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Fatshion: Italian Vogue Edition

August 3, 2011

I Don’t Think Plus-Size Models Will Get The Same Work As Straight-Size Girls

This is a recent quote from Vogue Italia editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani. I know you’re thinking “What? This is news? Are there even plus-size models in Italy?” but bear with me for a moment. My mother says I need to feature more INSPIRING stories on this blog, and that’s what I’m about to do. This one’s for you, Mom!

I’ve discovered–thanks to the Huffington Post style section which I am now addicted to–that interestingly, the June cover of Vogue Italia featured 3 plus-sized models and Sozzani had this to say about the issue:

We help [plus-size women] dress fashionably. We say: It’s pointless for you to buy leggings, take this because this will look good on you. We help them choose. We don’t talk about diets because they don’t want to be on a diet, but it’s not a ghetto. Why should these women slim down? Many of the women who have a few extra kilos are especially beautiful and also more feminine.

The cover is really gorgeous and flattering and I’m impressed at how elegantly it’s done.

Gorgeous June Vogue Italia Cover

Gorgeous June Vogue Italia Cover

And there’s more from the shoot where that came from (NSFW [that means NOT SAFE FOR WORK, Mom...there are nude people! Beware!], Belle Vere) which are also really incredible.

So, back to Sozzani. When discussing with New York Fashion the future of plus-sized models in the fashion industry, responded that the accepted norm (do I really have to fill in the blanks here? Just type “models” into google images, and I’m pretty sure even if you’ve been living under a rock for the past few decades that you’ll figure it out…) will continue to reign:

All [who work] in fashion are victims — the media, even myself, even the runways — of the beauty of the moment…

but that her reasons to feature these plus-sized models are to actively counter that mentality:

We were talking about doing, let’s say, a normal person — not only models who are skinny, the normal prototype of beauty of today. It was up in the air for a bit, but now we did it to attract the attention that it doesn’t exist, only one kind of beauty, but that every woman can be beautiful, and especially curvy women can be beautiful and very sexy. If you think today of Elizabeth Taylor or Sophia Loren, they could be in the curvy issue. That shows you how it’s changed, the idea of the body for the woman.

Absolutely fascinating interview that you should definitely check out. Sozanni discusses everything from her petition against pro-anorexia websites (which I’ll do a post solely about in the future) to how important it is “be happy of your body, to decide how you look, to feel sexy and sensual and feminine.” Amazing honesty. There’s also an interview with one of the models featured on the cover which is quite interesting, especially her shock at being featured and questioning of “What was the hold up? Finally.”

Yes FINALLY! This is all incredibly inspiring, especially how proud and motivated these women are to promote positive body image and beauty of all types. It is not presented as a gimmick or a one-time fix, but a step in a progressive, valuable, important and worthwhile direction. Viva Italia (Vogue)!

(Image courtesy of NY Mag and Huffington Post style section, both incredibly addictive and ultra-informative sites)

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. jenmarie permalink
    August 3, 2011 5:05 pm

    These women are absolutely gorgeous!…so much more inspiring (and pleasant) to look at than what we’re usually fed by the fashion industry. Sozzani nailed it when she said that extra pounds can actually be more feminine and beautiful than the alternative. How could it not be?! The fat on us is there for the most beautiful reason of all…to help us create new life.
    I look at the “average” model and wonder who this waif-like image is attractive to…I don’t know any men who like to cuddle with skeletons. Borderline anorexic models just make women feel alienated from something that should be fun and carefree, clothes! Instead the fashion industry has become one more outlet that skews or relationship with our bodies and thus our relationship with food. I love the direction this Vogue issue is going in…I hope it starts to catch on in a serious way!

  2. Creamonina permalink
    August 3, 2011 5:16 pm

    I think “plus size” women look fantastic in leggings.

  3. Creamonina permalink
    August 3, 2011 5:50 pm

    I thought these women were really beautiful. This is a good very small first step, but after reading the interview (with the reference to one other issue cover with an alternative beauty theme) i’m disappointed that the steps have to be SO small. Two issues in their whole history? and they cant have women of color AND fat women on the same issue? I want to expect more. It seems weird to me – if the point is showing alternate forms of beauty in a magazine about traditional forms of beauty, why not actually have women who look all kinds of different?

  4. August 3, 2011 6:20 pm

    I for one am a card carrying member of ‘finally! what was the hold up?’ and let’s have even more diversity please!

    While I agree that “plus size” women look fantastic in leggings I am appreciative of the cloaked acknowledgement that fashion is more than just ornamental expressions of designer creativity on negated rail thin bodies. Fashion should be in continued dialogue with actual real human bodies and should converse about how different things accentuate different features of different types of bodies. While I firmly believe that no one should be told what not to wear I still think that there should be a conversation about what the relationship between clothes and body is and how they interact. I for one know that fashionable hip hugger jeans of my adolescence contributed drastically to bizzarre conceptualizations of my own body image (and this is just the tip of the iceberg). And furthermore, if I want to flaunt my muffin-tops because it makes me feel attractive (which it personally doesn’t but let’s not dismiss the possibility that it does for others) then that is my prerogative and I do not need vogue to shun me in a fashion no-no category. What I’m mostly saying is that it would be nice to see some short girls on the runway so that those runway clothes actually have something to say to me. (side note: I understand the excuse that having a model standard is necessary for practical reasons and I don’t buy that this is still an issue – if you can put someone in a kermit the frog stuffed animal shawl or a straight jacket then you can make different heights, weights and skin tones work (http://www.urlesque.com/2010/07/21/crazy-fashion-runway-trends/))

    So hooray for ‘plus’ and let’s get more of them and more of what is actually normal and not the current ‘normal’, which is really negative – as in negative space i.e. “negative sized models.”

  5. August 3, 2011 8:08 pm

    Why thank you for stopping by! And thanks for leaving a comment, because that allowed me to discover your fantastic blog! I’m loving what I’ve read so far. Don’t mind me while I poke around, k? Cheers!

  6. sexy curmudgeon permalink
    August 3, 2011 8:11 pm

    Yes , I agree with 1 of the above posts. I hate to be a downer but it IS sad- not only that these are the only small steps we’re taking – but that these are considered noteworthy steps at all. And where are they going to get us? Does anyone remember those now cliche Dove ads? What changed? Until fashion magazines stop playing up fat models a “special feature” and actually feature then in normal issues, I might argue that, based on past history, they are actually doing more harm than good.

  7. sexy curmudgeon permalink
    August 3, 2011 8:25 pm

    That being said, I admit I love the word, “fatshion.”

  8. Irena permalink
    August 3, 2011 11:22 pm

    I am still amused that Plus-size models are the same size or smaller than most woman but I can see how referring to models as mini-people wouldnt look good in headlines. I remember when this issue came out and thinking that the photos were beautiful.

  9. Fedora permalink
    August 3, 2011 11:25 pm

    I do not go to restaurants in lingerie enough.

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