L’Enfant Eternel (Out Mag) Plays with Gender!
In a recent editorial for Out Magazine, “L’Enfant Eternel,” roughly translated as “eternal child” takes the creme de la creme of androgyny and puts it out for you all to see. Guest appearances by Andrej Pejic, David Agbodji, Haoyun Xiang, Noma Han, and Willy Cartier make for one lively display of “camp.”
With the overall lack of diversity embodied within the fashion industry, it’s pretty exciting to not only see the photographer Kai Z Feng play with gender orientation, but almost celebrate it. All of these models in their own right have paved their own path and have flirted with masculinity and femininity as far as images and representation is concerned. Now, let ‘s take a quick look through the editorial to get the dabs on what’s going on in each frame:
Here David and Haoyun play with gender representation by exploring machismo and subtle femininity. With recognizable forms and traits of masculinity such as “Popeye” contrasted with the lean, but still very chiseled, African-ness of David. It makes for a very interesting depiction of what I would term today’s modern metrosexual. The simplicity of the fitted white pants and the perspective of the horizontal lines provide a subtle definition, both broadening his frame and exposing his petite-ness. You get a great contrast of musculature and soft features. You also can’t help but love the visually supple, nourished and hairless skin of both models to add a dollop of “les finis” to this exciting frame.
Just above, David Agobodj flirts with the past by sporting an intricate top composed of both a simplistic white collared shirt with a black covering providing the “outlining” and architecture of masculinity. Sitting in his left hip, we have a subtle and playful twist with masculinity. One can’t deny the amazing musculature of David Agbodji’s physique as we can all remember from the Calvin Klein advertisement of him nude last year. But here, this gives an interesting and fun look into linearity, the architecture of modern masculinity and where we can see gaps inbetween. All these things notwithstanding, the firm and strong stance gives affirms everything we need.
One of my favorite pictures of the editorial, we have Andrej Pejic, Willy Cartier, and Noma Han giving us soft and playful. With these models having the softer faces of the bunch, you can’t help but see the supple skin, soft bone structure and slightly rouged lips (some of which I’m sure is natural). Perhaps most apparent is Andrej Pejic’s “puss n boots” straddling of Willy Cartier’s leg showing us the fiesty-school-girl-tease that he’s known for, having graced runways in full feminine garb. With Willy Cartier holding Noma Han’s face, we get a sense of nurture, tenderness, and a flash of Willy’s undeniable face. We finish with Noma Han rounding out the group with the “darling” expression, sporting a skirt and leggings. However, his boots and tatts don’t allow you to settle to comfortably on the feminine representation as his rebellious masculinity refuses to be covered. Additionally, Willy’s wide stance provides the foundation for both Noma and Andrej hinting at feminity and strength with undercurrents of masculinity and a protective flare.
Willy Cartier gives us action and tassles as we witness masculinity and femininity in motion. The tassles and free spirited movement of the fabric further frames his obvious masculinity, but wrapped around his waist, we are still aware of his its origin point. With his slightly soft expression facing away from the camera (considered a feminine coyness), you indulge in his boyishly handsome face, reminiscent of young princes known for straddling both genders with man beauty. His arms, slightly expressionless at the top, but contrasted with a firm, rooted stance, we observe another double entendre of masculinity and femininity through gestures and so much more.
Have your own ideas or readings of the images? Well, you know what to do. No need to hold out, throw that knowledge in the comment section so we can all marinate in your unique perspective.
NOTE: cc:Keith does not own any of the previously displayed images. This impeccable work was shot by Kai Z Feng with Brent Coover (fashion Editor/Stylist), Adrian Clark (Hair Stylist) and Ralph Siciliano (Makeup Artist)