Pop Tart

Agyness Deyn and the hipster machine.

By Caralyn Green
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Mar. 12, 2008

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No matter what Tyra Banks says, this country's next top model ain't springing forth from CW's reality pageant; she's come from a chip shop on a British high street, and she goes by the unwieldy name of Agyness Deyn ("Agnes Dean" in plainspeak; Laura Hollins by birth).

With her peroxide pixie cut and carefully studied gutterpunk nonchalance, Aggy is everything we indie girls are supposed to want to be. When she's not prowling catwalks and pouting for Burberry, Armani, Galliano and Vogue, she guest DJs, plays in a rock band and wanders paparazzi-festooned after-parties in getups that would get anyone besides a foxy waif incarcerated for disturbing the peace (cropped trousers cinched 5 inches above the waist, a fur coat, a red beret, men's golfing shoes and a plaid eyepatch surely signify mental instability on anyone besides Aggy).

But this carefully manicured blase cool--equal parts Debbie Harry and Bozo the Clown--has earned Deyn numerable ad campaigns, glossy spots and accolades (Tatler magazine recently named her "best dressed" ahead of perennial fave Kate Moss, and Time put her on the cover of their Style & Design issue).

Agyness Deyn. Photo by Melissa Hom for New York Magazine

Deyn is hailed as silly, weird, stunning, edgy and some sort of alternative to done-up mainstream beauty--which is crap, really, because she's a bottle-blond glamazon with impeccable bone structure, Bambi blue eyes and hips as narrow as my left thigh. How we're duped into believing Agyness is different than Cindy, Heidi, Naomi, Claudia and Christy, I really don't know. But we are.

It has something to do with this whole hipster thing, I guess. Yes, that dreaded, painfully ambiguous word. Deyn, it seems, is the first hipster supermodel. She's ironic, deliberately disheveled, "arty" in a streety, highly stylized way and decidedly working class rather than snotty from the womb. (Before emerging as a specimen of profitable splendor and relocating to New York, Aggy worked the counter at a fish and chips shop outside Manchester).

Generally, models represent our cultural ideals. In the '80s and early '90s catwalk queens were busty and leggy with big hair. Then heroine chic took over. Then in the late '90s up until, like, last month, catwalk queens of both the busty and the ana species sunk to the shadows, and singers/actresss/spokespersons sold us our mascara, magazines and handbags.

Now the model is back, and she wears fedoras and leather jackets, Clash T-shirts and suspenders, dresses made of fur pelts and children's Halloween costumes mixed with haute couture. She's androgynous. She's cheeky. She scowls. She smiles. She laughs. She looks like she's laughing at you, because she knows she's not only more beautiful than you, she's also infinitely cooler. She probably likes her coffee black and her whiskey neat. She probably listens to music better than whatever trash is filthing up your stereo. And she's probably at South by Southwest right now, making out with the lead singer of your soon-to-be favorite band.

The model is back and she's a hipster.

Most people think "hipster" is undefinable and meaningless because anyone who's a hipster hates the term and denies its application, and anyone who isn't a hipster doesn't get the concept beyond its most blatant stereotypes. But it means something, and that something is becoming increasingly prevalent and profitable to big business. The modelization of hipsterdom represents just one more frontier in the ascendance of the term, the lifestyle, the commodity and the standard of beauty.

What Aggy's mounting popularity and eventual reign signify is that it's no longer enough for women to be pretty, goshdarnit. We also have to be kooky and badass and, more than anything, self-righteously cooler than 99 percent of the chicks around us.

Face it. We're screwed.


In other news ...

Britney Spears nabbed an upcoming guest spot on CBS' How I Met Your Mother. Never realized Ted was just a pseudonym for K-Fed. New episodes premiere Monday, at last. It's nice that shows have started filming post-writers' strike eps, but I'm sad to say ABC's Pushing Daisies won't come back to life until fall. The freshman Am´┐Żlie-esque crime caper won hearts with its tales of pie-baking, dead people and cheese addiction, and until it returns, we'll be forced to drown our sorrows in that new Audrey Tautou flick Priceless, which looks like something Tori Spelling would've convinced her father to produce. Speaking of Spelling-worthy, NBC's Lipstick Jungle is sating now that ABC has put Cashmere Mafia on hold. It's more melodrama than bubbly camp, but the SATC movie will be out soon enough. Don't hold a grudge against ABC, though. ABC Fam's bringing us The Cutting Edge 3 this Sunday, the third installation in the Best Sports Movie Ever franchise. The Hills angster Lauren Conrad debuted her latest collection at L.A.'s Fashion Week. Every outfit seems to involve leggings and a trapeze-shaped tunic, which is great if you're preggers or trying to be cutting edge three years ago; not so good if you're not. Definitely more tranny mess than fierce. Amy Winehouse snorts vodka, and probably your geometry homework too, if you ask. Paris Hilton continues to date Benji Madden, while sometimes-BFF Nicole continues to pretend she's not pissed the Other Madden knocked her up. Madonna was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We've learned her new album's gonna be called Hard Candy. Someone should tell her the Counting Crows and that cosmetics company have been there, done that. If Adam Duritz and 13-year-olds with lime green nails are over it, it's over, Madge. Tickets are now on sale for July's Pitchfork Music Festival. By then Vampire Weekend should've cycled through enough hype and backlash to be enjoyable once again. Everyone keeps wearing those totally '80s Ray-Bans in colors like hot pink and traffic-cone orange, even though they know they'll regret the decision immediately after they come down from their coke haze. George Clooney is adamantly not engaged to his cocktail waitress girlfriend. He's waiting for me.

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