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Crystal Renn for ELLE Canada

Continuing our "Big girls don't cry" theme...

Since we featured two posts in the last week about plus-sized models, and since the general consensus (with which we agreed) was that neither editorial really did the models any favors, we thought it would be a good idea to feature an editorial that for once, they got exactly right.

As you may recall, we said this yesterday:

"So why not put them in the correct size or in clothes that flatter them? It's what a photographer and stylist would do with any other model, so why do the bigger models get the tighter, more revealing clothes? You never see plus-sized models in these editorials wearing something classic and tailored or flowing and goddess-y. No, they always look like they're heading out to the road house on a Saturday night, where ladies drinks are half off. In fact, the more we think about it, we can't ever remember seeing a "plus-sized" editorial (and it's not like there have been so many that we have trouble recalling) where we liked the clothes. It's always super-tight, super-short, super-revealing. We get it. "Big is Beautiful." They want to promote the idea that bigger women are sexy. Well you know what? Bigger women are fabulous too. Can't we have a "Big is Fabulous" spread some time soon that doesn't roll around in the old tropes that fat women are sexually ravenous and a little sloppy to boot?"

And lo, our prayers were answered by the fashion gods at Elle Canada, who featured Crystal Renn, a (technically) plus-sized model in a fashion editorial that treated her like every other working model. In other words, it was about the clothes and the styling and not about the fact that she's bigger than the average model.

In fact, we'd go so far as to say that most people who didn't know her wouldn't even notice the fact that she's not size 2, at least not right away. This is what the beauty industry needs to do more often, not these stunt shoots that have no theme to them other than "Look at the fat girls!" The clothes are gorgeous; the styling is gorgeous; and Crystal is gorgeous. Her size has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the editorial.

Some of you are inevitably going to point out that as "plus-sized" models go, she's on the distinctly smaller end of the scale, but it's all about the baby steps, kittens. We say, Bravo, Elle Canada. Bravo.

Brose Fall 2009 Collection

Robert Rodriguez Fall 2009 Collection

Hervé Léger by Max Azria Resort 2010 Collection
Model: Anna B.

Naeem Khan Fall 2009 Collection
Model: Svetlana Shevchenko

Hermès Fall 2009 Collection
Model: Karlie Kloss

Theia Fall 2009 Collection

BCBG Max Azria Spring 2009 Collection
Model: Kamila Filipcikova

Models: Crystal Renn, Matthieu, Phillipe B.
Hair: Paco Puertas
Makeup: Genevieve Lenneville
Stylist: Veronique Delisle


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She is the very definition of fabulous.

But, damn... I hate tit-bows.

Oh my goodness this girl is goregous! I mean this girl looks like what the real average woman should look like. She actually fills out the clothes in a beautiful way.

Now we're talking. No - she's not exactly plus-sized...but she does look normal. What a great way to see clothes!

I actually love the fact that she's on the smaller end of the plus sized spectrum. What fashion really needs is to recognize that women come in a whole lot of different sized, not just "model" and "plus-sized." Crystal Renn is obviously unfairly beautiful and extremely well proportioned (and if you saw her on the street you'd probably think she's rather slender), but this spread still does a better job than most of showing that high fashion can work on average sized bodies.

Holy crap! After a little google I found a Time article about her. She is the highest paid "plus size" model!!,8599,1931990,00.html

Lovely little pic of her walking down the runway with Jean Paul Gaultier.

she's STUNNING. these pictures are gorgeous. i love the styling, love how she wears the clothes, love how her legs look like LEGS and not knobby kneed toothpicks.

i heartily approve!

Now if you were to put her in jeans that were too small, and midriff-baring shirts, she too could look like a fat-floozy.

but thank goodness, they put her in pretty clothes that flatter her body and make her look good (no, make that GREAT!)

Now logically, wouldn't this seem to be a formula for selling more clothes?

She looks so much better in the clothes that the models, particularly that black Hermes gown. On the model, it's just fabric, on her, it's a GOWN!

Now THAT is how to sell clothes. I don't need to see how they look on a stick figure or with someone poured into them. Her curves fill out the fabric, the lines are gorgeous....LOVE IT. Way to to Elle Canada!

Now THIS is how to photograph plus sized models!

She looks thin to me, but I see what you're saying that she's not size 0. A lot of hollywood stars do fashion shoots and fashion covers. Most of them are not model skinny, and look great in clothes. Why can't they do the same with models?

Well Elle Canada did, and the girl looks amazing.

To me she looks the perfect weight. Can't see bones, but looks slender. Genetically gifted, but I'd say this is the ideal more than anorexic skinny. And most straight guys I talk to hate super skinny girls.

What size IS she? 6? 8?

You know, most women will see this and they can see what clothes look like on "Real" women, instead of what we fantasize looking like in them.

I think where you first notice she's not a size 2 is in the size of her arms. That's always something that freaks me out when I see normal fashion models... the arms as stick thin. Her arms elongate in a natural way and yeah, I'd definitely kill to have her "plus size" body with its amazing proportions. But she also has a well structured face that's very symmetrical. In other words, she's "model gorgeous" xD
I love the shot of her on the couch with her exposed hip. Absolutely feminine and beautiful. Curve power baby! :D :D

Hey, Crystal McHottie! Come over to my place! Please?


Sigh. It was worth a try.

i need to find this and buy it immediately to support Elle Canada's perspective. BRAVO!

this spread is lush and excellently composed. LOVE the 60s theme (so Mad Men) and the black and white. Renn is stunning.

I said "OH MY GOD" out loud when I saw that picture of her in the Hervé Léger by Max Azria peach dress. Amazing, and she looks so hot in it, and does it so much more justice than the runway model.

The Hervé Léger by Max Azria "bandage dress" looks good on everyone who wears the proper size.

Case in point-- Ne Ne from the Real Housewives of Atlanta totally rocked it out.

Come to think of it, those Real Housewives shows end up with some interesting fashion editorials about plus sizes and older women.

She by Sheree aside, of course.

Finally somebody got it right for us

LOVE HER in Naeem Khan. Fabulous editorial!

Beautiful! Clothes that fit on a fabulous woman and not an out-of-place backroll in sight.


Put these photos beside many (very beautiful) shoots using the usual size models and you can see why many men (and women) don't find models sexy.

Beautiful! She is gorgeous, made even more so by the clothes, lighting, hair, etc. See a "normal" "real" woman can sell clothes too!

She could be any size, because her proportions are so perfect, she looks amazing!

These are fabulous, thank you for posting them! She looks gorgeous, and I can't imagine anyone looking at these photos and arguing that only super skinny models can do fashion. I wold love to see more of this!

Stunning! I really hope we see more of this in the near future. It's so important to showcase women of all healthy sizes being beautiful but to not have the plus-size models as a one time gimmick.

This is wonderful! It's so nice to look at an editorial and think, 'damn, that girl needs a CHEESEBURGER.' Crystal just looks like a beautiful, healthy-sized girl.

However, I wish they'd used more color in the shoot; the colors of these clothes are so fabulous that the washed-out, vintage feel kind of detracted.

I love almost all of these, except the one where some sort of funky perspective thing makes her look like a midget and the dorm-room bead curtain thing. Those always make my eye twitch.

You nailed it again, boys. This is exactly what I was hoping for. The photography and clothing are stunning and the woman wearing them is even more so. My only tiny negative comment would be that I wish we weren't calling her "plus size". She looks like she is around size 8, which seems cruel to call "plus size" since for many women that isn't even overweight.

BTW, Plumcake of Manolo for the Big Girl has an interesting take on the plus-size model thing here:


Btw, do you think that if I put the b&w shot of the Hermes halter dress up on my desktop, people would think it was all about the dress or the composition, rather than the fact that the guy's hand/wrist/forearm totally slays me?

What can I say? Pecs have never been my thing.

She's the best model - of any size - that I've seen in a long time. She's absolutely fierce. And looks great in clothes. And probably looks even better without clothes, unlike many of the stick thin models who without the couture probably look like they just walked out of Dachau.

She looks better than the other models in most of these. Because she has hips! They definitely got it right on this one.

Lordy, she's fab and she is working it.

Crystal is freaking gorgeous. I can't imagine anyone not finding her unbelievably sexy. You just want to touch her lushness.

I love Crystal Renn... so stunning and talented.

But you should keep in mind, the woman looks amazing both dressed in gorgeous clothes and with her "plus-sized" stomach showing. Look at this bathing suit spread she did in Glamour:

Also, what was great about that spread, is that Glamour never once made note of the fact that they were using a plus-sized model. That's how to break into people's consciousness, not by screaming "look at these fat girls".


She looks damned fierce and you guys were right about the clothes fitting well- she doesn't look plus sized, she looks FABULOUS.

Gorgeous! She's working it instead of just being a hanger. I think I have a new style icon alongside Joan/Christina Hendricks.

This is GORGEOUS. Actually, I like that she's neither tiny or plus sized. She looks like a real woman. I know this might be anti-woman of me to say, but I think this is the kind of model that should be everywhere: she actually looks like us, but much more gorgeous. Most of us are neither size 24 or size 2. It's actually nice to show a healthy woman in between who is also earth shatteringly beautiful. Amazing editorial.

Wow! She is SLAMMIN'! That's how you make clothes look good. Full props to Elle Canada.

Depending on the article you read, she wears anywhere from a size 12 to a 16. Regardless, those are gorgeous and flattering clothes and it's nice to see some variety in body shape without sacrificing style and class.


Whenever I see the skinny models, rarely do I want to be them, I just want the clothes. Ms. Renn on the other hand? I want to be her.


I would much rather see this girl (and others like her) in magazines. She looks beautiful and HEALTHY.

This woman looks so much better than the walking hangers we normally see. Her size should be the norm...not plus...ugh!

I applaud Elle Canada. 100%

Also, the photos that MM linked of Crystal in retro bathing suits has solidified my decision to bring only two piece bathing suits on my upcoming vacation. Now's the time.

I'll have what she's having.

Meaning the clothes AND the man candy.

My GOD that woman is lush...
Just fabulous.

The shoot is some pretty, pretty eye candy. Love the whole mid 60's glam look.

Gorgeous spread, absolutely stunning.

I will say that, depending on how tall she is, she could be a size 14. I'm six feet tall, and a size 14/16, and I probably look about the same weight as her, maybe a little heavier. This is just in answer to others saying she is only an eight or a ten. Tall girls can spread the weight around a little bit more!

Anyway, thanks for the pretty today, TLo!

I'm a healthy size 10 - 5'7" and 145 lbs - could be just the gorgeous high-end tailored clothes, but she looks thinner than I do - especially in the arms and hips.

As has been said by others - it's nice to see a beautiful, healthy woman grace a major magazine - not just emaciated waifs

I love all the shots of her by herself but its like they found the world's smallest male models to pair her with making her look massive. She's beautiful though and I wish more models looked like her.


She's the top of the line version of the so-called "Average Woman." Sexy, fabulous, and healthy-looking: this is what we should aspire to, even if we never have her perfect proportions or gorgeous face.

Gorgeous editorial, boys. Way to go, Elle Canada! Somebody finally got it right.

FAB- ulous.

And not to be pushing our luck, but now what sizes are the clothes are available (to the public) in?

Somehow I hit post before I was done! Anyway...she brings these clothes to life better than any skinny model I can think of. It's so nice to see what clothes actually look like on a "normal" body, as opposed to hanging off of the model. I wish more magazines would do this and do it in the exact manner Elle Canada has done. I can't stand the self-congratulating of other magazines when they feature plus-sized girls. Now, I have to find the closest bookstore and buy this immediately.

FlamingoNW on 1/6/10 at 1:34 PM ask....What size IS she? 6? 8?

According to Time magazine she is 5 feet-9 inches tall and weighs 165 pounds. In expensive designer RTW she would be a size 10. In cheaper mass market clothes she would be a size 12From the pictures she appears to me to bigger from the waist up due to broad shoulders so I would say she is a 10 waist down and a 12 waist up.


Yes, yes, plus sized model vs "normal" women-- Why is it the only thing we seem to notice is that models are thinner than the average woman? How come we never complain that models are also taller, more beautiful, with perfect hair and skin and NEVER a hint of cellulite? How come the thin-ness is the only thing we feel that magazines are throwing in our faces, the only thing we're supposed to strive for?

more of this, please, fashion world. well-dressed, well-styled women in a range of sizes, pretty please.

She wears these clothes so well! Especially the Naeem Khan outfit - it looks much better on her than on the model.

She's spectacular, as is the art director for this shoot!

raisin mountaineer

Very Mad Men. Nice. anything that gets pretty girls who are not skinny-skinny into the magazines is going to be healthier for all of us. I speak as a 6'1" 150-pounder who feels "fat" on a regular basis, comparing myself to those 6' 120 pounders-- And it's not a dysmorphia on my part-- it's being told "here is pretty, here's what you should aspire to" and being so close-- and never ever can I get there.

Oops, sorry, didn't mean to make it all about me. But this girl, I want to look like her, and I won't ever, but she doesn't make me feel bad about it.


Not only did they do her justice, but they also did retro justice. Looking at those pictures I feel like a little kid looking through my mom's 1960's magazines.


Correct as could be, boys!

Just a little tip to the fashion mags as well, when I see a woman who has proportions similar to mine looking BEYOND FABULOUS in something, I am much more likely to buy what she is wearing.

I hope Crystal is the first in a long line of well paid "Plus size" models. I don't buy fashion mags because of the super thin models and outrageous Photoshopping, but I will be buying this one.

I want to point out how good she looks in the Legere bandage dress; there's a misconception that anyone over size zero shouldn't wear form-fitting clothing, but that shot proves the contrary. With proper underthings and good posture (a vanishing quality, I know, or at least out of style at the moment) garments in the right size that follow the lines of the body are infinitly more flattering for larger women than billowing yards of furbellows.

And I think Ms. Renn does much more for the Hermes frock than the runway model.

Also: the guineafowl false eyelashes: quelle '60s!

The photo of her in the Vera Wang dress where you realize that she's not actually wearing it is HOT AS SHIT. (And I'm a straight woman.)

Gorgeous. I loved the one of her on the chaise.

This editorial made the clothes look realistic. If I were to try on those clothes I would look like the model for once.

She is very small for a plus sized model but she looks fantastic. I love it! This is the image that we need to be promoting. I think she and I have similar body types - NORMAL!

I agree with the post about proportions. If you are lucky enough to have "good" proportions, you don't necessarily looks "fat" or big except when standing next to a tiny person.

But when most "misses" clothes stop at a 14, then a woman of more regular proportions but a large frame cannot find clothes.

Beautiful, just beautiful. Some of the photos brought to mind Jean Shrimpton...they had a very early 1960's vibe.

Wow. I'm a straight girl, but I think I just developed a crush. And an aspiration, thinking that at the end of the very-needed diet road I could look like that. Just... wow.


Anonymous said...
"How come we never complain that models are also taller, more beautiful, with perfect hair and skin and NEVER a hint of cellulite? How come the thin-ness is the only thing we feel that magazines are throwing in our faces, the only thing we're supposed to strive for?"

At least in part because we believe changing our weight is more achievable than changing our skin or height.

Oooh, I am absolutely thrilled to death that you posted these! I mentioned it in the comments on the other post because I truly thought that it was an exquisite editorial highlighting how to do a "plus size" editorial right.

Your assessment of the editorial is just perfect "it was about the clothes and the styling and not about the fact that she's bigger than the average model." Yes.

Thanks for posting this!

PS - The head shot with the butterflies is divine.

PPS - I still can't get over how lovely the Herve Leger dress looks. Putting models in clothing that fits them does wonders, no? :D

MEOW!! She is WEARING the Herve Leger. Nice to see it on a real woman.

You boys just gave me a whole lot of HAPPY. Thank you!!! And thank you, Elle Canada!


MUCH better.

Although I still have one question. How can a woman with *any* meat on her bones have such a sculpted face?

I gain anything at all and it goes straight to my ass and my chin. Sigh.

But maybe that has more to do with not being 25!

She can sell anything she wears!
SHE is amazing!

THIS is how you sell clothes to the average woman.

Now THIS...THIS I love!

Now THIS is brilliant and awesome, especially since Elle Canada decided to feature the layout in their magazine so matter-of-factly, rather than as a "very special episode of Elle".

Thank you boys for bringing this to our attention, as well as juxtapositioning it to the previous two photo shoots. And thank you Elle Canada!

That pic of her in that Hermes dress made me want that dress, and on the runway I think it looks like hell.
I love her, love the spread, absolutely divine!

I agree with formerlyAnon-- no one ever went up to a short woman and told her that if she wasn't so lazy and unmotivated she could be 6' tall.

It's very refreshing to see an editorial layout where the models are not sticks with clothes. Beautiful.
I WANT WANT WANT that Brose feather dress. Right now.

Wow! That is pretty. My favs are the peach dress, the black & white and the boudoir shot. Is she a size 20? No, but I see a thigh that has meat on it and I see a slight tummy roll on the peach dress. I think the thing that makes me happy is it isn't that hard, brassy in your face look. I like to rock a red lip as much as the next gal, but sometimes soft and pretty is a welcome change.

Wow I really love this editorial, thanks for sharing!

It's a great editorial with a great model, but I wonder if, in the photo on the couch where she's not actually wearing the dress, that was solely by choice or if they couldn't manage to get the dress to fit her, seam-wrangling aside.

(Would be interesting to see pre-touched-up photos, but that's always the case....)

Yes! This is how a beautiful woman of a certain size should be portrayed--clothes that fit and flatter. BTW, anyone know if they airbrush out cellulite on all models, tiny or bigger?? I'm a size 10, not toned, and have cellulite galore. Can't believe that NO model has any...

Although I still have one question. How can a woman with *any* meat on her bones have such a sculpted face/

Makeup and lightening. Google drag queen makeup or go to Sam Fine's website where he has an exaggerated pic of Mo'Nique that demonstrates how to contour with makeup.

Oh la..that is how you wear a Hervé Léger body con dress, not like that unfortunate blonde in the V spread. Bravo, she is definitely a superb model, regardless of size.

Anon @ 3:19 said:

"MEOW!! She is WEARING the Herve Leger."

Nay honey, she is OWNING that Herve Leger! Even better than wearing it, in my ever-humble opinion.


Oh she is gorgeous. I keep meaning to pick up her book.

And talk about getting it right for once! Kudos to Elle Canada.

goodness, how refreshing! it feels so different to see such a beautiful woman modeling such beautiful clothes! I am 15, and I am tall and blond, and have a very old-fasioned, classic face, and I play ice hockey, so i have muscles. so many people where i live (New York City)and where i go to school (it's a private one) are bulimic and anorexic. I am not so very skinny. I feel that there is so much pressure on me to be skinny. I just want to be healthy. it is so hard to find a balence beetween so skinny and so fat, and it is wonderful, becasue i feel this woman has maybe, perhaps, found this balence.

thank you, tom and lorenzo, for being so funny, so smart, so to-the-point!

oh, and I am named Anna.

I just read her book. It was quite interesting. The story of how she was "discovered and foced to lose 70 punds at 16 was really amazing. I believe that she said that when she first started (eating again) modeling "plus-size" she was a 16 (see the pic of her in the Gaultier runway show in the peach gown) but that her weight settled down to around an 8/10 on top and a 10/12 on bottom usually.

Her face is unreal- just otherworldly gorgeous. She's lovely from head to toe.

Anna @ 4:28 PM

Keep doing what you are doing and don't worry about the skinny girls. You are 15 years old and right now, you are building the foundation for the rest of your life. Eat good food, exercise and get good sleep. Don't worry about your weight.

Healthy girls with muscles don't have to worry about osteoporosis or weird digestive ailments later in life.

Life is a marathon, not a sprint. So you might not be a ravishing beauty right now, but you've got many, many years to develop into one.

I got this magazine a couple months ago in the mail and I didn't really know she was even plus sized at all. I mean, I thought she looked a bit fleshier than most, but they didn't really make a big deal of it at all, plus she actually looks fab.

"In other words, it was about the clothes and the styling and not about the fact that she's bigger than the average model."

Spot on, as always. Fashion magazines could use some more subtlety in regards to the plus-size "debate" as well as the photoshopping issue

Love this spread, love your blog, love the posts here!

She looks gorgeous! Thank you for this post, guys!


Damn, she looks way better than the runway models depicted in the same clothes. Beautiful woman and an excellent model. She really brings the clothing to life.

I'm obsessed. can't stop looking at these stunning pictures.

My GOD she's fabulous. I think I'm in love...

Also, is that another ball/chain purse I see? Heart!

she's gorgeous and this spread is fabulous!

she doesn't look "plus size" - helps that the clothes fit and beautiful.

I love it! I don't see why she can't be in any magazine and not named "PLUS"

I'm sure she's thin in real life. just not a skeleton like the other models these days.

I feel old and tired. It is just insulting my intelligence calling t hese women plus and waiting for us to applaude their "open minds."

Bitch please!

PS: I love the DL mentality shining through the cracks.

She is FABULOUS!! Kudos to ELLE magazine.

She's gorgeous! Awesome spread. THIS should be the norm - a healthy woman looking more stunning in those clothes than the sticks on the runway. Va-va-VOOM!

Well done!

I just finished the Time interview someone else posted and when she was a traditional model with an eating disorder, she was 95 lbs. That's a BMI of 14. Less than 18.5 is underweight. At her current weight of 165lbs., her BMI is 24.4, which falls in the "normal" category. Not that BMI is flawless, but it's still shocking that a woman at a healthy weight is considered quite the novelty in the fashion world.

WOW! I looked through the spread before I read and didn't even realize that she was plus-sized. Beautiful. THAT'S how you do a plus sized editorial...

Anonymous said...

I feel old and tired. It is just insulting my intelligence calling t hese women plus and waiting for us to applaude their "open minds."

Bitch please!

PS: I love the DL mentality shining through the cracks

How is it insulting your intelligence? She IS a plus-sized model. Plus sized models and plus-sized clothes are two different things. Generally, plus sized models start around a size 8, which she clearly is at the very least.

And what's a "DL mentality?"

This is why I love Crystal Renn.

What I am noticing the most is how the clothes just hang on the runway models. They do nothing for the models and in fact on some of them the clothes look too big. I love how they actually FIT Crystal and not like dress up in mommy's closet.

Oh, m'ijitos, I'm so glad you posted this! Did you already have this in the works? Am I psychic?

Anyway, onto my thoughts, one of the reasons I love this spread is that, first and foremost, it's beautiful and the clothes look beautiful. There's story and atmosphere, and, bonus, it's a style and era that really appeals to me.

The reason I especially love it is that Crystal doesn't look "as good as" most 0-2 models. She looks better. She shows just how much bullshit it is when professionals in the fashion industry claim that models have to be painfully thin.

The only crit I have about the clothes are the shoes toward the bottom with the thin stilettos... with her thicker calves, they look even more precarious/ridiculous. I'm not sure if my eyes are playing tricks on me, but I think the shoes in the first pic have a slightly thicker heel, and I don't get the same impression from those, so it could possibly be an easy fix. Or it might be the coverage from that thick strap rather than the heel per se, since the stiletto booties come off better than the pumps? Or maybe it has nothing to do with how they look on her feet, and I just like those better??? I AM SO CONFUSED.

I do like the pre-gaming/getting ready for a night out shots more than the dancefloor pics overall, though.

It's interesting that they gave the shoot a '60s, Mad Men vibe, going back to when curvy women were celebrated.

Here's the healthy weight model everyone has been talking about. She's basically fairly thin, but she has thighs and hips.

Of course, many thin women and overweight women (I'm not talking obese) are healthy, too. A woman with a certain body type who eats healthy and exercises regularly can be pretty thin. And I've seen some overweight women in exercise classes who are fitter than I am.

Vera said...

Crystal doesn't look "as good as" most 0-2 models. She looks better. She shows just how much bullshit it is when professionals in the fashion industry claim that models have to be painfully thin.

1/6/10 6:51 PM

Not to say I disagree with your opinion, but it doesn't prove much of anything that the top/highest paid plus model is a better model than the majority of standard models.

Head-to-head comparisons in would seem pretty difficult; since it seems plus and standard models tend to have pretty different careers in terms of the work they get to do and the way they're directed to sell clothes, that will impact their skillset/training.

Although I do think it's possible that plus models generally have more attractive faces. If you're going to pick a model for being like a coathanger, her face is a secondary consideration, whereas if you're selling plus-sized clothes to people you may have more leeway to pick women with more attractive faces (the pool should be larger over a much wider range of body shapes). Of course the last time I opined that runway models didn't have attractive faces, ppl called me crazy, but oh well.

(Maybe it's just the gross makeup/styling they always get put in?)

yeah!!! I'm so glad you posted this. Forget that she's supposed to be plus sized. This is a slammin photo shoot and pushes all the right buttons. She's beautiful. The styling is gorgeous and the clothes look wonderful.
Her curves are visible and she's soft and sexy. I love the 60's styling.

Crystal proves a very good point. She's confident and comfortable and that is what is important no matter what your shape or size.

Whoever said she owns the clothes; that's so true and to me that is fashion and style. People notice you and not just your clothing. Marilyn reportedly once said to a friend that she could turn "it" on and off. This is Crystal definitely "on".

Thank GOD!
Elle Canada showed everyone up! The clothes, the pic's, the MODEL are all gorgeous!!

BTW, calling this girl "average" is so wrong! She is a bombshell! VA-VA-VA-VOOM!

I see this as a call for more senuous sexy models in looks that flatter them and show the clothes off well.

This is more like it. She looks beautiful.

That's the point though, kali. Not that every plus model looks better than every standard model or anything, but simply that some of them can and do.

Wow, Crystal looks fabulous here. Love it!

Oh, LOOK !!

A healthy model !!!


No model should be allowed to be any size smaller then her. She is so beautiful and realistic-sized!!!

she looks better in every single outfit than the runway model. i love to see her hip curve and the little curve to her belly in the picture on the couch.

also, i absolutely LOVE the picture of her in the hervé léger dress. that's the kind of sexy i prefer to see.

i think one of the things that makes her so sexy is that she's clearly comfortable with her body. no matter what size she is, that's something to which all women should aspire.

Love, love, love it!

Thank you so much for sharing this, you made my day. No, my week!

Epic Beauty.

Absolutely *gorgeous*!

And that's what it should really be about - a beautiful woman in interesting, well-styled, and well-fitting clothes. Her size has nothing to do with it!

In a few of those pictures, she seemed like she was channeling Audrey Hepburn with the sixties-era hair and makeup, too!

now this is really a beautiful editorial. the clothes are gorgeous and the styling is fabulous! amazing job.

this is one of the best editorials i have ever seen.

the picture with the veil and the pink bow shoes is perfect. there is nothing wrong with that picture.

but god, i just loved them all. it's great that she's plusish-sized and all, but honestly, it's a fact that she's an incredible model and that's why she should continue to get work (and make more awesome photos for my desktop).

This is what I'm talking about! It's all about the clothes and the styling and not the fact she's bigger than usual.

Her body type reminds me of old Hollywood where the actress and models weren't very overweight but just meaty enough and more relatable to the average woman.

And I agree that if the fashion magazine industry is really serious about changing the rules regarding model sizes, they have to take small steps. Otherwise the focus is all about the model, when IMO it should be about the clothes, the styling and the story.

It should be about her modeling rather than her size.

side note: I hate the butterfly shot. It looks like it belongs on a cd cover in the half-off bin.

Thanks for this TLO. Stunning! Stylish, classy, dramatic, and the well-taken fotographs. Model and clothes are hot!
Really enjoyed this.

"No model should be allowed to be any size smaller then her."

Wow, I am so glad you're not in charge! Allowed to be? What, are they going to force feed them? Or force them to have boob jobs if they are flat-chested?

Crystal is a FABULOUS model! What a woman!

But this editorial isn't plus sized. It's mid-sized. Calling her plus sized strikes me as beyond odd. I know, I know, in the world of modeling she's plus sized. But on planet Earth she's average.

Why not call her a mid-size model?

Crystal Renn looks fabulous, but a thought has been plaguing me recently...

Why are they pairing a plus-sized female model with decidedly un-plus men? Why is it that all female models big or small just seem to be hanging around the same ol' male models? Don't they make male models in pluses either?

And why have I never heard issues about 'larger' men feeling ostracised and underrepresented?

Yow! A real human woman, a real beautiful human woman, rather than a starved tween in mommy's clothes.

In addition to the Mad Men styling, Crystal appears to be the size of models in the '60s, pre Twiggy. And there were some damn beautiful women then.

Female legs and arms, instead of broom sticks, a bosom that's bigger than her clavicle (unlike runway models.)

Hangers have more curves than runway models, more like Crystal, please, please.

I don't know, maybe because I watched Nine today but I was humming "Be Italian" while looking through these pictures. That's how models used to look before...I don't know who Twiggy, I guess? Love, love, love the spread.

It is absolutely terrifying that she's considered "plus-sized".

Good lord, the things we do to women...

I love how the clothes look better on her than on the catwalk models.

She is so beautiful and so fierce!!!

Okay so I guess moving to size 4 is considered plus, but...Love it! Little waist and great curves! All I have to say is more, more, MORE!


Bravo to Elle Canada for featuring Crystal Renn!

I hope Project Runway does a challenge with plus-size models. No, not non-models they pull of the street, real "plus-size" models. They should be able to design for someone over size 2.

Ohhhh, that is so beautiful. Thanks, gods of fashion.

And may it catch on everywhere!

They dressed her with as much care and attention to detail as they would a thinner model. Her hair and make up were also lovely. A real editorial photo shoot, unlike the "plus size glamor trailer park" shoots of the other magazines.

This is what all women deserve; to be viewed the same way no matter what size they are.

OMG! I'm in love! She's perfect!

God, can we please retire the phrase "real woman"?

Crystal is gorgeous, luminous, sexy, hot, and luscious, but she and her body type are no more real than any other woman.

It's a bit disappointing how quickly everyone rushes to call her a real woman. I celebrate that Elle Canada, unlike V, used a model who is outside they typical bodybox with no note of her size and no self-congratulatory fanfare (I'm looking at you, V), but does that mean we have to abandon the idea that all sizes can be beautiful? That only women who have large hips and breasts are real?

Additionally, Crystal looks so fabulous because they've chosen clothes that not only flatter her curves, but play them up. Of course a skinny girl couldn't pull these clothes off as well. But there are fashions that Crystal wouldn't look so great in either. Different body types need different approaches. So it's not that clothes look better on Crystal, it's that she's a fantastic model and she's been beautifully styled in fantastic clothes.

I celebrate what Elle Canada is doing here. However, I'm a bit shocked at some of the comments that suggest that one body type (Crystal's) is far more desirable than another. I hope we can start to see the beauty in all body types, so that each woman can love and dress her body in a way that makes her happy.

Elle Canada has made a step forward, now how about the rest of us?

I respectfully disagree--I think most would notice that she's not a "typical model." She looks beautiful, healthy and, most important, like a WOMAN. Not like an Ethiopian refugee or walking mummified corpse from the peat bog.

Also, she has breasts. Great job, Elle Canada!

What's her BMI? That model is considerably thinner than I am, and I have a BMI of 21 (I'm at the "ideal" weight for my height, exactly in the middle of the "normal" weight range).

So, she's "plus" sized? Her BMI appears to be uh, 20, maybe? 19? She's borderline underweight, not plus-sized -- unless those pics are photoshopped to death.
Yes, she's beautiful, yes the clothes are pretty, but this shoot isn't particularly pro-normal woman.

Am I wrong? TLo, set me straight. Thrill me with the news that she has a BMI of 25 or 26, and I will celebrate this shoot along with you.


Plus-size models start at size 6. This has been mentioned over and over again.

"She's borderline underweight"


To astelphelba (1/7/10 2:55 AM), who said: Why are they pairing a plus-sized female model with decidedly un-plus men? Why is it that all female models big or small just seem to be hanging around the same ol' male models? Don't they make male models in pluses either?

Because there are vastly different standards for men and women. Correct me if I'm wrong, but male models are meant to be muscular and well-toned, not bone-thin. I'm sure that they DON'T have a category for plus-sized male models. It's hard to imagine, honestly.

Also, I'd like to add to the adulation. I loved this spread. I think that it might be the first time I've ever looked at a fashion spread and thought that I could actually pull off some of those clothes. She's fierce as hell and gorgeous. This is what models should be, IMO. Let the starving models eat, and maybe they could be as beautiful and fabulous as Crystal.

I can guarantee that if she'd been paired with plus-sized male models everybody would have complained. "What? A plus-sized woman can't be shown with a hot man?"

Also, can people PLEASE stop obsessing over what size she is or isn't??

It doesn't matter to me. What matters to me is that (a) I can't see her bones, (b) her arms and legs are not sticks, and (c) she has boobs.

I'm not going to say that this makes her any more of a "real" woman than the size 0 models, because I agree with a previous commenter that that phraseology demeans the size 0 models (and naturally thin women) unnecessarily. However, to me, she looks like someone who hasn't had to resort to an eating disorder to maintain an unrealistic weight. I don't spend my time being horrified by her thinness and actually spend my time looking at the clothes. She looks healthy. This seems to be to be a win-win situation.

She looks like a cross between Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren. Fabulous.

I agree models should be prettier than the norm, that's how you make us want to look at the ads, sell clothes. And I agree they shouldn't be grossly overweight, they should project health and stamina and radiance. That's what Crystal has here. I have no idea how anyone can look at these ads and think the paper doll versions are better. She rocks all those dresses much harder than the comparative models.

And it is the VERY first time I've looked at the actual clothes in the fashion spreads and thought, "I wonder if I would look good in that..." I've always taken it for granted I absolutely would not because I'm not a popsicle stick. Crystal's opening up new markets and isn't that good?

Way to go Elle.

scott said: It is absolutely terrifying that she's considered "plus-sized".

Good lord, the things we do to women...

I get what you're saying, because the pressure can be tremendous. But we don't have to let the fashion industry do anything to us. We can choose to ignore all the bullshit they try to feed us.

Crystal is amazing. It's not even that she's not stick thin, because, as two anonymi have pointed out, beauty comes is all shapes and sizes. There is no mandate on what a "real" woman is. What I love is that she looks like a grown, sophisticated, young woman, not a 14 year old. And I want that BCBG Max Azria dress.

>>I can guarantee that if she'd been paired with plus-sized male models everybody would have complained. "What? A plus-sized woman can't be shown with a hot man?"

That pre-supposes that 'plus size' male models can't be hot. Crystal is 'plus sized' and she's the standard defnition of 'hot,' one would think.

The only thing that would be offensive is if the men were not model-ey looking, whether plus size or not. this s a fsahion spread ,they are models, and crystal gets to be with models too :)

She just looks like a thin woman with a booty to me. Not as thin as most models, but I doubt she wears plus-size clothes, especially not on top.

She's very beautiful, and that shot with the butterflies is just amazing. But damn. I'd kill to be her size right now.

I think her BMI is probably very close to the norm in the industry. Yes, she's pretty, yes, she's not chockingly thin (yay), but this photoshoot isn't very unusual or progressive.

Anonymous 10:58

Thank you thank you thank you. My blood pressure was going up reading these posts.

But then you wrote this:
"God, can we please retire the phrase "real woman"? Crystal is gorgeous ... but she and her body type are no more real than any other woman."

and this:
"Additionally, Crystal looks so fabulous because they've chosen clothes that not only flatter her curves, but play them up."

And now I feel much better.

As you said so well, replacing one narrow standard of beauty (super skinny!) with another (curvy and hourglass with perfect proportions) is not progress. It's just another form of bigotry. And while I realize that anorexia and bulimia are real problems, I also remember exactly what it felt like to be a skinny, curve-less girl the last time this look was the only acceptable one. In a word: miserable.

What I'd like to see, and what I think this pictorial achieved with brilliant results, is a fashion industry that celebrates a variety of female beauty. Pale can be beautiful. Dark can be beautiful. Long and lithe can be beautiful. Hourglass curvy can be beautiful.

What makes this shoot so successful is that the stylist mostly chose clothes the require curves to work. See especially the Naeem Khan. That dress is unlikely to flatter most straighter figures, and it is poorly fitted to the model in the picture. But there are other styles that would not flatter Crystal Renn and look best on leaner women.

Ideally, the fashion industry will learn to put out a variety of shapes and colors to flatter the variety of shapes and colors we women come in, so that no one ever has to say "I can't wear anything this season."

Truly, we should all be mindful that saying "All real women look like this" is never open-minded or enlightened regardless of what "this" means at that time.

Wow, she looks just stunning! So glad to see these pics. I just wonder why they consider her plus size. At 5' 9" and 156 pounds, that would probably put her at a size 12 or 14. I'm just blown away by the fact that she weighed less than 100 pounds in her early modeling days when she barely ate anything. Ugh.

Victoria, 5' 9" and 156 pounds is a BMI of 23.

Jessica and Anon 10:58, THANK YOU. I completely agree.

But at the risk of making a bunch of life-long enemies, I'd like to go one step further: I really don't understand how people can damn skinny models for being unhealthy, but praise overweight models (when being overweight is equally unhealthy).

NOT that Crystal Renn is overweight. I agree with everyone else that she looks fabulous. But I think the moral of the story for me is that women of a healthy weight (whether it's thin but not anorexic [See the article about Lara Stone in Jan Vogue], or curvy but not fat [This shoot]) just look better. Assuming they're well-styled of course.

Anonymous said...
Victoria, 5' 9" and 156 pounds is a BMI of 23.

1/7/10 2:35 PM

NO. NO. NO - I SO disagree.
ANd yes I know that some people use just those two factors - but that is not a 100% accurate "scale"

FOR EXAMPLE - is a 5'4" woman considered obese (or just fat) at 157 lbs?

Because back when I was somewhere around my mid 20's I went to one of the most famous hospital/clinics in the country. I think I was stuck around 190 lbs. (but I don;t recall for sute). Before I was put on a 800 calorie diet - they weighed me underwater and determined that my IDEAL body weight was 157-163 lbs.
IDEAL! I have a large firm frame and had very strong firm legs/thighs (from many hours of biking and other sports and exercise).

Anedotally again, I have a cousin who was a stick growing up - she was so thin she looked sickly and you could see her veins. She used to eat anything she wanted - and much more than I. When she became adult she gained a bunch of weight - but still likely weighed less that I did but - she still had no muscles/muscle tone, her weight gain was mostly fat. So guess which one of us would have had the higher percent of fat?

It is not automatic

I agree that many models are overly thin and bony. But must we slam thin women to make ourselves feel better? It is too bad that we can't just accept that beauty comes in different sizes, shapes, colors, ages, etc.

Yeah, we're all a little bitter about how fashion defines beauty, but that is not the fault of thin women. Why does it always have to be about criticizing women's bodies (often in demeaning terms) and making women (and girls) feel bad about the way they look, whether "too fat" or "too thin"?

Anon 10:58--

THANK YOU THANK YOU for that post.

I was also becoming increasingly annoyed about people praising Crystal for being "realistic-sized" or a "real human woman." This only dehumanizes women that are naturally thin. ALL women are "real women." Don't get me wrong - Crystal is GORGEOUS, especially in the Hervé Léger dress. But what we need is to celebrate all body types instead of striving for an ideal - whether it be skinny or plus-sized. It's so aggravating to hear people derogate skinny models as anorexics/bulimics. Eating disorders are SERIOUS, dreadful illnesses. To use the terms anorexic and bulimic so lightly is offensive to those of us who have been through the turmoil.

The point is to strive for health, not any particular body type.

I love this quote from the Already Pretty blog:

"Real women have curves, real women are curve-free, real women look like Jessica Rabbit and like Olive Oyl, real women carry their weight up high and down low, real women wish they could carry more weight, real women have tiny waists and no waists, real women are infinite in geometry and configuration."

Love it.. I didnt even notice she was a plus size.. the emphasis wasnt on her body.. really cool editorial

Fabulous. THIS is what I want to see. Thank you TLo- you just made my evening.

P.S.- I'm moving to Canada.

Beautiful! That was very refreshing to see! The pictures were amazing, she looked gorgeous! That's the kind of models we should be seeing more of.

i really thought 'bigger' girls couldn't wear thos bandage dresses, but this shoot has happily proven me wrong. she makes it look so sexy

I think we are dealing with the clashing of two worlds: the fashion world and the mundane world. In the fashion world they use the same words as the mundane world does, but the meaning is much different and the perception of what should be is different.

The damage is done when these two worlds intersect. And I do believe there is documented proof of damage in eating disorders and, well, simply by being a woman and knowing what words feel like. Perhaps someday we can all ascend to a Zen-like state of non-attachment, but there is something that feels bad and insulting about even hearing the word "plus-sized" and then learning it is being attributed to a size you will never attain even when you are below your rec. BMI.

So, can we request that the fashion world uses a new language, one that doesn't clash with ours?

This girl is absolutely gorgeous. If she is "plus-sized", then honey, I want to be plus-sized! Proof positive that clothes look sooo much better on women with womanly bodies rather than women that are built like 12-year old boys.

"Proof positive that clothes look sooo much better on women with womanly bodies rather than women that are built like 12-year old boys."

Wow. As someone who is naturally slim I find that comment extremely insulting, to be honest. Looking good in clothing has nothing to do with your size or shape, and everything to do with dressing to flatter your body, which I do very well thank you.

I'm one of those awful girls with the figure of a twelve year old boy--and these photos made me want to be "plus-sized." (at least, plus sized like that!)
Now THAT'S a freaking great spread.



i've been in love with her for a while, and this is just stunning.

and i have to put in my 2 cents and agree that i'm sick of people equating hourglass shapes with being a "REAL WOMAN" and thinking it's cool to down girls with "boyish bodies." i'm 5'2 and a size 4 and my hips are barely bigger than my waist. i can't help it. i'd like to have bigger hips and an hourglass shape, but i just don't. it's not my shape. my bones are where they are. i'm sorry that this makes me less of a woman to some of you, but there's not a whole lot i can do about it thx. like many others said- the answer isn't to replace one 'ideal' with another, it's to accept differences.

Yesterday I had someone tell me that they had seen Crystal Renn in person and she had said (i.e. this is from the horses' mouth) that she is now a size 8. You know what, life happens to models too. She was very successful in 2009 but this success took a very real toll on her personal life and I suppose her size change is the result of it.

If you look at the new editorial she has done since this editorial (Sleek magazine, V Mag, US Glamour February) via RUNWAYREVOLUTION.COM (an online archive of models over a size 10) then you can see through all of the retouching and whatever...she is definitely now not a US or UK 12/14. The stats on her are likely a result of Ford Models not updating her comp card for a very long time, and Renn's publicity photos of her book launch showing her in a very camoflaging Isabel Toledo dress.

I understand why Crystal Renn has been made the mascot of "Team Plus-size" but it's time to let that go and find a new muse. If you need to, that is.

Once again for the cheap seats:


It's true that BMI is not always reliable. I remember a few years ago they did BMIs for some professional athletes (male and female), and many of them had "high" BMIs because of their muscle mass. Not just football players and the like, either. I remember they said that Michael Jordan, in basketball shape, had a "too high" BMI.

Someone like Serena Williams would be an example of a large woman who is obviously in good shape. Some people are (I know it's a joke) bigger boned and have more muscle mass, like a football player vs. a track athlete.

Yeah, let's all stop slamming women for their bodies. Thin women do not resemble 12-year-old boys or famine victims. I'm lucky, since I am thin but my waist is much smaller than my hips. Of course, I am fairly flat-chested and my thighs are a little big, but so what. It looks good. Kate Moss looks good, Queen Latifah looks good, Carrie Underwood looks good, Michelle Obama looks good. We all have preferences, but that doesn't mean that "the other" is ugly.

And, yes, anorexia and bulimia are serious illnesses (largely based in psychological and family problems rather than fashion, except among models, of course), but I venture to say that more Americans die of the effects of being overweight than underweight. And the number of seriously overweight people under 20 is alarming, especially with the higher incidence of Type 2 diabetes in that age group.

She looks amazing! I want every fashion mag to go this way - healthy models instead of victims of starvation!!

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

i co-wrote crystal's book, Hungry, with her. she's an amazing model and a lovely (and very funny) human. i haven't seen her in a couple of months, but last time we had dinner she was around a US size 10 on top and 12 on the bottom.

to reply to one comment: i certainly wouldn't say "success took a very real toll on her personal life" -- whatever that's supposed to refer to. i don't think she's lost OR gained much weight since she stabilized at her current size ... tho she did go as high as a US size 16 when she was getting over anorexia/exercise bulimia and learning how to eat again.

you can see in the pic with the beige fluttery dress that she's holding it up in front of her body -- she's done that in a number of shoots when she can't fit into the sample size. she's so good, she can work it without WEARING it!

marjorie said...

i co-wrote crystal's book, Hungry, with her. she's an amazing model and a lovely (and very funny) human. i haven't seen her in a couple of months, but last time we had dinner she was around a US size 10 on top and 12 on the bottom.

So much for all those who insisted she couldn't have been more than a size 4 or 6.

Are you guys talking about the divorce when you talk about 'success talking a toll'? I'd reckon it would too. All that stress! No wonder she's lost weight.

Maybe she didn't have to hold that dress up in front of her then. She seems to be getting into everything okay in her new shoot for Feb Glamour mag!

I love Crystal Renn and I want to be her when I grow up.

Anon 1:22:
Marjorie hasn't seen her in 'a couple of months'. I doubt Crystal is as low as a 4 or 6 but it doesn't mean Marjorie's version is any more correct.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:22:
Marjorie hasn't seen her in 'a couple of months'. I doubt Crystal is as low as a 4 or 6 but it doesn't mean Marjorie's version is any more correct.

And a couple of months ago - at least - would be when these pictures were taken if they're in the January issue of Elle.

I know that Glamour magazine is in no way a 'fashion' magazine, but they've been featuring Crystal Renn for a couple of issues now. And, they are using plus sized models right along with their regular models in almost every editorial. What's really awesome is that they don't tell you they are doing it. I now am able to recognize most of the models they use so when I see one, as a bigger women, I think, damn, I could pull that look off. It's pretty amazing.

Hey Anon (whichever one you are)
"And a couple of months ago - at least - would be when these pictures were taken if they're in the January issue of Elle."

So what? So you agree that these photos are months old. A lot could have happened by now. Why are you arguing the point so much anyway? Thou doth protest too much.

Anonymous said...

So what? So you agree that these photos are months old. A lot could have happened by now. Why are you arguing the point so much anyway? Thou doth protest too much.

Try and keep up. People absurdly tried to claim she was as low as a size 4 or 6 in these pictures. Her co-author came along and said that the last time she saw her, a couple of months ago, she was a 10/12. Chances are, a couple of months ago was about when these pictures were taken, which means she's more than likely in the range of a size 10/12 in these pictures. It's not hard.

Good article

This comment has been removed by the author.

you can see in the NYT -- which does not use Photoshop -- the size Crystal actually is.

i hope that pic sets these SHE'S A SIX! SHE'S A FOUR! comments to rest...but i know it won't!

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