Australian 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.
He first appeared in Jean Paul Gaultier’s Spring/Summer collection 2011 when starting a new ‘femimen’ fashion trend. Pejic caused many people to inquire about his gender.
Pejics looks are totally opposite of the lean, handsome, muscle-rippling male models, typically cast for ad campaigns and fashion runaways, since the late 1980s. Pejic is best identified by his long blonde hair and androgynous, asexual appearance.
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.”
Anderson had known right away that Pejic’s ‘femimen look was so jarringly feminine, so shockingly beautiful, it would intrigue fashion’s most creative photographers, producers and editors. ”He probably wasn’t going to be commercial,” Anderson recalls. ”But it was a look that was really exciting, very interesting, very high fashion.”
In order to prove his theory, Anderson sent Pejic off to London, then Paris and Tokyo. ”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.”
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.
Pejic says “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 doubled following Paris. Vogue Paris editor Carine Roitfeld, renowned for her razor radar, cast and styled Pejic for a spread in her August issue based on transsexual icons.
Fashion blogger of Frockwriter.com.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”.
Matthew Anderson has just signed up a second ‘femimen-look’ model, James Varley, 21, a fast-talking, highly creative Melbourne University science student.
Androgyny is all about a global fashion world groundswell that is a ‘halfway’ look. “Its unity, but still with individuality,” says Varley, who intends to make the most of his evocative boy/girl beauty, in Paris and London.
Dr Wendy Stenberg-Tendys and her husband are CEO’s and founders of YouMe Support Foundation, providing high school education grants for children who are without hope. You can help in this really great project by taking a few minutes to check out the Sponsor a Student program at (http://youmesupport.org). It will change the life of some really needy kids in the South Pacific.