Fashion Chameleons (Androgynous Models)

Fashion is about creation, re-invention, fantasy and illusion. In this installment, I pay tribute to 12 world-class androgynous models, for they are undoubtedly the fashion realm’s most-prized angelic faces.

#12. FREJA BEHA: Freja Beha is internationally known as the current muse of Karl Lagerfeld. A highly sought-after model, casting agent James Scully once said Freja is “The queen of cool… perfect old-school clothes-hanger with a little eighties androgyny thrown in.” And rightfully so as Freja’s conquest include Chanel Prada, LV, Dior, Gucci, Burberry, Prada, Balmain, Harry Winston Inc, Hugo Boss, CK by Calvin Klein, Hermes, Pringle of Scotland, Emporio Armani, Roberto Cavalli, Valentino and Tom Ford eyewear, while appearing in countless editorials for Vogue, Interview and Harper’s Bazaar. Miss Beha has even had a number of fashion items named after her; the Chloe Freja clutch and the Alexander Wang Freja Lace-Up Stiletto Boot with Zip Detail. You can also catch her in Karl Lagerfeld’s 2-part film, “The Tale of a Fairy” for Chanel Cruise 2012.

FREJA BEHA
FREJA BEHA

#11. VALENTJIN DE HINGH: Following the footsteps of Lea T. is Valentjin, also a transgender model. Shot in an editorial for Love Magazine and featured in a video for Vogue Italia. Runway credits include a few names, Comme des Garcons being the most prestigious.

VALENTJIN DE HINGH

#10. DAVID CHIANG:  David Chiang famously worked with Alexander McQueen for his final menswear collection and is notably the first Asian male model to ever walk for Emporio Armani. Other credits include Dior Hommes, where Karl Lagerfeld told him he was a “very beautiful Chinese girl” to which he sheepishly replied, “Thank you.” He’s been currently photographed by famed photographer Steven Klein for an upcoming issue of Japanese Vogue Hommes. When asked where he sees himself in the next 5-years, he jokingly responded, “I see myself as the next Linda Evangelista. I don’t wake up for less than $10,000.”

DAVID CHIANG

#09. KRISTEN MCMENAMY: McMenamy’s modeling career catapulted from the mid-80’s to the late 90’s, working with fashion-giants like Chanel, Valentino and Versace to my favorite photographer Steven Meisel. As of 2011, Kristen McMenamy modeled for Chanel couture and starred in “The Tale of a Fairy,” a 2-part film by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel Cruise 2012.

KRISTEN McMENAMY

#08. VICTOR NYLANDER: This adorable reincarnation of famed singer Billy Idol has already nabbed an international campaign with Versace and Dior Homme and is officially opening for both designers’ Spring Collection. Also among the list of credits are Prada and YSL. It won’t be long before designers begin to slap tubes of crimson lipstick over his amazing full lips while harnessing him into a push-up bra.

VICTOR NYLANDER
Versace Spring-2011 Campaign (model: Victor Nylander) (by Mario Testino)

#07. ANDREJ PEJIC : Andrej Pejić is not to be confused as a transgender model, this androgynous male is famous for his ability to model both Men’s and Women’s Ready-To-Wear. His accomplishments include Burberry Prorsum, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Marc Jacobs.

ANDREJ PELIC (Women’s Ready-To-Wear)
ANDREJ PEJIC (Burberry Prorsum)

#06. LEA T.:  Beloved Lea T. is the muse of Givenchy’s creative director Riccardo Tisci, who calls her “a true goddess.” She’s walked the label’s Haute Couture shows and starred in their campaign. Fame has been good to this one-of-a-kind transgender model as she poses for both Italian Vanity Fair and French Vogue, respectfully.

LEA T.
LEA T.

#05. OMAHYRA MOTA: Hired to walk men’s and women’s Ready-To-Wear, Ohamyra oozes sex appeal as a chic-punk model. Bill Blass, Alexander McQueen, Fendi, Sean John, Baby Phat, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Roca Wear are just a few names on her résumé. Voted in 2001 as one of People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People and walking the Victoria’s Secret runway show that same year. In 2005 music artist/fashion designer Gwen Stefani flew Omahyra in for her L.A.M.B fashion show. Her most recent endeavors include a role as Arclight in X-Men: The Last Stand.

OMAHYRA MOTA
OMAHYRA MOTA
OMAHYRA MOTA

#04. JENNY SHIMIZU: Jenny rose to fame as a female model for Calvin Klein CK1 fragrance ads and modeling Calvin Klein fashions, but her private life seemed to draw more attention with ex-lovers like Madonna and Angelina Jolie. In 2005 she was voted “sexiest woman” by The Pink Paper and appeared as a member of the judge panel in season two of Bravo TV’s Make Me a Supermodel.

JENNY SHIMIZU

#03. TILDA SWINTON: The talented actress is currently the face of Pringles of Scotland. She’s featured in various editorials and a muse to Viktor and Rolf who in 2003 created an entire collection inspired by her. Her ability to transition from female to male is evident in her stage role as Mozart, an Elizabethan nobleman in the movie Orlando and the arch-angel Gabriel in Keanu Reeve’s Constantine.

TILDA SWINTON
TILDA SWINTON
TILDA SWINTON

#02. LINDA EVANGELISTA: Linda Evangelista is iconic for making any hair-color work for her. She sizzled in music videos for George Michael and has been famously quoted for jokingly stating, “We don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day,” referring to herself and a few other models’ role in the modeling biz. The most dramatic turn in her career came in the late 1980s when she cut her hair and was immediately dropped from runway shows that season. Months later, she emerged like never before, gracing magazine covers everywhere as women began requesting her haircut. As of now, she still continues to model for brands like L’Oreal Paris and is currently the face of Talbots.

LINDA EVANGELISTA
LINDA EVANGELISTA
LINDA EVANGELISTA

#01. GRACE JONES:  Grace Jones, the mother of androgyny and international top model, single-handedly paved the way for other androgynous models. Her big-break came in the early 1970’s with a cover for Essence Magazine, which then led to covers for Elle and Vogue.

GRACE JONES

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