11 whopping fashion stories crowd the September Harper's Bazaar, counting the wacky Obama-themed Tyra story and the token "goofy" story that has become the magazine's signature. (This month, Bazaar editors asked designers to pose, with models, as a character of their choosing - Michael Kors picked Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window, Alber Elbaz hammed it up as James Bond, and Donna Karan chose, weirdly, a hurricane. And then there's Karl Lagerfeld!) Bazaar's 101 pages of fashion is, incidentally, 30 more pages than Vogue's September issue. Not that anyone is counting! Join me, your Anonymous Model, after the jump: it's time for modeling workshop.
Lily Donaldson gives a tutorial in how to behave around the native Other. This is an eternal fashion meme: the Other might be Masai tribesmen or Indian schoolchildren or checkout clerks in one of those palatial, fluorescent-lit Midwestern hypermarkets. Or, like here, 10-gallon-hatted rodeogoers. Whatever the conditions on the ground, it's your job as the model to look fabulously distinct from the human backdrop; you have to be both an ornament and a foil while maintaining your self-consciously alien presence. Sometimes you interact with the Other, but only in ways that highlight your essential difference. Watch how Lily does it.
It's okay if you make the Other nervous, like that small blonde child who looks like she's too frightened to move. These are parables of cultural interaction, and the rule of thumb is always that they're as scared of you as you are of them.
Exhibit 1: The dude in the black hat is totally more comfortable looking at that horse's ass than at the ass of the supermodel two feet away from him. Nice.
Posing with things in your mouth isn't fun (although Masha Novoselova pulls this one off nicely). Rather than take a Freudian field-trip, I'm concentrating on the practical here: these shots are hard to light, the lipstick takes 15 minutes and you have to hold your lips in pretty much the same wide spread smile from the second the makeup artist starts lacquering you up to the instant the last frame is shot. Your teeth hurt from almost biting the metal and your tongue goes dry. Depending on the angle the photographer's shooting from, you might have to roll your bottom lip under a little, or stick your upper lip out, so that your pout reads as evenly plump in the picture. Don't let any random lines form across your philtrum or at the corners of your mouth! The jewelry wants to smear the lipstick. The lipstick wants nothing more than to jump all over your teeth. (And, should that happen, the makeup artist will jump in to scrub your pearlies with a Q-tip. Fun!) Getting the jewelry to lie just so without casting any weird shadows or looking "strange" takes minutes that feel like hours. It's often the simplest seeming shots that are the most like keyhole surgery to achieve.
And anything involving feathers being stuck to your lids with eyelash glue is gonna tickle.
Freja Beha Erichsen is one of my favorite models for projecting pure androgynous, languid, jolie laide attitude. Look at her: she's wearing insane double-pleated clown pants and an absurd ruffled shirt, both in red leather - but she makes the outfit seem normal, a given, even. Her pose isn't a pose so much as a had-a-long-day slump that is also, somehow, effortlessly elegant. Yes, I said it! Elegant. In red leather clown pants.
Wow. Just wow.
Nobody, but nobody, does the open-mouthed, eyes narrowed, angry-cute face like Coco Rocha. I always picture her at a restaurant where some idiot dude has kept her waiting for 20 minutes and she's just seen him walk in the door and is about to deliver the emphatic dressing-down she's spent the time mentally rehearsing. But she's probably just channeling the scalp pain of that tacky black wig.