[ READ Part ONE Here: Plus Size = Curvalicious = Plus Model Tara Lynn
- that gives a different take on the story ]
There are so many more magazines now jumping on the PLUS Size bandwagon (….PLUS size women? Oooohhh! Aren’t they beautiful? Why haven’t we done anything on curvier women? *slaps head – see my riff below).
But the magazine & the feature, that actually made people sit up and take notice was the Vogue Italia BELLE VERRE cover story in June 2011. Shot by one of my favorite fashion maestros – Steven Meisel, this Vogue Italia spread shows the models not as “Plus size” or large, or curvi(ER*) or in any way different, but as NORMAL, GORGEOUS, WOMEN!
On the June issue of Italian Vogue, you’ll see something we don’t often see on fashion magazine covers: flesh. Breasts spill out of bras, hips bulge out of panties, and the angular bony figures we are so used to seeing are replaced with the softness of women who have unapologetically voluptuous bodies. Candice Huffine, Tara Lynn & Robyn Lawley are the three models featured on the cover (the cover!) and in the lush spread inside.
The fantastic, forward-thinking, gutsy Italian Vogue editor Franca Sozzani, refuting the criticism that the “Curvy” channel on the Italian Vogue website was a gimmick, explained that she doesn’t expect this issue to change the world, or for super-skinny models to disappear overnight, but she hopes at the least that it gets the industry to start asking questions about what defines beauty. And she’s right about one thing: For change to happen, someone has to actually provoke it.
When asked by New York Magazine if plus sized models would soon get as much attention as others, Italian Vogue editor Franca Sozzani said “… I don’t think we’ll see the same proportion [of plus-size models as straight-size models]. Just like we don’t see the same proportion of white and black girls. They use curvy models sometimes, like a provocation, but it is just to show something different, which I don’t like honestly. I loved for example Prada, the winter before last she used three or four girls which were curvy girls. So not everybody will embrace that, I don’t think so. But I think in a way we will stop to think, do you really want to go on with all these skinny girls? If this is the only question that comes up, for me [the issue] will be a big success.”
From Wikipedia : “Although U.S.-based manufacturers used larger models to show their plus-size clothing as early as the 1940s, the bias against larger consumers and models pervasive in the fashion industry worked to keep this particular concept of modeling out of the general public’s eye until the early 1990s…”
SEE THIS PROMO for the latest Vogue Italia issue - makes me go crazy in joy & love with the crazy radical, innovative, creative, gutsy editor Franca Sozzani who was responsible for the Belle Verre issue we all love.
[Harry Neelam: *Here's my personal riff on the PLUS Size phenomenon: Yes, I am glad, happy, thrilled, absolutely delighted at common sense prevailing and more opportunities, more acceptance, for all women.
But when you differentiate, you judge.
What is sexism? Making judgments about someone whose sex is different from yours: "All men are bastards" or "all women are bitches".
What is racism? Making judgments about someone whose race is different from yours: Aaah - I won't go there, but you have heard all the remarks, jokes, comments and almost certainly even made them yourselves.
Ageism: "Old people are stupid"
Religious zealotry: "..my religion is better than yours" "you aren't religious? You'll go to hell!"
Homophobia: well, you know.
So, you get it. It's also known as xenophobia (as Pauline Hanson once famously asked: "...please explain???") that Pauline, is "the unreasonable fear of that which is foreign or different"
Usually arising from ignorance.
Differentiate and you are being judgmental. Simple as that.
I have shot "Plus" models all my life. But then....
- I have shot black models,
- "older" models,
- thin models,
- perky models,
- white, pink, brown, yellow, purple, green, (green? yes - model getting sick ;-P )
- fat, thick, skinny,
- short, tall,
- young, old,
- straight, gay, bisexual,
- stunning and average,
- hot, cold, lukewarm
- flat, medium build, athletic, busty and voluptuous...
To me they were all just women.
Not any one different or a special category.
What does one of the "hot" models (that's the 'public' tag) tease me with? "Ah! Harry, you always make me look so good - you do love me so much"
What does one of gorgeous " plus size" models say to me? "Harry - I have never felt so cherished and loved..."
What does a skinny model say? You guessed it: "I felt so loved and beautiful - it's a wonderful feeling..."
See any difference?
There isn't any!
Because I don't see a difference in any woman I shoot. And they ALL turn out gorgeous - because EVERY woman is, can be, gorgeous. geddit??]
BELOW: She is the first beautiful curvy plus-size model to have won America’s Next Top Model contest, Whitney Thompson in an interview with the Huffington Post said: “Yeah, everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, but as plus girls we’ve been ignored for so long that it’s like you know they throw us a cookie and we’re thrilled about it. (…)We are thrilled but we have to keep fighting. We have to celebrate and pat ourselves on the back for what we’ve done, but we have to do more. (…)Comparatively speaking. I mean, five years ago things were not nearly close to where they are today. I think it is definitely changing with people like Tyra Banks who is so outspoken, and me, Crystal Renn– there are a lot of girls out there who are making a difference.”