Well, there's one person who's not on board with plus-sized models getting shot by V, French Elle, and French Vogue, and walking for designers like Jean-Paul Gaultier and Mark Fast. Illustrator/photographer/blogger Garance Doré thinks body diversity is "not physically healthy."
Doré, whose blog, Une Fille Comme Moi, attracts around 50,000 daily hits, is one of the handful of bloggers who have genuinely been accepted into fashion's inner circle. Dolce & Gabbana were among the many designers to save her a front row seat at fashion week, and as she explained to the Huffington Post, she has befriended many of the influential editors and stylists whom she photographs in their street clothes for her blog. She contributes to Vogue Paris, and one of her illustrations of Demi Moore adorns a special limited edition cover of this month's British Elle.
Doré writes with charm and wit, and her self-deprecating streak — as evidenced by her willingness to recount her vibrator-disposal mishaps, and incidents of self-tanner gone wrong — makes her seem likable, funny, and approachable. Which is why it's perhaps surprising to hear one of the new fashion media's strongest and nicest voices spouting some of the industry's most retrograde rhetoric. Doré told Sky News:
It should not be such a big deal to show women with different bodies, but sometimes it's treated like a bit of joke, or for shock, like the plus-size models on the runway in the UK fashion week...I think it's too much and almost naive of the fashion industry, because it would be nice in a few years that the idea of different body shapes is normal, but right now it's not quite there yet."
This is partly accurate — it shouldn't be such a big deal for fashion to include the size 8-and-up models it almost laughably considers "plus-sized" in its magazine editorials, or in its advertising campaigns, or on its runways. Just like it also shouldn't be a big deal for models who aren't white to get regular work. But in both cases, it is! Vogue Paris recently gave its first solo cover to a black model in over eight years, and diversity on the runway worsened this last season in New York. American Vogue and French Elle are among the many magazines who exile non-sample-sized models to annual special issues. V magazine, French Vogue and Glamour have recently devoted slightly more editorial pages than usual to plus-sized models, but the change, overall, has been recent and moderate. (Occasionally moderate to the point of frustration: today's rumor is that Calvin Klein's creative director, Francisco Costa, whose casting decisions are easily the most influential in New York, is no longer interested in size 0 models representing his brand. Instead, he wants size 2-4 models.)
But, fundamentally, a slow transformation is probably a good thing — change that is gradual is often lasting — but these baby steps towards a fashion industry that doesn't actively revile the bodies of most women, a fashion industry that might not require straight-size models like Coco Rocha, Natalia Vodianova, Ali Michael, Filippa Hamilton, Lara Stone, and Doutzen Kroes, not to mention countless hundreds of models you and I have never even heard of, to ever choose between their careers and their health, hardly deserve Doré's condemnation. She's speaking as though some radical, unexamined body image revolution were taking place that the industry were "naïvely" getting swept up in. That's just simply not the case — and if plus-size models are being used as a "gimmick," then that's the fault of the brand or the magazine for treating them like trendy accessories.
"It's not such a good thing to show plus-size, because it's not really physically healthy and not always flattering to fashion," continues Doré.
On that, we heartily disagree. All of the plus-size models I know are extremely healthy, and the fact that they continue to be subject to the judgment and assumptions of ill-informed observers because of their size is simply heart-breaking in its unfairness. Perhaps Doré didn't know, but being thin and unfit is actually worse for your health than being overweight and active. And their bodies are "not always flattering to fashion"? I thought it was the designers' jobs to flatter women, not ours to flatter them.
Dore's been known to change her mind in the past — compare this hilarious anti-clogs screed of two months ago with this picture of her wearing the offending footwear last week — and I can only hope she might drop this old prejudice like a knockoff of last season's bag.
Fashion Blogger Criticizes Catwalk [Sky News]
Calvin Klein Reportedly Discontinues Use of Size 0 Models [Fashionologie]
Une Fille Comme Moi [Official Site]