Handsome Girl

Has Freja Beha Erichsen graduated from star model to full fledged fashion icon? Vogue China seems to think so, enlisting Tao Okamoto to recreate Freja’s signature tomboy-chic look in Lachlan Bailey‘s beauty story. Styled by Clare Richardson and featuring leather and denim duds from Chanel and Calvin Klein, the story does a good job recreating Freja’s quintessential model off duty style. Always fun to see one model pay tribute to another, perhaps next month we can have the tables turned with Freja sporting Tao’s memorable bowl cut.


Scan Credit | Aja Mok @ tFS

  1. I see this more as an ode to the punk wave going around than frejas style(which is so cool its like she’s walking around wearing an icebox) but hurray for Tao. shes so underrated, for obvious and unfortunate reasons. the styling is so badass. those first two pics really do it for me from a styling point of view.

  2. i wish they added a few pieces of extentions to make her hair a little longer to match Freja’s

  3. This is great. I think this look suits her. I’d even go as far to say that I prefer this than to Freja, but it’s great fun to see one model paying tribute to another.
    More like this, please.

  4. My two favorite models!
    Tao looks great here 🙂 she can pull off punk rock, couture, commercial, and pretty much anything!!! Love her editorial work!

  5. @lulu, why do you think tao is so underrated??? i agree with you … she hasn’t had a major ed with steven meisel; i think she would be a great vogue fixture … and as far as campaigns go … what happened with her and ralph lauren??? … anywho…i love her work and hope she will have a great fall season

  6. Yet another whitewashing/brainwashing/erasure of an Asian woman through in-your-face imitation of Western white norms of beauty/coolness. How great.

    Vogue China fail.

  7. Why the Freja allusion? Tao has always had a tomboy appeal. Freja is an irrelevant reference to this editorial.

  8. @Safari Disco Club: that comment is way over the top. It’s actually more racist to deny an Asian model the right to appear in an homage of someone from another race.

  9. I have to agree with eek on this one. Freja’s style is pretty basic, the story would’ve worked just as well without such a specific reference, and, frankly, it feels odd and borderline offensive to have Tao channeling one of her contemporaries.

  10. @Eamon– instead of focusing on identity politics you should understand how certain images : colonial/imperial Western-Euro ones for the most part, are being sold to non-western masses through various forms of media. And we should not feel happy or less racist when we see an Asian model (in a geographically Asian magazine how ironic) being propped up to sell that image. Obviously they were going to cast an Asian model, in Vogue China, when they are doing an ‘homage’ of Freja. It is not always about what is seen rather what is trying to be accomplished through that visual image.

  11. @Safari Disco Club: Your observations are way off the mark and PC to the extent of the absurd.

    Think about it: this is a fashion shoot featuring Tao styled in Freja-esque pieces. To add a race conspiracy theory to this is over-intellectualisation at best.

    Tell me, what kinds of spreads are ‘okay’ for Asian models to appear in? Chinoiserie? Maybe they shouldn’t be in spreads at all unless the designer is Asian themselves? After all, wouldn’t the model just be a pulsing billboard pedalling Westerners’ ideals of luxury and beauty to the developing world? Please.

    The fact that non-whites never appear in Prada campaigns. Now that is a fashion battle to fight. This is not.

  12. @safari disco club. actually, if it wasnt for the blurb by MDC and i REALLY analysed it, i would have tied this ed with the bishonen/bifauxnen style thats popular in some(NOT all)east asian countries. i dont know about china, but the garçonne thing is pretty popular in japan and korea and is actually one of the reasons freja is big there. The ed is called handsome boy which is an allusion to the bifauxnen trope. janelle just put it in a context that was relatable to modelphiles who dont get that aspect of east asian pop culture. just be glad my homegrrl tao is rocking that ed.@randy shes underrated coz shes asian but doesnt conform to the fashion standard(long hair, lady-like personal style etc)honestly i feel shes been bubbling under 4 the longest time. i hope the tide will change for her. at least shes still getting somewhat high profile jobs.

  13. @Eamon- I am not adding a race-conspiracy theory, i think it is pretty out there that Tao is Asian and Freja is white, and I am not being PC: I stated that focusing on identity politics would be useless. And I am not over-intellectualizing anything because there are concrete outcomes of these sorts of media representation.

    It’s not that I don’t think Freja isn’t the coolest model out there but it is pretty offensive and pointless to conflate Tao and Freja where they are both still contemporary.

  14. @Safari Disco Club: If the issue is whether a reference point should be so current, like Liv also mentioned in this thread, then fine. Although that is more a symptom of the Internet rather than any desire to subjugate a culture. The technique of referencing the present is also employed in music, visual art, etc. yielding some interesting results.

    You say you’re not focussing on identity politics but your OP clearly mentions the “erasure of an Asian woman”. To this I completely disagree. Freja’s ‘whiteness’ is purely incidental.

    Chloe is right: fashion is racist. I would go further and say the world is racist, but where do you draw the line to determine what’s worth arguing about? I’m tired of the inevitable debate that ensues in almost every item on models.com featuring a non-white model because it takes away from their wonderful achievements.

  15. @Eamon

    Of course there is a difference! In the real world, try denying a black/hispanic/asian person a job because of his race and a company will land itself with lawsuit. You can’t do the same thing in the fashion world.

  16. I am asian btw. And I am obsessed with fashion. I have LV, Burberry, Tag watch among many other things. But I refuse to buy Chanel, Fendi and Prada because of their over-white images. The brands think it is cool to feature white women, I see it stupid racist jokes running their business

  17. i think Freja is ok though her success if based on Lagerfeld’s personal love for her boyish look. he’s like the Murdoch of the fashion industry, sigh…well, personally i think Tao totally rocks and she has a unique look that stands out from other Asian models, personally think she should be higher ranked. but hey! it’s the real world, i do like all other chinese models but clearly all the brands want a bite of the lucrative chinese market so chinese models are the hotties right now. agree with a few comments regarding the ‘white supremacy culture’ in Asia, but honestly high fashion industry is doing as much as they can coz the general chinese public regard these asian models as ‘ugly’ – they like blondes, blue eyes, super pale look. sad indeed!!! also agree on one comment about Prada, though they did use asians for Miumiu Campagin…i think Prada is not too bad compared to a few others like Chloe mentioned, though Chanel did use 2 japanese for cosmetic campaigns.

  18. I’m Japanese myself and I love both Freja and Tao. So it’s nice to see that Asian models can pull off fashion that’s more worn on Caucasian models/women.
    I don’t really understand why many people think there is a “white supremacy culture” to be honest.
    Look at Dior, Mihara Yasuhiro, Givenchy, Gwen Stefani,Tao, Liu Wen, etc. Caucasians get influenced by Asian fashion as well. In my opinion, if there isn’t a cultural difference, fashion would be boring.

  19. I agree with Eaomon one hundred and ten percent. This is a beautiful spread, and why force Asian models to dress exclusively in traditional Asian garb? She should wear what she wants. Sunglasses, lipstick, kooky bangs, whatever floats one’s boat.

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