Fashion

Trans Is Trending: Bruce Weber Photographs Transgender Models for Barneys

Fashion

Trans Is Trending: Bruce Weber Photographs Transgender Models for Barneys

Left, models Katie Hill and Arin Andrews. Right (from left in photo), Valentijn de Hingh, a model; Ryley Pogensky, a party promoter; and Leonard and Gloria Pogensky, Ryley Pogensky’s grandparents. Photographed by Bruce Weber for Barneys New York.
Transgender models photographed by Bruce Weber for Barneys New York.
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Trans is trending. 2013 saw the rise of the beautiful Laverne Cox and Carmen Carrera; introduced us to Chelsea Manning. Most recently, Barneys New York (which was the cool New York department store until Dover Street Market opened in December; this may be Barneys’ attempt to reclaim its cool) hired photographer Bruce Weber to shoot a catalog and campaign modelled exclusively by transgender people, among them Ryler Pogensky, Arin Andrews and Katie Hill. The catalogue features nearly twenty models, ranging in age from 17 to “early-30s,” of varying “races, socioeconomic positions and places on the transgender spectrum,” all of which is explained in the catalog via excerpted interviews with the participants. 

We can fault capitalism for all sorts of everything but it does have a beautiful capacity to propel social justice movements if there’s a market attached to it. Fashion is especially good at this because of its need for novelty—trans is the new metrosexual is the new power lesbian is the new…

Fashion is all about performance, and so it’s a great stage for a sort of queer utopia. Not just trans, but drag, androgynous and genderqueer looks suit the industry. Editor Carine Roitfeld, with her penchant for polymorphous but depoliticized gender/sex mashups, is arguably post-queer (as in post-feminism). Hood by Air and the VFILES cohort are all over the queer place. And andro-models like Andrej Pejic and Erika Linder are so hot rn. 

Fashion is also allergic to real talk, though, so more often than not this radical imagery is divorced from radical discourse, and, stifling as language can be, it’s necessary for actual social (legal and other bureaucratic) change. It’s awesome that Barneys included interviews within what could have turned into iffy tokenism. Applause, applause, applause. Now, keep reading. Here’s…

Hari Nef on Chelsea Manning for Vice.

Beatriz Preciado interviewed by the Paris Review about the best queer text OMFG Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs, and Biopolitics in the Pharmacopornographic Era.

Autostraddle’s critique of Katie Couric’s invasive questioning of Carmen Carrera and Laverne Cox.