Editorial — Editorial of the Month – February – Missionary Man – Dansk– #25

The Spring Summer 2011 of Dansk magazine features a great story starring Thomas Penfound, he of the punk rock swagger and the face of campaigns for Burberry and Louis Vuitton amongst others.

Dansk issue 25. Missionary Man. Photo: Aitken Jolly. Styling: Anders Solvsten Thomsen

Dansk issue 25. Missionary Man. Photo: Aitken Jolly. Styling: Anders Solvsten Thomsen

Shot by Aitken Jolly and styled by Anders Solvsten Thomsen for the Missionary Man cover story, the feature takes gender-bending on an even more convoluted journey than usual. Inspired by Annie Lennox, Mr Penfound is cast as a woman playing a man; a reverse Victor/Victoria as it were. It’s a fitting showstopper of a lead article for Dansk’s 25th issue.

The stunning cover shows Thomas sporting Tom Ford on the cover of the new look Dansk designed by hip Copenhagen-based art directors Design Unit. Although there is no doubt that it is one of the most memorable covers on the newsstands at the moment, it would be unwise to not recognise the creativity of the full story that lies within.

While the craze for all things from the 1980’s threatens to be one of those hardy trends that wont just die, Dansk’s contribution to the canon of the eighties revisited is a rare example of not simply treading the same familiar territory. Harking back to the stark style of photography that made Annie Lennox’s handsome face literally The Face and amongst the most distinctive and defining of cover stars during the 1980’s, Thomas Penfound actually proves to be the exactly right choice. Not exactly classically handsome, his quirky features have been so much in demand of late partly because they evoke memories of the DIY 1980’s fashion and music scenes in which character models and intriguing individuals discovered through ‘street casting’ were elevated to the ideal to which everyone should aspire.

During that decade the ultimate insult was that one might be called a ‘poseur’ and, in fact, turn out not to be ‘authentic’ in his or her individual aspirations to being ‘alternative’; to standing out from the mainstream. A dichotomy perhaps, but it really was a time when everyone tried to look different from everyone else whilst simultaneously pretending that their efforts were devoid of pretension. Go figure.

Mass-produced models of the classically beautiful variety were trampled underfoot as a new generation of creatives stormed into nightclubs trying to find strange and unusual individuals to push in front of a camera. In many senses, Thomas Penfound is one of the current examples of a model whose appeal harks back to the punky and New Wave attitude of the 1980’s, the time when the striking Ms Lennox herself was propelled to international superstar status, in part, because her look was so striking and at odds with the previous notions of female beauty. In her case, though, decades later one came to suspect that the whacky make-up, androgynous antics and orange hair were, in fact, the only way that she was able to conceal her actually classical beauty as a strategy of overcoming the expectations of the day.

In matching up a currently iconic model with the famous face of a previous generation, all tightly held together by the crisp art direction for which Dansk is known, Missionary Man offers a memorable and perhaps more light-hearted side of this Danish magazine than we have come to expect. Just the thing for its Spring foray.

Dansk issue 25. Missionary Man. Photo: Aitken Jolly. Styling: Anders Solvsten Thomsen

Dansk issue 25. Missionary Man. Photo: Aitken Jolly. Styling: Anders Solvsten Thomsen