIVE: Andreja Pejic Is in Her Own Skin for the Very First Time

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Andreja Pejic

You won’t be seeing any more of Andrej Pejic, the androgynous male model who rose to fame in 2010 after Carine Roitfeld had him photographed in womenswear for Paris Vogue. An onslaught of editorials followed (including a shirtless Dossier Journal cover that was essentially banned by Barnes & Noble for fear their customers would think he was a naked woman), and he even walked as the beautiful bride in Jean Paul Gaultier’s Spring ’11 Couture show (below). But Andrej’s days on the runway are over. However, Andreja’s career is just getting started.

Earlier this year, Andreja underwent sex reassignment surgery (SRS). She always knew she was a woman, but her body, or at least parts of it, didn’t match up. Yesterday, the model trekked from her current Williamsburg digs to LGBT advocacy group GLAAD’s Chelsea headquarters to speak, for the first time, about her transition. Donning a white crop top and embellished Ports 1961 skirt, Pejic, who was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina but was raised in Melbourne (hence her charming Aussie accent), looked as angelic as ever. “I feel good,” she told me before sitting down. It showed.

You can bet you’ll be seeing quite a bit of Andreja Pejic—she has a role in Sofia Coppola’s forthcoming rendition of The Little Mermaid, and plans for fashion week are already in the works. Here, the six-foot-one stunner (who, it should be noted, has cheekbones that could cut glass) opens up to Style.com about her SRS, the challenges of being a transgender model, and why, at long last, she’s “ready to face the world.”

Andreja Pejic How do you identify?

I identify as a female.

How did you identify before the sex reassignment surgery?

I figured out who I was very early on—actually, at the age of 13, with the help of the Internet—so I knew that a transition, becoming a woman, was always something I needed to do. But it wasn’t possible at the time, and I put it off, and androgyny became a way of expressing my femininity without having to explain myself to people too much. Especially to my peers [who] couldn’t understand things like “trans” and gender identity. And then obviously the modeling thing came up, and I became this androgynous male model, and that was a big part of my growing up and my self-discovery. But I always kept in mind that, ultimately, my biggest dream was to be a girl. I wasn’t ready to talk about it before in a public way because I was scared that I would not be understood. I didn’t know if people would like me. But now I’m taking that step because I’m a little older—I’m 22—and I think my story can help people. My goal is to give a human face to this struggle, and I feel like I have a responsibility.

You seem to have had a firm understanding of your identity at an early age. Was growing up as a boy difficult?
Gender dysphoria is never an easy thing to live with, mainly because people don’t understand it. For most of my childhood, I knew that I preferred all things feminine, but I didn’t know why. I didn’t know that there was an explanation. I didn’t know about the possibilities. And then I went on sort of a boyhood campaign from age 9 to about 13. I tried to be a “normal” boy because I felt like my options were either to be a gay boy or a straight boy. I didn’t feel that I was gay, so I didn’t know that there were any other options until the age of 13, when I went online and discovered that there’s a whole community of trans people out there. There are doctors, there’s medical care, there’s research, and that was an eye-opener for me. From that day on, I knew what I had to do.

Some people write off SRS as a purely cosmetic surgery. Can you speak a little bit about that, and why it’s not the case?
Yeah, a lot of people view it as a plastic procedure, like you go to a surgeon and say, “Oh, I want to be a woman.” It’s so much more complicated than that. You have to get a psychiatric evaluation, which I started at the age of 13. I started seeing psychiatrists, and then I stopped when I started modeling, and I started again about a year and a half ago. But medical attention is crucial for any trans person because it helps you figure out who you are. You go through some really strict testing before you’re even allowed to have the surgery.

Are there any other myths you’d like to debunk? Or is there anything else you want the general public to understand about SRS and transgender people?
I would like them to understand that we are people. We’re human beings, and this is a human life. This is reality for us, and all we ask for is acceptance and validation for what we say that we are. It’s a basic human right.

Andreja Pejic Vogue You’ve legally changed your name from Andrej to Andreja. Why was that important to you?

I added an “a” because it’s not a full transformation —it’s just an evolution. I thought about whether I should change it or not for a while. In the West, Andrej isn’t really a masculine name. But I think [the name change] is something that my mom really wanted because, traditionally, Andrej is a Christian Orthodox name, and in that religion, it’s definitely a male name. So I kept the “j” and added an “a,” which actually becomes a name that I don’t think exists. But I wanted to keep the “j” because that’s me. That’s my name.

How did your modeling agents react when you told them you were having SRS?

It’s been an interesting experience. I had the surgery early this year, and I told my men’s agent at DNA about two weeks before the operation. I just said, “This is what’s happening,” because I didn’t want anything to stop me. I had decided. And then recently, I had a meeting with the women’s [team], and they’ve been very positive about moving from the men’s board to the women’s board, which is amazing. It’s something I guess no one’s ever done.

Weren’t you on both the men’s and women’s boards before the surgery?
Actually, all over the world I was, but not in New York. I guess the American market isn’t as progressive.

How do you feel your transition from an androgynous male model to a female model will impact your career?
I hope everything goes well. [SRS] was a personal decision. I took this step, and I said to myself, My career is just going to have to fall into place around it. So I hope that I can continue my success. I think I’ve shown that I have skills as a model, and those skills don’t just go away. I’ve had experience. I’ve been around the block.

Androgyny and the transgender community seem to be at the center of the cultural and, more specifically, the fashion conversation at the moment. Hood by Air by Shayne Oliver, who enlisted voguers to model at the Fall ’14 show, is a prime example. Where do you think this focus on the transgender community is coming from?
The trend of androgyny and the exploration of trans beauty started around 2010, and that’s when Lea T and I both started [modeling]. Everyone was kind of saying, “Oh, it’s just a trend, it’s going to go away,” and it hasn’t. I think that’s because it represents a social layer of people who feel that they don’t want to conform to traditional forms of gender—who feel traditional forms of gender are outdated. That social base feeds the trend, and it feeds the exploration in fashion.

Andreja Do you feel the fashion industry has been welcoming and supportive throughout your career?

I got my success very quickly, and the media attention has been pretty positive. People like Jean Paul Gaultier, Carine Roitfeld, and Juergen Teller have been extremely supportive. But my biggest challenge was to not always be pigeonholed, and also to make [androgyny] commercially successful, because when I started, it was such a new thing. Still, there are a lot of roadblocks, particularly when working with cosmetic brands or perfumes or those sort of commercial, corporate things. It’s been more difficult to break into that world than “fashion” because it hasn’t been done before. They don’t have any market research, and people in that world aren’t risk takers. You have to prove to them over and over that you are liked by people, you have a skill, and you can sell a product.

Is landing a beauty campaign something you aspire to do?
It’s a goal for any model! It would be cray cray. But we’ll see. I’m happy to keep doing what I love, and for me it’s like I’m already living the dream.

Have you had any experiences in castings, etc., that have been particularly frustrating?
Oh, yeah, especially in the beginning, when I first moved to London. It was like, I’d walk into the boys’ casting, and they were like, “No…you don’t belong here.” And then at the girls’ casting, they were like, “Why are they sending us boys?” So it took time for everyone to get on board. It wasn’t all sweet sailing.

What do you think the fashion industry can do to further embrace the transgender community?
It would be lovely to live in a world where trans-female models were treated as female models, and trans-male models were treated the same as male models, rather than being a niche commodity. I think that that is the biggest struggle in all this. It’s almost like African-American models back in the nineties. It was like, “Oh, you can do this, but you can’t do that. You can do runway, but no print.” So I think that’s what needs to change.

Andreja When I first met you last year, you already seemed like a pretty confident individual. Do you feel more comfortable—or more you— since having the SRS?

I think from my teenage years, when I decided I needed to express my femininity, I was happy with the way I looked. But SRS is kind of the last part—it’s sort of the icing on the cake. It makes me feel freer than ever. Now I can stand naked in front of a mirror and really enjoy my reflection. And those personal moments are important.

But you’ve always been gorgeous. Did you not enjoy your reflection before?

Not fully naked.

I know you’re close with your mom. Has she been supportive throughout this transition?
I came out to my mom at the age of 14. She didn’t understand it at first, but she’s been very supportive since.

Has going through this transition as a public figure been very difficult?
There’s a difference between coming out to your family and close friends, and coming out to the whole world and opening yourself up to judgment. When I was younger, I just wasn’t ready for that. Even now, it’s hard to navigate. I try to concentrate on myself and what I really need, but there are so many other factors that go into it. You have to figure out timing, you have to figure out agencies. Public perception influences that. It’s a lot of pressure, and modeling is a lot of pressure anyway. I think most models have to live up to something, and they struggle with that. So to have that on top of this, there have definitely been difficult moments.

If I may ask, how do you think the SRS will impact your personal and romantic life? Is that something you’re excited about exploring?
Yeah, I’m very happy with this new situation, and I’m happy to keep exploring.

Are you dating anyone?
No, I’m single. I’m open to love, so I’m taking some time off for myself now. I think that’s necessary. We’ll see. But you know, I feel more comfortable than ever, more confident than ever, and I’m ready to face the world.

Photos: Giampaolo Sgura for Ailvian Heach; Yannis Vlamos/GoRunway.com; Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott for Vogue Paris; Dusan Reljin; Tony Duran 

Curve and Donald Robertson Bring You Shoppable Fashion Illustrations

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Donald Robertson, Nevena Borissova

“I think people respond to the fact that they’re not just drawings, but sort of hidden cultural moments,” revealed Donald Robertson (a.k.a. Donald Drawbertson) at luxury retailer Curve‘s new gallery on Bond Street. The suburban dad-cum-Warholian artist (and head of creative development at Bobbi Brown Cosmetics by day) is talking about the Pop appeal of his loose-sketched, candy-colored fashion illustrations, a selection of which were placed on view with the help of host Carine Roitfeld at Nevena Borissova’s subterranean gallery last night.

The images, painted in sweeping, affection-laden lines on a single piece of paper that spans the entire length of the gallery space, are meant to lead the viewer from one fashion moment to another. “I’ll do Dita [Von Teese] and Zac Posen, whom I really love, in bright magenta, then to leave this color palette altogether and get into black and yellow. Then I’ll go into just black lines. And I usually do skinny chicks, then I’ll do full booty,” explained Robertson as we walked down the line.

Zac and Dita

Figures represent specific looks (a yellow streak on a willowy woman may reference Acne Studios’ boxy sunset Fall outerwear, for instance), as well as friends (Lisa Perry and Roitfeld are regulars) and the more-than-occasional style world moment. “I’ll see that Kanye West got married, and I’ll do a Kanye West post right away,” said Robertson, explaining that Instagram is both a major source of inspiration and a forum for his work. (He was nominated for the CFDA’s Instagrammer of the Year Award.) “It allows me to react to things as they happen.” The illustrations at Curve are an extension of this desire for instantaneous dialogue. Viewers at the shop and gallery can interact immediately: All of the sketches at Curve are shoppable—just scan the image and scan through a selection of corresponding looks.

“I’m constantly being bombarded by concepts and ideas,” said Robertson as the likes of Leandra Medine, Brian Atwood, and Ryan Korban milled in the background. “It’s not a political statement but a style statement through illustration.”

Photos: David X Prutting/BFAnyc.com

Legacy of Style: Fashionable Mother-Daughter Duos, Just in Time for Mother’s Day

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Mother's Day“You’re just like your mother.” Many women meet such a comparison with dread, but for those lucky enough to have ultra-stylish mums, it’s a compliment of the highest order. Who wouldn’t want to learn the art of getting dressed from an icon like Kate Moss, Jane Birkin, or Jerry Hall? Having good taste is a birthright for their respective daughters Lila Grace, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon, and Georgia May Jagger, so it comes as no surprise that many of these girls have become fashion darlings in their own right. In honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday, we rounded up twenty of our favorite mother-daughter pairs. From the quintessentially French Roitfelds to the pinup-worthy Dellal clan to the edgy power duo that is Lisa Bonet and Zoë Kravitz, there’s plenty of multigenerational inspiration here.

Click for a slideshow of stylish mothers and daughters.

Prada Brings the Harlem Renaissance to Milan

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prada

This Thursday, on the evening of its Fall ’14 show, Prada will fete the latest installment of its Iconoclasts series—a project, launched in 2009, that has seen the likes of Katie Grand, Alex White, Olivier Rizzo, and Carine Roitfeld reimagine Prada boutiques in the fashion capitals. This time around, the house has tapped W magazine’s Edward Enninful to share his vision, and he’s chosen to style the brand’s Via Montenapoleone men’s and women’s boutiques in the image of the Harlem Renaissance. At the women’s shop, Enninful will install a series of black and white mannequins, clad in Spring ’14 and archival Prada looks, and pose them as if they were guests at a swanky Jazz Age era club. (The ambience will be topped off with a glitzy Art Deco bar.) Meanwhile, the men’s store will feature game tables and a blues trio. “The event is meant as a celebration of Miuccia Prada’s incredible work. Hopefully people will leave the event with a smile on their face,” Enninful told Style.com. “It is a very joyful moment, and I hope that people will be inspired by the men’s and women’s collections, the installations in each store, and the culturally inclusive direction of this moment in the Iconoclasts series.” To give us a better sense of what to expect, the editor sent us an inspiration image: Palmer Hayden’s painting We Four in Paris, above.

Photo: Palmer Jayden’s We Four in Paris , courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Exclusive: Keeping Up With CR

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CR Fashion Book

Fun fact: Carine Roitfeld’s favorite fairy tale is E.T. “It’s not a traditional fairy tale, but I love E.T. because it combines science fiction and fantasy with a touch of sadness. All of the best fairy tales have that—something dark with something light,” the editor told Style.com. Why on earth would we be speaking with Mlle. Roitfeld about extraterrestrial eighties flicks, you ask? Because “fairy tales” happens to be the concept behind the latest edition of CR Fashion Book, which hits newsstands on February 25.

Considering Roitfeld has facilitated a few fashion Cinderella stories since launching her zine in 2012, “fairy tales” seems a fitting theme for issue four. The editor’s choice to put Kim Kardashian on the cover of issue three helped convince the industry’s elite to (kind of) embrace the reality-TV star. And Kate Upton’s issue one cover made readers recognize that she could be an all-American bombshell and a high-fashion model, too. (For the record, a Brigitte Niedermair pointe shoe and Ukrainian ballet dancer Sergei Polunin covered issue two, but that’s not terribly pertinent here.) Roitfeld’s latest princess-in-the-making? Nineteen-year-old Gigi Hadid, whose Bruce Weber-lensed cover (right) debut exclusively here, alongside a second E.T. themed cover featuring Lindsey Wixson, shot by Sebastian Faena (left). “Gigi is next in the line of athletic, voluptuous babes who transition to high-fashion success,” said CR Fashion Book design director Stephen Gan. Not unlike Kim K., Hadid also happens to be on reality TV—she’s best known for her role on Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (as a daughter, not a housewife). “It may be a cliché, but this is a girl who lights up a room. When I met her, I immediately sensed her star quality—it was only days later that I found out she was already a reality-TV star,” Gan continued. Did we ever in a million years think Roitfeld would fall for not one, but two reality darlings in the span of six months? No. But we’re inclined to trust her judgment. After all, she did introduce the world to Lara Stone.

Photos: Sebastian Faena, Bruce Weber