Be Still, My Appreciative Heart

Blending gender

Deyn circa 2008

The first time I really sat up and took notice of edgy, sometimes androgynous appearing, model Agyness Deyn was in a menswear-inspired phoot spread in W Magazine.

I think it was about 2008, and the blatant butchness of the photos just knocked me out. They weren’t the glamorous “le smoking” looks we’ve been conditioned to think of as menswear for women, nor were they playful, like Annie Hall. Deyn brought a seriously masculine energy to the photos, and although that well-thumbed issue of the magazine is long gone, I still have the memory of it. (Sigh.)

Then today, I stumbled across a new photo shoot by James Franco. His photography debut for Elle — a biker-flavored editorial called “Chateau Dreams,” he says was inspired by actor James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. The pictorial features Agyness Deyn roaming Los Angeles, along with models Natalia Bonifacci and Imogen Poots in similar gender-bending aesthetic — ties, men’s shirts, and leather jackets. The shoot is part of Franco’s contemporary art project which debuts this Summer at the Venice Biennale, and you can see all of the photos now on

From the new shoot:

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