Androgyny in fashion is nothing new. Designers have been sending women down the runway in sharply tailored suits and dressing men in kilts and skintight pants for decades. But recently, a crop of models has gained notoriety for building careers posing as the opposite sex.
Take Andrej Pejic, the angelic-looking blond who's modeled bridal gowns for Gaultier and was named one of the "100 Sexiest Women in the World" by FHM magazine. Or Casey Legler, the former Olympic swimmer who is now signed to Ford's male model division. Pejic, by the way, is a man. Legler is a woman.
And then there's Erika Linder, the star of this new campaign from Swedish label Crocker by JC Jeans Company. Linder, who came to prominence after appearing in Katy Perry's "Unconditionally" video last fall, works as both a mens- and womenswear model. (Her Twitter bio aptly reads, "I have too much imagination to just be one gender.") Now, in Crocker's gender-bending "Whatever" video, she's doing both.
At first glance, "Whatever" doesn't come across as anything particularly remarkable. It opens with an emo-looking young man strolling into a photo shoot, where he catches the attention of a pretty woman. The man sits down in front of the camera and begins to disrobe. Then, with the help of a hair-and-makeup team (and some hair extensions), he is transformed into the same woman with whom he previously shared the screen.
By now, of course, we've realized that both the "male" and "female" models are one and the same. Linder transitions between roles so seamlessly that her double appearance could be easily missed if it weren't spelled out for us. The moment the on-screen transformation begins, however, both "Whatever" and its star become far more compelling than your average fashion ad or model.
"By starring Erika as the model for both male and female styles, we want this collection to inspire creativity and confidence as we set out to break new boundaries within the fashion industry," the brand says. It's an interesting move for a mainstream retailer, given that this type of androgyny is generally reserved for high-fashion editorials (though it's worth noting Sweden is very progressive when it comes to gender equality, having even added the gender-neutral pronoun "hen" to the country's National Encyclopedia last year).
Here's hoping that the trend continues.
Behind the scenes video:
Client: Crocker / JC Jeans Company
Creative Director: Eleonore Säll /JC
Director & Director of Photography: Fredrik Etoall
Editor: Robin Wellström
Hair & Make: Sandra Ojeland / Mikas
Music: Mapei - "Don't Wait" / Downtown Recordings & Universal Publishing