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Day 6: Hari Nef

published on 6 May 2015

On day six of her Tumblr takeover, Hari Nef turns her attention to models in her ongoing exploration of the trans aesthetic in fashion.

On day six of her Tumblr takeover, Hari Nef turns her attention to models in her ongoing exploration of the trans aesthetic in fashion.

fashion and the trans aesthetic
by harinef | part v: model archive

stella tennant by craig mcdean
vogue january 1997

most transgender women don’t aspire to “androgyny.” with their femininity constantly scrutinized, most of us aspire to look “feminine:” long hair, a curvy frame–#justgirlythings. to achieve this look allows a trans woman to “pass,” to escape the visual stigma of trans identity. for better or worse, passing as biologically female could save a trans woman’s life.

i identify with the “passing” principle more strongly than i’d like to admit. to be misgendered ruins my day, and it happens frequently. on the other hand, my “feminine ideals” emerged in part through an education in esoteric “high fashion” imagery. fashion has its bombshells, but some of its most in-demand female models are applauded (and paid) because “they look like boys.”

stella tennant is a beauty icon to me–not out of longing, but perhaps out of necessity. clients hurl her name at me constantly–probably at more than half the jobs i book. i’ve learned to love the comparison, as i’ve loved tennant’s work for years. do i wish my beauty could be taken on its own terms without comparison to a cisgender model? of course. does tennant’s beauty allow, in part, for mine to be celebrated? i think so. we’re both “androgynous” models, yet we came by our androgynies differently. hm! that’s the power of imagery, right?

fashion and the trans aesthetic
by harinef | part vi: current models

andreja pejic by collier schorr
styled by james valeri
dossier spring 2011

much has been said in about andreja pejic in the wake of her transition. while i most look forward to her coming work, i’m also quite fascinated by her previous work as a “male model.” those quotation marks are critical, as she is not a man, and perhaps never considered herself as such. i do not think it is a wild conjecture to say that andreja could not have accomplished all she has if she weren’t signed to a men’s board under the guise of identifying as “male.” take this dossier cover. what a thrilling image! could it have made it to the cover of a magazine with a self-proclaimed trans woman as its subject? i’m not sure.

andreja has talked about taking puberty-blocking hormones in her youth, since before she began modeling. she’s 23 now and has spoken openly about her sexual reassignment surgery. from experience, i can say that a trans woman must take a regular dose of female hormones for at least 2 or 3 years before getting approved for srs. perhaps it is safe to say that andreja’s image as an “androgynyous male model” was in some way shaped by the influence of hormone replacement therapy, which noticeably feminizes one’s face and body.

i have no analysis here; andreja’s body is hers, and is sacred as such. i can only say that i’m inspired by what she has accomplished so far: pursuing her private needs while the fashion system ascribed any number of empty labels to her body, her identity, her work. in regard to the system: can i get a “fuck that?”

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Image Gallery

Day 5: Hari Nef

05 May 2015
Day five of model, actress and writer Hari Nef's exploration into the trans aesthetic in fashion is dedicated to model Connie Fleming.
Image Gallery

Day 1: Hari Nef

01 May 2015
Model, actress and writer Hari Nef introduced her exploration of the trans aesthetic in fashion with a look at archive runway shows from Michel Andover, Helmut Lang and Prada.
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Day 3: Hari Nef

03 May 2015
On day three of her Tumblr Takeover, model, actress and writer Hari Nef turned her attention to fashion editorials in her continued exploration of the trans aesthetic.
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