Funny how things slot into place. The penultimate post was a photograph of an accidental “8” formed by electrical cables, the result of stage designers preparing for a show at the Hackney Empire in London. “8“. Model size. “8“. Hourglass. Bombshell. Perfect symmetry. Goddess. “8”. Past tense of the verb to eat.
It brings me round nicely to some articles I’ve been reading over the weekend. I came across a post on the New York Times blog that referred to a recent shoot in V Magazine where “real”, womanly girls – how paradoxical does that sound – modelled in a series of shoots. The Size Debate has been raging on for a while now and that’s a good thing – it needs to be discussed.
I guess we have to thank the Beth Ditto cover shot on the Love Magazine’s debut issue for the focus on “bigger girls”. A part of me is quite cynical – we’ve had Italian Vogue’s black girls issue and now this. A part of me is cautious. All women are as “real” as each other so to be critical of skinny women is wrong. Also, even though weight is not a direct signifier of health, to suddenly start promoting overweight models wouldn’t be correct either.
The women in the following shots aren’t overweight. They’re curvy alright but quite beautiful and aspirational. I applaud this. What would be great is if we started seeing this sort of variety on a regular basis without fanfare because there really shouldn’t be an issue.
Interesting to note is that even though these models are larger than the norm none seem more than a size 16, which is the maximum size most designer clothes come in anyway. What never seems to be involved in the debate is the issue of fit. Once you step into oversize territory how do you cut clothes to flatter all body types? Its insane to criticise the fashion industry for this. Some women might be size 22 on top, 18 on the bottom, large around the torso but with relatively slim legs. The permutations become endless. It’s mission impossible to do this. One thing the slimmer and larger girls have in common is a defined waist. The mean. It’s all about proportion. The hourglass. The “8”. In that sense size doesn’t really matter, shape does.