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Femimen Hit The Catwalks

Lynnette Thomas

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win a resort - feminen modelAustralian new male ‘model of the moment’ is Andrej Pejic, a 19 year-old, Serbian -naturalized-Australian. He is in high demand, walking catwalks for John Galliano and Paul Smith, as well as making ads for Marc Jacobs and Jean Paul Gaultier.

Pejic caused many people to query his gender, when starting off a new ‘femimen'fashion trend. He first appeared in Jean Paul Gaultier's Spring/Summer collection 2011.

Pejic is best recognized since the late 1980s, for his long blonde hair and androgynous, asexual appearance, which is the absolute opposite of the lean, handsome, muscle-rippling male models, typically cast for ad campaigns and fashion runaways.

The willowy, soft-spoken Pejic, born in Bosnia in 1991, started his modelling career in Australia in 2008, when Matthew Anderson, director of Chadwick Models in Melbourne, recognized Pejic's amazing potential. ‘'His beauty was extraordinary. He's also intelligent and it's amazing, really, that he survived growing up in Broadmeadows and that he's just so comfortable in his own skin. '’

''He probably wasn't going to be commercial, '’ Anderson recalls. ‘'But it was a look that was really exciting, very interesting, very high fashion. '’ Anderson understood instantly that Pejic's ‘'femimen'’ look was so jarringly feminine, so shockingly beautiful, it would fascinate fashion's most innovative producers, photographers and editors.

''Andrej was definitely a calculated risk; we really weren't sure how it would work out. In the global financial crisis, a lot of commercial decisions were being made above creative ones and that meant the strong man, Chesty Bond-types were more likely to work. '’ Anderson sent Pejic off to London, then Paris and Tokyo, in order to test his theory.

The stylists promptly fashioned Pejic's eyebrows into elegant arcs, ran trails of shadow over his lids, straightened, or waved his blonde tresses and added a touch of lip colour, or gloss to his soft, pillow lips.

Peicj said ‘'At first everyone thought there must be a blonde girl doing all the men's shows. They asked Raf Simmons if he was doing women's wear now. They figured it out eventually. '’

The commissions accelerated after Paris. Vogue Paris editor Carine Roitfeld, well known for her razor radar, cast and styled Pejic for a spread in her August issue based on transsexual icons.

Fashion blogger of au, Patty Huntington, claims Pejic's body of work, particularly his commissions for three Vogue mastheads, is probably one of a kind. ‘'I can't think of any other time that a new Australian model has been so heavily showcased in multiple international editions of the world's best-known fashion magazine brand in such a short space of time'’.

21 years old, James Varley, a fast-talking, highly creative Melbourne University science student, has been signed up by Matthew Anderson as a second ‘femimen-look’ model.

Varley, who will attempt to cash in on his evocative boy/girl beauty, in Paris and London says “Its unity, but still with individuality". Androgyny is about a global fashion world groundswell that is a ‘halfway'look.


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