Nineteen year-old, Serbian-naturalized-Australian Andrej Pejic is in high demand and the hottest male model of the moment, he walks the 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, while starting off a new ‘femimen’ fashion trend. He first appeared in Jean Paul Gaultier’s Spring/Summer collection 2011. Pejic’s 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.
Pejic, willowy and soft-spoken, was born in Bosnia in 1991. He began his modelling career in Australia in 2008, at that time Matthew Anderson, director of Chadwick Models in Melbourne immediately recognized Pejic’s 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 designers, producers, photographers and editors.
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 instantly plucked Pejic’s eyebrows into chic arcs, ran lines of shadow over his lids, straightened, or waved his tresses of blonde hair and applied a slick 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 even asked Raf Simmons if he was doing women’s wear now. They figured it out eventually.”
The commissions doubled following Paris. VogueParis editor Carine Roitfeld, renowned for her razor radar, cast and styled Pejic for a spread in her August issue based on transsexual icons.
Patty Huntington Fashion blogger, of Frockwriter.com.au, believes Pejic’s body of work, and in particular 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.
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, London and New York…Sydney should not be too far behind.
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