06/29/12 - 0 Comments
Who Is Andrej Pejic?
Who is Andrej Pejic? Couture’s golden boy of course, celebrated and oozed about by fashonistas throughout the world, and he appears to be the first male model that our synthetic-wearing world is actually paying attention to. Usually, it is the female of the species who is cast as muse or feighted as the personification of a look. But this past year, it is a rather slender boy who is causing a pleated stir.
The chosen few, perched on their Louboutins, are rushing to see this pale lad totter down the runway, whilst the poorer masses of Wintour wannabes (drenched in the stench of Dior) simply worship him from afar. Stylish, ever so friendly, and sweating fabulousness, this boy is loved. But it is not simply his pleasing demeanour that has got people interested in him. Pejic has a little something extra special tucked up his McQueen-embroidered sleeve, which sets him far apart from the D&G and Gucci boys. This 19 year old mannequin, whose only task is to pop on a matching top and bottom and look vacant, has shaken up the normally hum-drum two-shows-a-year fashion world…and has even shaken the wider, less bedecked public, finding his way into the mainstream press. Why so? Because, this beautiful boy dares to be the skeletal embodiment of effeminacy.
Unashamedly limp, he slopes around in lip-gloss, his head lilting in every direction as he happily absorbs the usual round of questions about his girly ways. He does indeed look great in expensive cloth and associated apparel and thus, the fashion papps can’t get enough of him. Even couture’s enfant terrible, Jean Paul Gaultier, demanded Pejic strut down his catwalk, gleefully showing him off like a proud father. And it is easy to see why this Bosnian-born waif is accepted by the fashion world; he sports a divinely sculpted face and delicate lips balanced daintily on a cadaverous ultra-slim form; he is perfect high-fashion fodder. One could ask, what is so unusual about his feminine bent? Surely, many male models are fey and skinny and could pass for girls? What sets Pejic apart from the rest, and has caused many feminist commentators to choke on their sanctimony, is that he does not merely tinker on the periphery of the feminine, he grabs the frock and heels, dons them and sidles before the flashbulbs side-by-side with the women the clothing is intended for. Pejic is often the only male model working a runway show that is showcasing female clothing, which has proved distasteful to some.
The Daily Mail’s Amanda Platell stayed up late to write a scathing piece entitled; ‘Fashion’s Ultimate Insult to Women; The Latest Way of Demeaning Women is a Male Model Dressed as a Girl’. Platell appears unamused by the coterie of gay men who, she believes, have reduced the female form to that of a prepubescent male. Citing Pejic as the ‘ultimate misogynistic in-joke’ she then, bizarrely, laments the fact that Pejic, a man, took the finale wedding-dress-slot at the end of a Gaultier show.
Platel titles Pejic‘the bride of Frankenstein with no breasts and a lunch-box’. Platell seems to be despising the apparent mastery of gay designers to manipulate and mock the feminine, whilst protesting that the victims of such practises should be exclusively women! I would have thought that Platell, who has often shadowed the chaps in a pin-strip two piece, with her voice an octave too low, would have some time for Pejic, but sadly, no.
At least Platell covered her vitriol with a veil of ill-constructed feminist thinking. The bad lads at FHM magazine did not hide their disgust for girls who might actually be boys, and even asked for a ‘sick-bucket’ whilst poking fun at Pejic in an article. Pejic does seem to rattle cages, as have many gender-bending folk in the past. It is interesting to observe how Pejic plays this gender-confusion completely unaffectedly; his lisping gait is thoroughly natural to him and he is gloriously undisturbed by it.
Although many commentators seem to be begging him to side-step into either one or the other of the gender boxes on offer, he simply refuses, appearing utterly uninterested by a need to categorise his hybrid self. Dare I say, he even seems a little bored by the hoopla that surrounds him. Sure, he loves the clothes and the glamour, but apparently not the clamour to assign him a respectable gender. Pejic yawns whilst being asked about his sexuality: “I know people want me to sort of defend myself, to sit here and be like, ‘I’m a boy, but I wear makeup sometimes.’ But, you know, to me, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t really have that sort of strong gender identity – I identify as what I am.” And what he is, for the moment, is a needle in the side of gender fascists and a momentary diversion from fashion monotony.