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Curves Ahead

Because models over a size 2 always generate a lot of discussion. We're shameless that way.


V Magazine's issue celebrating "women of all sizes" offers us another editorial to argue about discuss.

“CURVES AHEAD” by V MAGAZINE
What’s the skinny on today’s models? Big is bigger than ever, and these bombshells of plus-size are proving that there’s plenty of room in the fashion world for women who look like…women
Photographs by Sølve Sundsbø
Styling by Nicola Formichetti
Models: Candice Huffine, Marquita Pring, Michelle Olson, Tara Lynn, Kasia P


V63 will hit newsstands on January 14, 2010.

After shooting for V, Sundsbø later said: “I loved the opportunity to show that you can be beautiful and sexy outside the narrow interpretations that normally define us.”









Just as the last time we featured something like this, we're going to mostly keep our mouths shut and let you do all the talking. It's clearly an emotional land mine for a lot of women and as gay men, we can say we sympathize or understand but ultimately, we don't.

But can we just say one thing? As gay men? Okay, we really hope this isn't offensive, but isn't it kind of annoying that all too often during the rare instances when plus-sized models (Plus-sized when referred to models is not the same thing as when it refers to clothing. Confusing, we know.) are featured, the very first thing most photographers do is have them pose shirtless or with a belly shirt on? And if that's not the case, then they put them in the tightest, least flattering clothes they can find. Why? We get it. They're not size 0. 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 that's us "mostly keeping our mouths shut."


[Photos: vmagazine.com]


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241 comments:
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As a proportionate female, I wish they'd learn that we focus on cleavage/butt when trying to flatter our figures. I try to stay away from showing off stomach/back fat rolls. The woman are beautiful and dressing them size-appropriate would make such a grander statement.


"the very first thing most photographers do is have them pose shirtless or with a belly shirt on? And if that's not the case, then they put them in the tightest, least flattering clothes they can find."

YES. Exactly the first thing I thought of, too, and I'm a straight, curvy woman. These plus-size models are beautiful women but I don't need to see their rolls to believe that they can look amazing in well-fitting, flattering clothes!


I agree that this is one heck of a sloppy shoot. They need to picture these models in stylish clothes that fit properly in order for fair comparison to the super skinny models. As a plus sized woman, I am somewhat offended by this blantant unfair treatment. These models look a little sad & the girl on girl photo is atrocious! Could have been shot so much better. This looks slapped together.


You guys are spot on - there is definite beauty in the world of women above a size 2, and most men I know aren't terribly attracted to really thin women in real life. But to assume that a woman above a size 2 should be dressed in the same fashion as a waif is absurd.

FWIW, Glamour did a similar thing last year celebrating the over size 2 set, and they did it significantly better.

Ms_flyover


Agreed on all counts! Why can't this type of editorial be approached in the same way as any other?


All I know is that they sold me that first sweater and those Guess jeans, and possibly the leopard body suit, too.


Seriously, those clothes are too small! They're deliberately making those girls look bigger than they really are just so they can say "Hey! We're using big girls! See how big they are? And they're in our magazine! Aren't we trendy?!" Just put them in real clothes and stop making it out to be such a freakshow.


as a gal that's built more like beyonce than kate moss (thank god, really), i definitely appreciate the current mindset as opposed to the 90s when coke skinny was IT. i know i feel extremely comfortable in my own skin now whereas I may not have so much in the 90s. i'm a thicker gal that loves to show off my curves in any way possible.

So yes, while I applaud spreads like this for boosting self-confidence, I agree with you guys... can't they find something better to wear?

and maybe this is wrong of me, but... are we really trying to say being overweight/obese is okay?? can't we get some more fit "plus-sized" models? I know they exist. umm I think I might get a lot of flack for that comment.


Agreed. I mean there really is no point to this tight "sexy" aesthetic. Why not feature real fabulously dressed women?something like high waisted to flatter their figure?


I'm a size ten and I admit that I like seeing bigger models because it better helps me gauge whether or not a certain look would be flattering on my body type.

That said, I, too, don't get the topless/naked pictures. I get that they want to celebrate the female form (and that's great), but you're not helping by making it look so unflattering. Even with the typical model (size 0 -2) they're not going to put her in something that doesn't work and doesn't help them achieve the best and most flattering picture possible, so why do it with the plus-sized women?


that one nude shot is rather fabulous- it plays up the curves instead of distorting them like several of the other shots- but overall i agree that the type and size of clothing needs adjustment. i'd LOVE to see the proposed goddess gowns and some luxe dresses rather than the skimpy, skanky, and silly pieces shown here. better yet give the spread a story or a colour story!!!


Exactly..I'm a size 2 but I'm a curvy size 2 and I'm 4'11...so in clothes like what they had on and the positions they had them in..I'd look rolly polly too.

I still have rolls that I deal with and there are some things I wear that are flattering and some that aren't.

Why can't they just dress them more proportionally? Not everyone, regardless of what size, looks great in everything.

One size does NOT fit all..


The photographer in question, Sølve Sundsbø, is the same one who took those insanely sculptural portraits of Gisele Bundchen and a posse of outrageously ripped Black men. I think he's all about form and the clothes come in as secondary. I quite like a number of these--but don't care for the styling. I'm hoping this isn't just a fad--it would be interesting to see a toss up of diverse body/skin types in future spreads, not just this Separate But Equal business.


I was thinking the same before I got to your comments. Why can't they have bigger models selling clothes like any other model instead of making it about sex?


TLo, I agree with all that you say. Due to her weight gain Tyra Banks would now be considered a plus-size model. She appeared in several editorials the past year looking very good. The "other" plus size models deserve the same. The stylist for this editorial should be fired then taken out behind the barn and shot.

TampaBay


Yup. When I first saw this, my thought was why would they pose these gals the rolls? I mean, most people bigger than stick thin can have their belly's roll, but cut-outs at the waist and belly shirts and then bending into the roll?

Idiots.

And the pic with the two topless models posed breast to breast seem like some guy's fantasy not really appealling - at least to me.


Yes! As I was looking at the pictures I was like, "I would like this much better if the clothes weren't at least a size too small." The only item that I think looks any good on any of the models is that big chunky sweater. Plus I think the only reason they're having them half naked so much lately is because Glamour did it like six months ago and it got a lot more press, but frankly it was a more flattering picture since the model was wearing more natural makeup.


Maybe I'm missing something, but this editorial seems to be about the size of the women's bodies and not about the clothing, right? So, while the women certainly don't appear to be dressed to their utmost advantage, I think the images are true to the focus of the editorial. Of course, the pictures are too small to actually read the captions, so it could definitely be that I'm missing something.


Totally agree with you guys. I'm a size 10, and I'd NEVER wear that gray bathing suit in public. I have a great black, retro-esque halter one-piece that makes my boobs look hot and was worth every penny. One thing most "bigger" women know how to do better than thin ones is to dress to flatter ourselves, so this spread won't fool us! I'm tempted to say this is almost exploitative, but I'll just say it's ugly clothes and leave it at that.


The same thing happens everytime I see a "plus-size" advertised in a magazine. I get my hopes up- thinking "YAY, GIRL POWER" and then the spread leaves me completely crestfallen.

I do a wee bit of plus size modelling (of horse riding gear) and those clothes are not always the most flattering, but the photographer always finds a way to make them (and me) look great. Isn't that what a girl wants? No matter the size?

Sure, big is beautiful. But BEAUTIFUL is BEAUTIFUL.


I find their faces disturbingly incongruous with their bodies. They all have well-defined cheekbones and nary a double chin. They look like someone photoshopped skinny girl heads onto big girl bodies.

That said, it's nice to see some actual bellies and thighs. Usually in these types of spreads (or in the Dove Real Beauty ads) the plus sized women are women with big boobs, big butts, and relatively flat tummies and shapely legs. It just trades one unattainable body type for another, and worse, puts forth the idea that plus-sized is sexy so long as you don't look really plus sized.

And yes, agree with everyone here: dear god, couldn't they put these beautiful women and their beautiful bodies into figure-flattering clothing? How many women, regardless of weight, want to show off belly rolls and back fat?


I'm confused by the to tight clothes as well. These models are beautiful women and should be treated the same way any other beautiful model is treated.

Do you think they'd shoot Heide in very unflattering poses and clothes that make her look fat? Of course not, but for curvy models it's all about accentuating the worst possible attributes.

Lets face it folks, no body wants to see tummy rolls and back-bacon. By showing regular sized women in unflattering and unattractive clothes it just perpetuates the very demoralizing and destructive message that super thin is beautiful.

No regular woman can compare with supermodels. Unfortunately young girls the world over are killing themselves trying.

I have tried to teach my daughters to love the bodies the good Lord gave them and not to obsess about looking like the women on T.V., in movies or in magazines. I fear they will be sucked into the eating disorder/unhealthy self-image vortex. And, quite frankly, photo shoots like this one won't help.


The one thing that real women of any size doesn't do is show off her thighs after the age of 16. I don't care if you're plus-size or merely just someone who eats a meal now and then, grown women do not flaunt their thighs.


This is seriously getting ridiculous. How about instead of pointing out how awesome you are for using "plus size" models and then putting them in ugly, super unflattering clothes (muffin tops are just not necessary in editorials), you mix them into normal spreads in normal beautiful clothing... Otherwise, it is just insulting. Have these people met Christina Hendricks or Jennifer Hudson? That's how you flatter a non-size 2.


The shot of the two women pressed together is just embarrassing. Whoever posed them did it with no respect.


First off, let me say that I don't find the clothes in this spread all that attractive. That said, however, I think the point of a "curvy woman" shoot is to show a woman's curve, not make her conform to the proportions of a straight-sized model, and in that I think this is successful. Hips and boobs and roundness can be just as attractive as straightness and flatness - it's just not what we're taught to appreciate. You have to get used to it. MLH - these women are no less healthy than most of the models that you see in regular fashion spreads.

And I totally agree with Kali - I would wear those jeans, that sweater, the leapard & the blue body suit.

- MM


Thank you. Every "curves" piece is always so passive aggresive! "Ok sure we'll put big women in our magazine--but we're sure not going to make them look good!" (Clack, clack, clack down the hall to puke.)


Each one of these plus size models appear to have very slim faces and neckline. I have issues with weight, and you can definitely see it in my face and neck. If we're going to show plus size models, let's really show them. It looks like the head doesn't match the body.


Reubenesque:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/archive/9/9c/20081118162813!Peter_Paul_Rubens_026.jpg


I'm totally with Unity on this one -- that girl-on-girl photo is disgusting, both in execution and the amount of hyper-sexualization. Beautiful women, horrid and unflattering clothes/photography.


correction to my earlier post
"When I first saw this, my thought was why would they pose these gals TO MAXIMIZE the rolls?"

To the person who commented about showing thighs - it is a fact that women carry their weight in different places. The women in my family tend to carry weigh/fat in the middle (& big chests) and have firm legs. (I had a friend who used to "complain"/question how my legs were so firm and unlumpy - but I never have had a waist.-

My best friend and SIL have more of a pear shape (they call them birthing hips).

But as someone else posted here, you learn to highlight your strengths and try to minimize your flaws with your clothes.


Do you think they used a wind machine for this shoot?


emme's sister

Wow, they couldn't have found some plus-size models who were in shape? There are plenty of women of size who just have bigger frames, without rolls everywhere. (I fall into the latter category - rolls everywhere - so please do not think I am trying to be offensive.) It just seems odd to me that in order to get away from unhealthily thin bodies, we have to celebrate unhealthily heavy ones instead. How about, I dunno, some fit but not scarily-toned size 8's and 10's? Those are the "real women" everyone's always talking about, and then we can stop promoting eating disorders at either end of the spectrum.

(On a side note, these girls DO have spectacularly beautiful faces.)


Yeah, I agree, TLo. The shot that REALLY bothers me is the one of the two girls hugging without shirts on. WTF? Is that supposed to be "fashion"?

My only other comment: I am officially changing my name to Solve Sundsbo. How exotic!


i totally agree, these strappy suits that creat bulges are unflattering, also why not show girls in sizes 3-10, just to get away from 00 or 0 ,rather that 10 12 or 14 ( which is fine but always shown as an extreme in these types of things)


@Emme's Sister:

None of these women are unhealthily overweight. None of them carry too much belly-fat (the sign of health problems to come). Insisting that plus-size models not have rolls is rather counter-intuitive to the 'all bodies are lovely' thing that they're going for.

While I admit that (save the jeans, which look fantastic on their thighs and I want a pair) the clothes aren't set off to their best, the women are beautiful, and the nude is stunning.


Asparagus lust

Another one to toss over the shoulder and forget. Entire thing looked like a 1980's Weight Watcher spread. "Fat -- ooh la la". Nothing new or forward here.


Nothing new and exciting to say but I thought I'd take a moment to add my voice to the crowd:
Maybe I could give some of these magazines credit for showing more variety in body types if they made an effort to put those body types into something that was (drum roll) actually flattering! Crazy concept, but it might just work...
As it is, they're achieving exactly the opposite of their goal, and giving more proof to the biased idiots in the fashion world that bigger girls just don't look good modeling their clothing.
I can't tell if it's outright rudeness or just ignorance involved here, but it irritates me. I have no fashion background whatsoever (nor am I built like these gorgeous girls) and I could easily do a much better job of dressing them than the so-called "professional" stylists did.
*sigh*
That being said, the nude shot is sexy as hell. ;-)

~L


Anonymous (10:53AM) said...

"I find their faces disturbingly incongruous with their bodies. They all have well-defined cheekbones and nary a double chin. They look like someone photoshopped skinny girl heads onto big girl bodies."
**********************************

I'm glad someone else pointed this out because I thought I was seeing things. The incongruity isn't the only off-putting aspect of this series of photos. I agree with everyone that for once it would be amazing to see these fabulous and lovely women in figure flattering clothes, shoes and accessories.

This ad reminds me of a recent episode of Mary, Queen of Shops (BBC America) where a biased shop owner put together a photo shoot using a gorgeous plussie and posed her in porn-esque positions and attire and she was called out by both the host and model participating in the shoot. I've seen the same thing in nearly every plus-sized ad ever advertised and in the shops as well. How is it that even the manufacturers and shops don't even recognize what they're contributing to?

edina


I agree with you, and yet. I think it's subversive (in a good way) to show the poochier tummies and back fat. How else are we brainwashed American women to start reprogramming our ideas of beauty to include these very realistic depictions? When I am naked, there are bulges and creases. To banish such images is to continue to perpetuate an unrealistic image of beauty.


TLo...thank you for saying that! You are totally spot on.

As a curvy girl myself, I am always shocked by what the fashion industry's interpretation of Plus Sized means. Apparently to them it means letting it all hang out just to show people how big you really are. I dont know one plus sized woman (and I know a lot) that would be caught dead in any of those outfits. When you're plus sized, you dont want to wear stuff 3 sizes too small, you dont want muffin top or camel toe, you dont want to look like a floral printed couch and you dont want to look like you raided your grandma's closet. You want to look beautiful and sexy and classy and elegant. You want the same things that regular sized women want. Is that too much to ask?


Well, I think they look pretty fabulous in a few of these, though definitely not all. I'm not sure why they always put plus-sized models in teeny-tiny clothes. I get the sense it's b/c they want to point out that they're plus-sized (or rather, that they're using plus-sized models). It often feels like "Look! We didn't air-brush out her back fat! Look! Look! She has a pooch! Aren't we wonderful for hiring her anyway?" I'd rather see plus-sized models in flattering clothes that I might want to buy mixed in with "regular" models wearing clothes that are flattering to them, then a stunt shoot to demonstrate that they can hire plus-sized models before never hiring them again.


I think the editorial is 100x hottttt. It's sort of sad that "plus-sized model" means size 12-14, though. Isn't that really 'average-sized' model?

I think it's sort of silly to state that anything that features a belly or rolls of fat is automatically unflattering. We all have them. It's refreshing to see them un-retouched.


I think you're approaching this entirely from a fashion perspective, whereas it also means something from a media perspective. Images of plus-size women being loved by the camera, and looking gorgeous showing off, instead of hiding, their bodies are few and far between. This editorial is one step in the right direction. I think another would be an editorial that is meant to show of the clothes, which I think is not the true purpose of this one. But when that editorial comes, I hope it won't all be classic, tailored looks. Plus-size gals are allowed to have fun too!
Check out my take at: http://femonomics.blogspot.com/2010/01/plus-size-photo-shoot-from-v-magazine.html


Forgot to mention that the other editorial in this issue DOES feature a plus-sized model in fitted, flattering clothes. Is it a bit disingenuous to criticize one editorial for doing something different than another editorial?


Seriously, people need to shut the hell up about how unhealthy these women are, or that the magazine is promoting a state of abject gluttony. YOU CAN NOT DETERMINE HEALTH BY SIZE, and these women are really not that big. They are certainly no less healthy than average models, who are up to god knows what in their non-photographed time.

Also, I love that the editorial team didn't photoshop out the rolls or indents. How often do we get to see women's bodies that haven't been "streamlined" beyond possibility-- unless it's our own or our partner's, which we may compare to women in magazines. I give this shoot a "Hell yeah."


It's not just how unflattering these clothes are that gets me--it's how uncomfortable they look as well. I'm cringing from the way some of the jeans are digging into their waists, and that one swimsuit looks horribly painful the way it digs deeply into the model's upper thigh.

And I don't find photos of larger women in too-small clothes that highlight their figure flaws subversive--I find it pandering, shallow, and insulting. As a women with curves, I don't find spreads like this liberating, l find it ludicrous because it's filled with page after page of fashion don'ts.

They don't style skinny models like this, so why this unflattering treatment of larger models? What's the point?


OK, I might be alone here...but I think the execution is beautiful. I like seeing the belly rolls, the so-called "imperfections" on these models - because I do find them aesthetically pleasing. They remind me of the models in my still-life drawing class.

I get that there's an uncomfortable degree of fetishization here - "look at how different they are!" - but when you think about it, it's no worse than those Calvin Klein shots of Kate Moss back in the day, which drew attention to her visible rib cage, her obvious too-thin-ness.

Yes, we need fashion stories that treat plus-size models as actual models - selling us clothes we'd actually want to buy - but we also need photography to help us question our ideas about what makes a beautiful body. Why NOT belly rolls, or back fat, or cellulite? Why ARE those things considered imperfections, while a flat stomach (far more rare than a round one) is considered "ideal"?

At least that's what I'm hoping the photographer was going for. :)

-Alex


I always look at the photos before reading your post. (A game I play... will I agree with TLo before being influenced by what they wrote?)

SO when I looked at these, my thoughts were, "Why do they have to give the models clothes that don't fit? These models are pretty and certainly not obese. Can't the editors show that good clothes could make the models look great?" but then I decided that I was being picky and petulant and should appreciate the "bone they threw" us by putting in larger models at all.

So I was thrilled to read your post and see that you agreed with my first thought!

One other thought though... If they took these women and gave them great clothes that fit well, I would probably bitch that the girls weren't really "plus enough." Because well-fitting clothes would make them look a heck of a lot smaller.


I've been teeny-tiny and fat, and at either end of the contiuum, I wanted to look my best. In a fashion spread, is this the "best" these beautiful ladies could look?


AGREED! Why are they in skin tight, revealing clothing? These are the kind of outfits that land women on peopleofwalmart.com!!!


Why can't they get Clinton and Stacey to style a "Bigger is Better" shoot - all their make-overs have a similar look/feel to them, but at least they know how to pick clothes that flatter different shapes.


Coca Colo said...

I think you're approaching this entirely from a fashion perspective, whereas it also means something from a media perspective.


Actually, we are approaching it from a media perspective. We're railing against the idea that the only way to shoot a plus-sized model is to go all tight, sexy, and revealing. It's a very limiting way to look at larger women and it's one that we suspect is borne out of the idea that the photographer and/or stylist really want to drive home the point of how big these women are by putting them in clothes that are too small for them.


Forgot to mention that the other editorial in this issue DOES feature a plus-sized model in fitted, flattering clothes. Is it a bit disingenuous to criticize one editorial for doing something different than another editorial? Sarah

Well the problem with that particular spread isn't that they used figure-flattering clothes, it's that it was so photoshopped it was unrealistic. That particular model does not have the body as presented in that spread.

So both spreads are equally insulting to me. Both say a fat girl can only be attractive if her body is photoshopped to within an inch of its life, or if she's half naked, pouting, and wearing clothes 2 sizes too small.

Bah to both spreads.


Sarah,

TLo and the Gang (sounds like Kool and the Gang...) already parsed "One Size Fits All." Our collective conclusion was, why all the fug?


I keep thinking of how fabulous Queen Latifah looks wearing that gold Wilma dress in the promos for the Peoples Choice awards. She looks amazing. The clothes they picked look like they are actually trying to make these women look bigger. I am, by the way, a gorgeous size 16 and exercise every night...I'm tall and muscular and healthy, too, so I'm ok with it.

The only shot I like is the nude one of the girl laying on the floor. These women are so beautiful and they are trying to make a statement about how great they are for saying big is beautiful but really, it is kind of degrading at how they dressed the poor things, and I wouldn't be surprised if they did it on purpose.


The clothes are pretty bad, but if it's more about actual body shape (rather than what shape clothes can make), then I guess it makes sense though then I guess it's not really a fashion spread (but just related to issues within the fashion industry). I think the nude shot is actually really hot. Highlights, rather than just shows, the curves. A big difference.


"Curves Ahead," "One Size Fits All" and this entire edition of V seems geared more toward desensitizing the editorial staff than it does toward communicating to the women who read V.

It's a shame, really. Women of all sizes want to look better and women of means who can afford high fashion come in all sizes.

In that sense, the most accessible fashion editorial I ever saw was the episode of "What Not to Where" when Stacy and Clinton went to Paris with the record company executive who loved designer clothes, but had no taste. She was a plus size, but in properly sized couture, she looked impeccable. That's what we want to see, not some sort of self empowerment gimmick.


MM--THANK YOU! I think the comments posted here reflect the deeply ingrained discomfort we as women have with our bodies.

The point with this spread is to celebrate the curves, to show the rolls as beautiful and yes, even stereotypically sexy (hence the quasi-lesbian scene). It would absolutely be nice to see more spreads with plus (or more accurately, regular) sized women wearing gorgeous, tailored clothing. But that was not the point of this spread. The point of this spread was to get us thinking about what our standards of beauty are and where they come from. WHY do we immediately recoil from the "dreaded" belly roll? WHY is that immediately seen as "ugly" when starving women are tauted as the feminine ideal (and yes, I am generalizing--I do not believe that all models are starving. However, many of them are and what's more, even those who aren't strive to LOOK like they are)? There is nothing inherently ugly about large women. Many cultures, and even our culture historically (to some extent), revere larger women.

While again, I'd love to see more spreads with larger women and great clothes in them (I like beautiful clothes as much as the next girl), this particular photo shoot was intended to get us questioning the very meaning of the word "flattering" and why that automatically means "slimming." It worked on me, and I think that as evidenced by the comments here, it is working on at least getting a discussion started.

-EM


"Tlo said: 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?"




Yeah, it's a bit like it used to be before TV & movies were more ethnically diverse: Whenever there was a character who was not a WASP, their ethnicity was either an issue in the plot line or just mentioned in a way that pointed out that somehow that character was different from the 'norm' (or rather, the bland, middle-American invented norm created by the producers). We started to have real progress when non-WASP characters could just exist as in reality - just inhabit their space like any other.

It's sort-of (but not quite) the same with this. Though, size diversity will never be the same as ethnic diversity (nor should it), 'm only using it as an analogy to point out that when magazines use plus size models in a way that makes their size an issue, it's really a self-conscious way of trying to draw attention (and respond to criticism) rather than a way to be inclusive (and respond to that criticism in a thoughtful, real way, and it doesn't really address the issues).

And another reality is, despite how good these women look, and despite the criticism that many models are too, too bone skinny, the so-called 'fat acceptance' movement is seriously wrong-headed as well, because fat & obesity is a huge health issue, causing many thousands of needless deaths every year. That's a simple truth. Obesity is not something that should be accepted - it is a symptom of a sickness in our society that needs to be addressed - so to glamourize overweight people is not the answer either.

As I've said before, I'm saying this as someone who has struggled with weight issues my entire life. I can accept that I'll never be the tall, skinny gorgeous woman I always wanted to be, but by the same token, I could never accept being fat because that would be bad for my long-term health.

Fashion magazines are just advertising (more advertising than editorial - they exist to sell product), and advertising is always aspirational - that's why they use thin, beautiful people. Who wouldn't want to be thin & beautiful? Where fashion mags went off the rails is when thin became emaciated, and where society began to place too much value in it. Did magazines create that or were they just responding to it?

Adding plus-size models to the mix (in this way) doesn't address the underlying issues here. It's just a sensationalistic attempt to sell more magazines - the same way putting jerks on reality shows is a sensationalistic way to get TV ratings. Both substitute sensationalism for quality, thoughtfulness and common sense.

We have lost moderation.

The model posted last week has heavier than a typical model, but not fat. Moderation would have models like her simply mixed into fashion spreads as a matter of course, with out all the 'look at me!' circus.

--GothamTomato


bitchybitchybitchy

And yes, agree with everyone here: dear god, couldn't they put these beautiful women and their beautiful bodies into figure-flattering clothing? How many women, regardless of weight, want to show off belly rolls and back fat?

Amen!

I too would love to see these models in clothing that flatters their figures.


I agree with Kate.

Callahan - It is sickening and ridiculous to try to hide Bias against size behind a phony concern for "Health".


I agree with TLo and other posters that it would be great to see plus-sized models wearing classic, beautiful clothes. At the same time, I think it’s awesome that this editorial celebrates and SHOWS OFF the curves of these women’s bodies. I think part of why these pictures appear “a little sloppy” to us is that we’re taught to view fat as unattractive and “a little sloppy” (granted, I acknowledge that there are other factors, like the styling, that promote the sloppy vibe). Either way, I think the more we see heavier women portrayed in the media, as models, on television, etc., INCLUDING when they aren’t covering up their bodies, I think the more these types of images won’t feel quite so misplaced.


If their goal was to showcase how beautiful a woman of any size can be--indeed how even large bellies and thighs and fat rolls can be sumptuous and sexy--what's the point in styling them in ill-fitting clothes? Some of the rolls are from how the clothes fit.

The nude is gorgeous and natural and sexy. The muffin-tops and straps gouging into their flesh are not.


I'm just over the terms "big" and "plus-sized" that are tossed about in the fashion world. I would love for the word "normal" to take hold.

My biggest pet peeve is trying to find boots that will fit my "athletic" calves.


Alright, since this is such a hot topic that you've touched on, my favorite fellow Philadelphians, I decided that I'd take the time to actually comment (mostly b/c you've touched a nerve). Nothing in the styling of this shoot says "sloppy" to me whatsoever. People need to get over the idea that there is such a thing as "size appropriate fashion." Personally, I've run the size gamut from bony and bulimic to fleshy and Ruebenesque (to use that oft adopted/maligned termed for plus-sized ladies). I've gone from being able to buy children's clothing to not being able to find dresses at H&M. And fuck whatcha heard, body-con is beautiful on larger women. A roll or a rounded stomach can be aesthetically pleasing, can be sexy, can be art. I do performance art and burlesque, so I wear revealing clothing a lot. Hell, I've run around one of the largest cities on the eastern seaboard dressed more like Lady Gaga than a poster child for the Hefty Hideaway (Rikki looked fab in those dresses, btw), and I see no reason to cover up now. Well-fitting, fabulous and fierce are in the eye of the beholder. To throw a little R&H your way we "have to be carefully taught", and for the most part we've lapped up the kool-aide. These women have "such pretty faces." I think the swimsuits and leopard body suit are hot, and girl rocks that leopard piece better than JLo rocked her NYE onesie.

-Kaye


I don't know, I think all the girls look quite fabulous, but for the last two pics. That is def where they faltered, I mean that bathing suit thingy was a horrendous choice and is that an Herve Leger bandage dress? It looks about 4 sizes too small and I'm pretty sure doesn't cover her bum. But the first pics, they look gorgeous and glamorous, and wasn't that the point?


You say "sexually ravenous and a little bit sloppy" like it's a bad thing. ;/

Different body types look better in different cuts of clothing. It sounds like a no-brainer...so why does the industry fail to grasp this?


I think these women look gorgeous. But calling them "real women" is a huge pet peeve of mine, as a smaller woman myself. Skinny women are real women too!

That is just a side rant. I do love the use of bigger models and I think they look great.


i disagree with you. i'm so glad i can see the rolls and folds and the idea is that the rolls and folds are beautiful! it's about celebrating the body. and i think they look good in the clothes. but then again, i'm from a culture where these women aren't 'plus-sized', but normal, and gorgeous!


Like. Totally. You nailed it.
xoxo


I thought you did a pretty good job of picking your way through an emotional minefield without setting off any bombs.

But, with Brittany Murphy hardly cold in the ground, possibly in part because of her efforts to be thin, I am really glad that fashion photogs are trying to find a way to include big women in the ranks of the officially sexy. -victoria


I get the point. The point is the photographer and magazine think the concept of plus sized looking good is anathema so they made them look bad either intentionally or passive agressively. Either way, they want us to know they hate it.


My random, rambling and possibly contradictory thoughts:

Overall I give the ed a thumbs up.

I totally agree with TLo's thoughts that the time has come for the big girl - sex bomb theme to be scaled back and more variety of clothing to be introduced.

My biggest problem with the ed is not the styling, although the glam makeup, wind-blown hair and sexified clothes did get monotonous, but my bigger problem is the monotony of the overall spread, I mean like couldn't they go outside... add some props - men, a couch, a jungle gym, something...?

What I liked about the ed and my prevailing impression is that if I came across most of these photos individually in a high-end fashion magazine, I would not be distracted by the plussedness of the photos - Lara Stone's jank teeth bother me more than any of these models' fat rolls - the photos still sold the shoes, the jeans, the leopard blouse and the (implied) beauty products. So for me, it is not the bestest ed I have seen, it ain't the worst either, but when it comes to proof of concept, Solve Sundsbo and the cast hit it out the park.


The answer to "why don't they put them in better clothes" is the same as the answer to "why don't they feature bigger models more often" -- designers make tiny clothes. Small sizes are all magazines have, and often all that exists. Think about poor Danielle in the sample closet on Stylista. This is the editorial equivalent of "well, at least you can wear the accessories."

Designers make clothes to fit ever-shrinking models, models shrink to fit ever-shrinking clothes, and editors think seriously for five minutes about challenging the starved-and-'shopped status quo before shrugging and saying "that seems hard." If there aren't clothes for your bigger models, why would you hire them? And if you hire them, how could you dress them?


Actually, the only picture I find unflattering is the gray bathing suit one. The rest I think are beautiful and (dare I say it?) SEXY!


"Kate said: Also, I love that the editorial team didn't photoshop out the rolls or indents. How often do we get to see women's bodies that haven't been "streamlined" beyond possibility-"




Actually these images have, clearly, been Photoshopped. They definitely have been run through a program. Yes, they left in stomach rolls, but they 'Photoshopped' out everything else. There is no way any woman, let alone women of this size, have no skin imperfections (dimples, cellulite, etc). These women have been idealized in exactly the same way as every other woman in a fashion magazine.

--GothamTomato


I'll admit it. I don't like it. I don't like looking at rolls. I think it's, well, gross. I would never, ever, ever want to look like those women. I would quit buying a magazine if they switched to all "real" women.

Which is a pet peeve. I am def. real and yet, also a size 2.


As I looked at the first photo, my first thought was, "Why weren't they dressed in clothing that fit?" And really? A mid-driff denim jacket with cut-outs?! Tim Gunn would have an absolute fit!

Only 2 photos flatter the models (i.e., only 2 photos flatter the clothing the models are supposedly selling--because isn't that what models do?): the over-sized sweater and the animal print leotard. That's it. The rest as TLO so aptly put it is "roadhouse" wear.

So disappointing.

Personally, I think it's fine that models do not represent "real women"--they are to be model women after all. However, the fashion world seems to gravitate toward extremes: size 2 or plus-size; nothing in the middle. By the way, these non-size 2 models do not represent "real" women either: they are absolutely gorgeous, despite the horrendous clothing they are dressed in!

So, kudos to the models, and boo-hiss to the stylist, the photographer, and to V magazine editors.


"That said, it's nice to see some actual bellies and thighs. Usually in these types of spreads (or in the Dove Real Beauty ads) the plus sized women are women with big boobs, big butts, and relatively flat tummies and shapely legs. It just trades one unattainable body type for another, and worse, puts forth the idea that plus-sized is sexy so long as you don't look really plus sized."

my response to this comment is that everybody is built differently. For example, I tend to gain wait on my hips and thighs and not really my stomach at all. So saying that people who who are naturally pear shaped or hour-glass shaped are not truly plus size or fake just because they dont have as much "belly fat" as you think they should have is unfair to say.


T-Lo, my thoughts EXACTLY. Bravo!


Nude photo = hot. I could stare at it all day. Oh the curves!! Delicious.


Why put these women in jeans that don't fit? The leopard and the oversized sweater looks are fierce and sexy, but the boob-touching mom jeans looks are not.

At least these ladies are actually plus-sizes, unlike the size 10/12 model in the last big is beautiful photospread.

And yes, there is definite photoshopping here. Leave in some rolls, but take out the cellulite?

In the end, I just need to walk away from these magazines in my size 12 jeans confident in my own body.


Linda from Chicago

Thanks for the insight, TLo. I didn't realize that plus-sized women are usually put in tight clothing.

However, I kind of like the rolls of flesh on waists and backs -- very Rubens. That some of us see them as ugly shows us how our society has shaped our consciousnesses. So what if there is some extra flesh? The models seem to be in good shape overall, unless they have indeed been photoshopped a lot. Other societies would have seen the extra flesh as a plus and proof that the models were in the upper classes.

That's what fashion boils down to in many cases, you know -- the "highest fashion" is for those who can afford it and also afford to be thin with personal chefs and trainers.

Whatever, I'm happy to see women whose thighs don't feature a gap big enough for a wolfhound to walk through and who actually have some butts and breasts. I'd like to see them in flowing goddess dresses, as well as tight clothing.


so many comments on the jeans not fitting. Am I missing something? They look like a fine fit to me...?


As fabulous as all those women are, speaking as a size 14/16 who just found the most PERFECT bathing suit in the world for her (modcloth, the vintage ones with the ruching, amazing!) no woman of my size would EVER wear that first bathing suit. It's unflattering, it makes her look way larger than she is, and it creates rolls that don't need to exist. This whole shoot looks like "HEY LET'S LET THE FAT CHICKS PLAY MODEL TOO!" and it's just ughhhh. The models are all fabulous and gorgeous and seem to be real world pluz size not model plus size which I really appreciate but I totally agree that they should put them in clothes they'd actually wear. I wear some tight clothes, but they always accentuate my butt and my bust and skip over all the mess stuff in between where all my weight is and I'm sure these gorgeous ladies do the same.


I was thinking the exact same thing. I think the models look beautiful, but they could have been put in more flattering clothes and bathing suits. Showing skin doesn't bother me, but most women size women would not be showing their mid-drift or wearing that second to last bathing suit.


I agree with Sarah, I think these photos are hott...it's refreshing to see a girl with chub! I think the gray suit is a questionable, but I like the rest.

They look gorgeous and I think that it's refreshing.


I more or less agree with the little rant at the end. I don't even think thin women tend to look good in cut-out stuff (at least not stuff cut out to that degree); I've never really been on board with the style. And midriff-baring is really something that I think should be the province of teens and maybe college girls, also regardless of size, unless it's like 95 outside or something. So why fashion spreads like this always need to put people in too-tight, cut-out-filled, midriff-baring outfits, I don't know. Plus the faux-lesbian tit-to-tit shot bugs me... it's more men's magazine than fashion.

So ugh to the clothes and staging, despite the fact that those women are really all very pretty.


So in order to be "fashionable", you have to have super-long flowey hair in a wind tunnel? Audrey Hepburn did just fine with a short pixie cut, and Princess Grace never had longer than shoulder-length hair.

I agree with the observation about super-tight clothes, but really ... the hair just one more aspect of this editor's judgement being totally inward-focused and unimaginative.


It makes me sad to see such beautiful women poured into such ill-fitting clothes that are exposing way too much skin. I think showcasing models that look like more normal/average-sized women is a great idea, but not if they're going to dress them like this. It would be much more refreshing to see them dressed in flattering clothes, rather than putting them in the same things that works for stick skinny "normal" models. Putting them in these outfits, imo, is actually a step backward because they do not look attractive to me at all, and it reinforces the fact that skinny is better (bc in these clothes, it is).

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm a former size 8 who is about a 14 now thanks to my 2 kids!


--GothamTomato said:
Yes, they left in stomach rolls, but they 'Photoshopped' out everything else. There is no way any woman, let alone women of this size, have no skin imperfections (dimples, cellulite, etc). These women have been idealized in exactly the same way as every other woman in a fashion magazine.

thanks GT for saying this. It's exactly what I thought when I saw the editorial today.... there is no way that thighs that size or those belly rolls will exist without cellulite, I mentioned this recently with the latest "real woman" spread... it's annoying and patronizing to plus-size women...
but I have to say that some pictures are beautiful, including the nude ones....


I'll probably get shot for this, but speaking as a size 20 I don't actually WANT editorials in magazines to look like this. Rolls of fat poking out of holes in bathing suits... I'm sorry, I'm calling an "Emperor Has No Clothes" moment on this, because it's NOT attractive.

The smushed-down breast in the girl-on-girl hug picture... that's NOT hot. I remember on ANTM one time they were doing two girls per shot, nudes, and the photographers kept telling them not to mash together like that.

If I ruled the world, I'd like to see women of all sizes featured in editorials like that one with the giant bubbles under the skirt that you guys showed us last year. For that, you don't need a size-two model. Exhuberance and joy and love of clothing aren't size-restricted. But call me sizist if you want, bathing suits with cut-outs most definitely are.


The quality and content of these images makes me wonder if this is really a celebration of plus size women, or if it is just a "Haha, yeah RIGHT!"


Spot on...

I'll even rant that as a plus size gal these spreads even offend me a bit. What we can wear fab clothes and look sexy but tasteful? For a larger woman it is all about the boobs and butt, that is what is sexy on us, not our freaking bellies.

and if I wanted to see a bunch of mildly plus size gals running around with their fat rolls hanging out and wearing skanky outfits I can go to my local Walmart on a Friday night.


If this editorial was to celebrate a larger shape, do all nudes then. The nude is an incredibly lovely photograph and a spread of tasteful nudes of full-figured women would have gotten the point across. That grey bathing suit is just vulgar, as well as the girl-on-girl shot. I do think that the photo with the model in the large sweater is also quite beautiful. The rest is just cheap and freakish. These women are normal for the love of Pete. And not obese, just large. But I don't expect the fashion world to get real. That's a bit too much to ask.


The only really beautiful picture here is of the model wearing nothing.. no clothes. If I saw these women out at a bar I would wander what the hell they were thinking.


I am going to diverge from most of the crowd, and agree with a few others that the reasoning behind a shoot like this is to get us to rethink "beauty". If we can get back to thinking that reubenesque is beautiful too, than maybe there wouldn't be so many eating disorders. Highlighting creases and bulges and heavy thighs but in a beautiful way (the reclining nude) can make us feel that our own bodies, creases and bulges included, are also beautiful.

Whether this shoot actually accomplishes this goal is, I guess, a matter of opinion. I think it occasionally does so. Better than not at all, right?

Reminds me of a website, can't remember the name now, that is all pictures of women's bellies, post pregnancy and childbirth. Beautiful in that it shows you that we are all flawed, but that flaws can be lovely and meaningful, too.

Okay, stepping off soap box now.


I think you're spot on. I do love the second and third pictures though (sweater and leopard print)...


What they are really trying to do is say that Bigger is NOT beautiful. If they get complaints, then they can continue with the status quo of starving models. If they actually made us real women look good, then they'd be forced to change, the industry would be forced to change. Their words say," YES! We think women of all sizes are beautiful and wonderful and amazing!" But their photos clearly say that they still have contempt for bigger women and want to prove that they don't look as good as anorexic models do naked. That's why they put them in unflattering clothes and in unflattering poses. What we need to do, then, is call them at their game. Write to them. Tell EXACTLY what you think. Tell them that you see through their ruse. I'm going to be doing so today.


TLO wrote: "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..."

Thank you! Oh, I wish I could give each of you a hug and buy you a drink!

I'm not getting the upset with the "rolls" of fat. Hell, most American women have them and this idea that they must all be covered, all the time is a bit much.

I swear I would burst into tears (& get out my checkbook) to see larger women, dressed to kill on a fabulous set.


As a woman of size, I can marginally appreciate this layout. However, as you stated, some of these clothes are pretty unflattering. Whether some of us want to face it or not, we can't necessarily wear some of the exact same styles that smaller gals can pull off. But the inverse is true as well.

The problem with this shoot in particular is that most of the clothing does not appear to be of "quality". Where are some fashion-forward cocktail dresses or office wear that aren't simply inappropriately enlarged knockoffs of smaller sizes? Give us something flattering and interesting for a change.


Leopard leotard: hot. And i hate leotards outside of a dance studio.

Big sweater: hot. I want it. Jeans on the second woman: hot. I want them.

I have a feeling that many of the commenters are implying that "more flattering" clothes would mean clothes that... hide the fat, thus defeating the purpose of the spread. Yeah, yeah, this definitely reads "normal is sexy" to me and not "normal is classy", so I do think TLo are right: what we need next is a spread that says "normal is fab" instead of "sexy". However, I don't think they look trashy, and I still think many of these shots ARE sexy, and beautiful, and they should do things like this more often. And FWIW this is better than the "one size fits all" spread, for sure.

A small improvement. Keep them coming.


I'm sorry, but I think a lot of you are blinding yourself to what these pictures depict out of a sense of solidarity with the models. If T Lo posted pictures of Heidi wearing skin-tight acid washed jeans with an acid washed denim jacket with cutouts, everyone would be in agreement that the clothes look awful. Bad clothes are bad clothes, no matter the size of the person wearing them.


So...when are we going to get a shoot with plus sized girls either alone or with standard models that doesn't blatantly state that it's bigger girls? Honestly, coming out and saying "These are plus sized girls!" kind of spoils the point of having the shoot at all. Not to mention this shoot sucks. Lane Bryant mailers have better shoots than this. Lets see some of these girls in some Chanel or Marc Jacobs. Some really well tailored, well designed stuff instead of this "They're big! They're beautiful! SHOW THESE BITCHES OFF! CURVES! BUTT! BOOBS!" because, honestly, these girls are a lot more attractive than a lot of models regularly used in editorials.


"NahnCee said: So in order to be "fashionable", you have to have super-long flowey hair in a wind tunnel? Audrey Hepburn did just fine with a short pixie cut, and Princess Grace never had longer than shoulder-length hair."




Oh god, now the people with short hair are upset.

--GothamTomato


What's the name of the girl in the leopard print body suit?


"Nariya said: I have a feeling that many of the commenters are implying that "more flattering" clothes would mean clothes that... hide the fat, thus defeating the purpose of the spread."




No, it's just that going out dressed like 10 pounds of potatoes in a 5 pound sack is never flattering, no matter what size you are.

Commenters have said the same thing about Heidi Klum (who's not exactly a candidate for Thunder Thighs Anonymous).

--GothamTomato


T.Lo, your comments are exactly what I wanted to say. When women are skinny they put them in flattering clothes and parade them down a runway, and in the aberration make them all tight/naked/shredded. For plus size spreads it's the norm. I want to see fashion look *beautiful* on a normal woman. Not look painted on. Thanks for saying it.


"More flattering" should not mean hiding the fat. In fact, that is the mistake that most designers are making with plus size clothing. When "hiding the fat" is the utlimate goal, nothing good can come from that. I don't want to swim in my clothes!

Instead, plus size models should be dressed as standard size models; so that the clothes are presented as beautifully as possible.

The other thing is that if plus size models appeared in fashion spreads as a matter of course, we'd get to see a whole range of looks. For so long as these are offered so infrequently, I'd like to see a lot more effort put into them. Or at least something more than a damn plain paper backdrop!


More on figure-flattering clothes - does any designer regularly featured in fashion magazines MAKE sample garments that would look flattering on a plus-sized model? I read an excerpt of Crystal Renn's book where she related how she was booked for a cover photo shoot for Italian vogue, and even after ripping out the seams of a garment, it wouldn't fit on her frame (which is, incidentally, 4-6 inches smaller than mine in every dimension, and I'm on the borderline of buying plus sizes)

I guess if they were doing a spread of Lane Bryant tunics-and-capris (ugh), they could find something that fit an average sized woman, but otherwise I can't see how it's even possible. The majority of genuinely fat ladies I know put in a lot of alterations to get flattering and fashionable looks to work.


TLo et al:

In case you haven't seen it, you should take a look at Elle Canada's January Issue. Crystal Renn is featured in a shoot by photographers Leda & St. Jacques. I found the set online here:

http://www.fashionising.com/pictures/s--Crystal-Renn-Elle-January-2010-4412-1.html

While the set isn't perfect, and does fall prey to some of your criticisms (albeit in what I would consider a more tasteful way), the clothes are flattering and NOT anything like the above photos.

Enjoy!


PS - in one of the shoots she is even wearing what appears to be the typical "bandage" dress - and it fits. And isn't painfully tight and unflattering, IMO.

http://www.fashionising.com/pictures/s--Crystal-Renn-Elle-January-2010-4412-1.html


As a size 20 who as a teen was a size 4 I feel qualified to state unreservedly that those clothes are ugly and do not fit correctly. Muffin top jeans? Really? And if the bra fits correctly you will not have bulging back fat (well, maybe a little, but not rolls of it).
Exactly what point were they trying to make? It's as if they received a rash of letters to the editor about the ultra skinny models and management decided to teach their readers a lesson. See - here are the tiny clothes on the women you asked for - happy now? No? Then shut up and admire the waifs like we told you to.


PEOPLE... FASHION is always illuminating and thought-provoking!!! (100X)


Crystal Renn did a really nice shoot for Elle Canada (I think the January 2010 issue) in which she's wearing beautiful, well-fitted clothes. It's stunning.


Honestly, I think the photographer is to blame. He's trying to exaggerate and play off the differences. Like the way his shoot with Gisele was done in black and white to highlight the contrast between her and the black male models, he's done the same thing to these plus-sized girls. He shoots from a lower angle so their heads look smaller and their thighs, hips and bellies look larger. He has the girl in the cut-out bathing suit bend into the cut-out to highlight her rolls instead of away from the cut-out. Perspective is in use as well as the too-tight clothing to show these beautiful women as being the anti-thin model. In a way I'd like to see a size 2 in the same positions and angles to show that they'd look just as bad. That was one of the good things the "One size fits all" editorial almost did.

The styling is slutty, the photographer picked more extreme angles to highlight the larger aspects, and the shots chosen for the editorial aren't the most flattering taken, just what fit their chosen topic.

Are we going to re-think beauty standards based on these editorials? Wouldn't that be lovely. Is this just tokenizing and fetishizing us girls with a little extra padding? Quite possible. Are we ever likely to go back to the fashion ideal of Reuben's that fat was beautiful and showed luxury? Not as long as highly processed foods in huge portions are cheaper than fresh foods and gym memberships.

As a size 16 all it really does is make me never want to patronize this magazine, nor that photographer.


Thanks boys!

I think looks 2, 3,4 are really lovely and sexy. The rest are as you call it: ill-fitting and a bit trashy. Goin' to the Roadhouse, bhaaaah! Right-on.

I'm mixed about the nude, mostly because her make-up/shoes are trashy. But her body is classic beauty.

IN any case, much better than the last big girl fashion pic's. But that wouldn't be hard to improve on


Jaysus most of this is all kinda wrong. It's like like fat=slut and that gray bathing suit shoot just looks like bait for fat wank.

That said I do like about half of them ; 2,3, 4(kinda),6 & 9.

It's just they act like people that have some weight are so alien they have to make them cliches. This stuff screams of the attempt to photograph big, buxom beauty, when really all that was needed was pretty. It honestly makes me cry.


Note:
I think they shot "the rolls" because of all the positive attention "the belly" received a few months ago in another magazine. can't remember which magazine it was, but it was a big deal they shot a model with a paunch showing. It was on the morning news shows, etc.

I think V was looking for that reaction.


I got about halfway through comments and didn't see anyone mention it, so here I go: maybe one reason you never see plus-sized models in fabulous, fitted clothing is because all the clothing used for editorials are free (borrowed) runway samples that get shipped out to everyone. I mean, isn't that why we often see celebs on the red carpet in clothes that don't quite fit them? It's borrowed, possibly one-of-a-kind, and it can't be altered too too much. Even when it's for a shoot, I remember you featured one with Heidi not too long ago, and ppl were commenting about how maybe the one jacket was a size too small--well, they couldn't get their hands on a free one that was the right size. I'd imagine it must be even harder to get free clothes for plus-sized models. Maybe it's just easier (hence much much cheaper) to get lingerie/swimwear. And denim, yeesh.

Not that I don't suspect some iffier motives at work, but even if all photographers didn't have that mindset, this element would be outside of their control.


Oh, Sarah mentioned it before me. Oh well.


We have lost moderation.

The model posted last week has heavier than a typical model, but not fat. Moderation would have models like her simply mixed into fashion spreads as a matter of course, with out all the 'look at me!' circus.

--GothamTomato

My thoughts exactly. I am what is considered morbidly obese. I accept that and am making a conscious effort to correct that. Simply for health reason alone. I have no illusions that I will ever be a size 2. Hell, I probably haven't been one since 5th grade. However I want to be able to buy clothes that are elasticated & shapeless. Since the clothing industry has regulated so much of the fashionable plus size industry to online sales, I'd like to see models with a bit of meat on them so I at least have an idea of what clothes look like and yes, seeing pretty women with some curves would be nice.
I follow quite a few plus size and fat acceptance blogs simply because it give me a network to locate properly sized clothing and a community to network in.But even there if I talk about what my workout was for today or if I successfully ate appropriately I get grief because then I'm not "accepting" my body.
So yeah, where's the moderation? Where's the middle ground.
I don't want an extreme diet or a super drug, but I'm not going to practice self hate because of my fat.
I'm not sure if the magazine;s intent was to jump on a trend and take advantage of the attention gained from the controversy or just to do some passive aggressive hating but so far I have yet to be impressed.

Milaxx


TLo you hit the nail on the head.

An Anonymous commenter said that grown women don't flaunt their thighs. Honey, in L.A. we do. Plus, every skinny legged jean, tight fitting legging, and swimsuit put them out there for the world to see. Plus, I don't think these pictures are aiming for realism. I'd argue FIRST that grown women don't press their bare breasts up against another woman's bare chest in public.

Why can't we see women of ALL SHAPES in an editorial TOGETHER. There's not one specific weight that is healthy/desirable for women. We all of different genetic predispositions and body types and each of us has a weight range that is healthy for our own individual body. I would like to see healthy women with a healthy body image photographed in clothes they appear to enjoy wearing.


Thanks for pointing out that the clothes are always tight and sexy...never really noticed. What I don't understand is why there are only two kinds of models: size 0 and plus size. What about the size 4-8 range? How about we have models that are actually average instead of focusing on the two extremes. Just my 2 cents on the whole issue.


i just don't understand why every editorial with 'plus-sized' models is about being plus-sized instead of having an actual storyline like most other editorials. is it so wrong to assume that a larger woman could do more with her modeling than just be larger?


TLo:
Consider that there's really nothing groundbreaking about seeing a plus size woman in some long, flowing caftan. Rolls and bellies are an essential aspect of fatness, and I will let you guys in on a (sort of) secret: There are many, MANY people who are exclusively attracted to fat bodies, and these people WANT to see rolls. They dig fat, so they want to SEE the fat. It;s really that simple.
Rolls and bellies are some of the most aesthetically 'taboo' parts of a fat woman's body. Right now we (the popular-media 'we') are getting incrementally more comfortable with seeing a more plus size woman figure-obfuscating garmets - I love that these photos don't try to hide the parts that actually DEFINE these women as (somewhat) fat.


Y'know what? Maybe I don't want to be in something flowy and goddessy? Maybe I want to go out clubbing and get my Beyoncé on and don't really care about looking tasteful because I'm 23 and just want to have fun? Why are the skinny chicks the only ones who get to vamp it up?

I mean, so much criticism of plus-size girls in 'unflattering' clothing (I'm not talking about here specifically, lots of places do it) ends up being practically 'you're refusal to dress in a way I consider tasteful is distressing', putting more pressure on bigger girls to dress in a way other to how they may wish so as not to 'offend'. But these shots are much more 'oh, I have a roll of fat? Whatev's, you know I'm fabulous', and that's a much better sentiment then 'put on this flowy chiffon shirt so we don't actually have to look at your body'.

I think all these girls look gorgeous. (Regarding the boob-hug, I'm pretty sure at least part of this shoot is inspired by a mid-90s Versace campaign, so I'm willing to bet that might be why that's in there)


"Big is bigger than ever, and these bombshells of plus-size are proving that there’s plenty of room in the fashion world for women who look like…women"

You know, I'm all for variety in the fashion industry because different clothes call for different models and different bodies and I sincerely hope that one day models of all sizes will be welcomed into the industry but can we PLEASE stop degrading women who are a size 0-2? I happen to be that size and according to the above quote, and to many comments on discussions like this, I am not a real woman. Now, I know this is about models and not about size 0-2 girls in general, but those models are also women! Skinny women but no less woman than these women featured here.

Just bothering me, I guess. The photo's don't really appeal to me, I wish it was about more than just the fact they are plus-sized. You know, that it was about the clothes or a story or anything else a regular editorial is trying to tell.


duckgirlie said...

Y'know what? Maybe I don't want to be in something flowy and goddessy? Maybe I want to go out clubbing and get my Beyoncé on and don't really care about looking tasteful because I'm 23 and just want to have fun? Why are the skinny chicks the only ones who get to vamp it up?


Y'know what? Maybe you're making this about you when it's obviously not about you? Maybe they were talking about plus-sized models in photo shoots and not about you?


I mean, so much criticism of plus-size girls in 'unflattering' clothing (I'm not talking about here specifically, lots of places do it) ends up being practically 'you're refusal to dress in a way I consider tasteful is distressing', putting more pressure on bigger girls to dress in a way other to how they may wish so as not to 'offend'.

Bullshit. When any woman, no matter her size, wears ill-fitting, unflattering, and slightly slutty clothing, they come in for a little criticism because of it. Plus-sized women are no different, nor should they be.


i think they showed their fat "rolls" because that is part of what it means to be a true plus size woman.
so there it is, accept it as part of being a big beautiful woman or not, there really isn't an in-between.
there would be no discussion of the photographer posing a size zero woman shirtless.


A said...

TLo:
Consider that there's really nothing groundbreaking about seeing a plus size woman in some long, flowing caftan. Rolls and bellies are an essential aspect of fatness, and I will let you guys in on a (sort of) secret: There are many, MANY people who are exclusively attracted to fat bodies, and these people WANT to see rolls. They dig fat, so they want to SEE the fat. It;s really that simple.
Rolls and bellies are some of the most aesthetically 'taboo' parts of a fat woman's body. Right now we (the popular-media 'we') are getting incrementally more comfortable with seeing a more plus size woman figure-obfuscating garmets - I love that these photos don't try to hide the parts that actually DEFINE these women as (somewhat) fat.


Okay, well this has virtually nothing to do with anything we wrote in our post. Never mentioned anything about caftans or fat rolls or whether or not there are people attracted to women of a bigger size. What this post IS about (and we think we were quite clear on it) is the tendency of editors/photogs/stylists to only return to the "skin tight and sexy" well when it comes to depicting plus-sized models.


I wasn't attacking them so much as the notion (which is pervasive) that plus-size women should dress in a certain way to look good. That bigger women can't/shouldn't wear tight-fitted things.

The three things mentioned above were 'tailored', 'flowy' and 'goddess-y', all words that generally also mean 'covered'. And the problem isn't whether or not it's about these specific women and what they're wearing, but the implication that there's a specific (and narrow) range of options.

I don't see how any of these jeans don't fit. The vast majority of people would have a 1cm bulge at the top of new jeans, that's how they stay up if you don't wear a belt.

(Again, I love this website, but it kind of hit a nerve)


Ladies, confidence in your attractiveness means wearing skimpy clothes and attracting the male gaze, didn't you know?

I feel as a fashion editorial it failed because the majority of the clothes AREN'T the focus or flattering.

But as a photo essay on big is beautiful I think it works quite well.


duckgirlie said...

The three things mentioned above were 'tailored', 'flowy' and 'goddess-y', all words that generally also mean 'covered'.


Hunh? No they don't.


I'm just going to say that the whole 'cut-out' thing was ugly the first time around, and it is one trend that should not be repeated. Not on women of any size or shape. Those clothes wouldn't look good on anyone. (the cut outs)

The topless girl shot is nasty and I will now have to wash my eyes out with soap.

The nude is beautiful.

Too much wind in the hair.


Oh my god, why would they put these pretty girls into such unflattering, ugly, ill-fitting clothes? This photo shoot is saying "ugly is beautiful". It's an insult to all plus-sized women. This is all sorts of wrong.


I think these photos are hot, hot, hot!

I actually like that they put these women in the same outfit a smaller model would be wearing. I don't think that just because you're plus size you have to dress in the flow-y earth mother goddess look. Why can't a curvy girl be a hot sex symbol too? These women actually look like supermodels, with enviable hair, gorgeous faces, and legs up to there. Could the styling been better? Yes, of course. But it still doesn't hamper how smoking (and confident!) these women look.

I'm a size 6, so this is not my body size personally. But with a lack of gals my size shown, I can relate more to (and be more likely to buy clothes shown on)these women over a surgically enhanced Maxim gal or waifish teenage model.


This makes me think that the editorial was more backhanded. Like "look how great we are to use Plus Sized Models, yet didja notice what Chubs they are? Now you know why we don't use them...WINK WINK. NUDGE NUDGE." This is so they can turn around and say, "See, this is why we don't use them. They're *icky*"

These women are gorgeous. I find this spread insulting.


duckgirlie said...

The three things mentioned above were 'tailored', 'flowy' and 'goddess-y', all words that generally also mean 'covered'.

TLo said
Hunh? No they don't


My point exactly. If I want a tailored suit appropriate for work or say a dressier one for a dinner date, I want a tailored suit. For me that means a skirt that fits at the correct length with a waistband NOT elastic, a jacket that fits and a nice blouse. And get this, I want it in an actual fabric, not polyester, bonus points if the top is a nice silk.
If I want a flowy dress again, no granny prints, no polyester. Something that hug and accentuates my body that isn't a tube that makes me look like I'm wearing sausage casings.
There is middle ground. I spend loads of money chasing it in order to look halfway decent. I just wish the magazine had chosen to explore that.

As for the topless shot; I hated when Make Me a Supermodel did a similar one. It's a het male sex fantasy no matter what size the model.


"a said: There are many, MANY people who are exclusively attracted to fat bodies, and these people WANT to see rolls. They dig fat, so they want to SEE the fat."




Yes, but the editorial is about fashion, not fetish.

--GothamTomato


Whoever styled this shoot should be shot!


wow i have issue with the jeans! they make their legs look great but the waists would create 'muffintop' on anyone not stick thin, you can see it in the photo even.

i wish they pushed highwaisted jeans more, they are much more flattering! im pretty avg size, a size 8 teen with not much fat but id never wear jeans like that. even my size 2 waif of a sister wears highwaist to avoid muffintop.

this just goes along with the unflattering clothes issue of this shoot but i do wish theyd stick some nice, flattering highwaisted jeans on these plus (really just average!) models as theyre so much nicer on pretty much any size.


A few people have mentioned this before, and I agree. Non plus-sized women are "real" too. I think the term that should be used is "average."

I think all of these ladies featured are beautiful, and very, very, far from "average." They are just as far from me (as a very "average" looking person) in terms of looks as Kate Moss is. The high-fashion industry is not there so that I can see an exact mirror-image of myself. In a catalog, yes, I can understand why there should be many women of many different sizes and shapes there to represent what the clothes look like. That is the point.

But in editorials, I think the point is to make the clothes look good, and that is against the backdrop of the most beautiful woman you can find. I would argue that many styles look far better on a larger model - jeans, for instance. Long, shapely legs look far more beautiful to me than the sticks that so many of the girls have now. However, other looks are benefitted from a thin body.

The point is not to be a personal slight and what I percieve to be the problem is the pressure the industry is under to only represent what emaciated models look like because of the desingers and their sample sizes. I'd like to see a an editorial that featured the clothes in the best way possible.


"austingirl
i think they showed their fat "rolls" because that is part of what it means to be a true plus size woman."

Really? That really is not necessarily true.

For most of my life I have been BIG not flabby - and I most certainly am not the only plus-size woman who would fit that description.

I have jokingly said that my skeleton is a 14 - well probably a 12 - add vital organs, skin and some essential fat and my starting point is a 16. (But even then with no real waist and a rack that was a D in 6th grade, and a DD for my entire adult life - my sizes have been inconsistent, depending on brand.)

But hours and hours of exercise had kept me firm. The way you'd see rolls would be from bending over in too tight clothes. Kind of like some of these pics.

*All I am saying is that some of these comments are made with little regard to the fact that they are not universal truths.


It probably has much less to do with selling magazines than it has to with selling clothes.

Kali said
"All I know is that they sold me that first sweater and those Guess jeans, and possibly the leopard body suit, too."

1/5/10 10:22 AM
I totally agree!


Why not have them wearing fabulous clothes?


And they still managed to photoshop them.


I absolutely agree with you guys. I am a "plus sized" girl myself and i think that magazines making such a big deal of photographing plus sized girls and only doing it once a year, and then making them look bad on top of it is not very effective. I wish that they could understand the last thing plus sized girls want to show of is their fat rolls.


I love the photos. It is really shocking to read that people don't get it. They photos are meant to show the tummy, rolls and all. Perfect. Just Perfect. Eat skinny people eat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Argh!
Ditto to what you said and to what most of the posters said. Unflattering pictures of beautiful women wearing clothes that do violence to their figures. Many of these photos (the jeans and the last bathing suit especially) could appear in the same magazine under the Fashion Don'ts column.

And while we are at it, can we cut out the "real" women and "women who like women" crap. Cause you know what? I'm a real woman. I'm pretty sure I look like a woman, as no one seems confused when they meet me. But, shoot me, I am a size O or 2.

Not tall. Not gorgeous. Not a model. But I do happen to be thin, and I'm sick and tired of being told that I don't look like a "real woman". Rant over.


If their idea of having a "plus-size" editorial is "look at me, I'm fat," they did a pretty good job.


Solve S. is gorgeous.

I wish it wasn't so novel to see a woman built like her to be celebrated as sexy and beautiful - as many of you have said.

I hope you are right, Gotham Tomato, and these clumsy attempts are just the first wave of a social change.


Ok, well at least these models are um fat? Can I say that? Big? Not the slightly-larger-than-most-models they usually use.

The shoot reminds me of some of the Dove and Cross Your Heart bra magazine ads of the past year or two.

Maybe the reason the photogs always have the bigger models bellies and butts, etc., hanging out is that they aren't used to seeing those body parts? Or maybe that is what they think is beautiful about these models? If curves are so goldanged gorgeous, why not show them? It's no worse than looking at shoulder blades, hipbones, and ribcages, is it?


I'm going to have to agree with later commenters that, no, they don't need "more flattering" clothes. In my opinion, all of these women look great.

More flattering clothes would make their bodies look good by hiding the fact that they're plus-sized, or at least minimizing that fact, when it seems to me that the point of the editorial is that these women and their bodies are gorgeous.


I think the problem is that photographers don't know how to photograph plus sized women, stylists don't know how to dress them and designers don't know how to design great clothes for them, so they all fall into the same old boring cliche of putting large women into ill-fitting slutwear. The funny thing is that the average American woman is a size 12 or 14, these are the very people who are the potential customers for these designers. This is, in my opinion, why the retail industry is in trouble. If you go into any store that sells plus sized clothes (and Lane Bryant is the worst offender), you will find low cut jeans that create muffin tops and plumbers cracks, and virtually every top has large horizontal stripes or isn't long enough to cover the stomach area. The fashion industry needs to get with it.
I loved what you said when you *ahem* "kept your mouths shut." You are so right on, sistahs!


"Yes, but the editorial is about fashion, not fetish.

--GothamTomato"


Women who are around 6 feet tall and wear a size 0-2 are a fetish as well. Let's not pretend that the way models currently look is strictly about fashion.

Duckiegirl, I love your attitude! I absolutely agree that plus size women are ridiculed for wearing clothing that would not be considered too tight, too short or too sexy on a thinner woman.

I think part of the problem here is that a lot of the readers here, plus TLo, are older. You are 23 and looking for something different than most of us who have wander far past the other side of 30.


I think the issue here is that this wasn't a fashion show. I did look through the pictures and all I remember were jeans.

What would be nice is a spread of plus size women wearing nicely tailored suits, form fitting clothes instead of the baggy crap that's available in the market, and some, yeah, actual clothes.

Problem is, these clothes don't exist. Not every plus size women is shaped like a brick but most of the clothes are just that. Also, the models are stunning, are very tall and seem to have hourglass figures. As for stomach rolls, my size zero sister has them. If nothing else gets you, age will.

So, again, if this is a fashion feature I'm a zombie. mmm. brains.


What I don't understand is why weight/overweight/obesity/fatness is THE target of image issues over anything else. I feel like practically every fashion magazine has had some self-congratulatory spread featuring "plus-sized" women billed as "real women."

There are SO many other physical differences between magazine women and "real" women than just weight. I'm not overweight so maybe I just don't understand. But there are so many attributes that women feel self-conscious about & wish they could change about their bodies. Will we ever see a crooked teeth spread? Small boobs spread? Short people spread? Really muscular spread? Tons of attributes other than weight are stigmatized in society & excluded from the model world....

I don't think putting an overweight woman with flawless bone structure, gorgeous hair, perfect teeth, perfect skin etc. etc. says anything about what "real" women look like.


So now we've wandered into ageism? Really?
Jeans in editorials are fine. But fashion doesn't consist solely of jeans.

There's a HUGE difference between something that's too tight and ill fitting and something that's form fitting. There's also a problem when the go to plus sized look is so one note.

You shouldn't look like a What Not To Wear candidate no matter what your size.


Everyone seems to have their own opinion but I think as open minded adults we can all agree on one thing: no two women have the same body and we all come in different shapes and sizes. Making a *special* plus sized editorial is inherently offensive because its separating different body types into categories, which is completely unnecessary. How about they cut the crap, just choose whatever models they think look good for what they're trying to sell and be done with it. Are we really such children that we have to separate women into "waifs" and "real" and "plus sized" and "anorexic"??? I don't think so.


these are so unflattering. blghhh.


"The three things mentioned above were 'tailored', 'flowy' and 'goddess-y', all words that generally also mean 'covered'.

- Duckgirlie"

Not at all. There are flowy, goddess-y dresses and tops that are fabulous and sexy while covering very little. They fit many body types and are perfect for a night out since they have the added advantage of moving beautifully on the dance floor.


"There's a HUGE difference between something that's too tight and ill fitting and something that's form fitting. There's also a problem when the go to plus sized look is so one note.

You shouldn't look like a What Not To Wear candidate no matter what your size.

- MyFawny"

Thank you!

These women have a gorgeous figure, why not put them in something that enhances their hourglass shape?

Ill-fitting clothes create rolls and imperfections when there are none. Party-tight, form fitting clothes enhance and showcase the body. The latter doesn't imply the former.


My initial thoughts when I saw this piece was that these were all really gorgeous women that my little bisexual heart would totally do. Do I wish there were regular editorials with them too? Sure.

And I agree with another poster that these could be skinny women too. Or hey, when are they going to celebrate my size 10 figure with a beautiful butt and barely B boobs? That's one of the things that's always caught my eye about "plus size" models: their boobs always look huge to me! So I look at editorials of skinny women on how to dress my top and something more like this to get ideas about what to wear on bottom.

And I think the rolls are beautiful. And I would love to see more cellulite, because that is definitely the part of my body that I struggle most with accepting.


Anonymous said...
And I think the rolls are beautiful. And I would love to see more cellulite, because that is definitely the part of my body that I struggle most with accepting.



You can't be serious.


"freshhelltexas said: Women who are around 6 feet tall and wear a size 0-2 are a fetish as well. Let's not pretend that the way models currently look is strictly about fashion.

Duckiegirl, I love your attitude! I absolutely agree that plus size women are ridiculed for wearing clothing that would not be considered too tight, too short or too sexy on a thinner woman."




That's not about fetish, that's about selling clothes. The person I was responding too was talking about people being attracted to fat people/fat bodies. That's fetish. Skinny models are not used because people are attracted to them sexually. They are used because of the way they show off the clothes.

And the fact is not every style is wearable by every size - it simply isn't - the same way every style is not wearable by every age. Anyone who doesn't realize this IS going to end up looking like they should be on the Jerry Springer show, fighting over a man with one tooth.

--GothamTomato


Actually, the first thing they need to do is not have the occasional "plus-size model" spread. They need to simply use plus-size models on a regular basis, like it's no big deal (pun very much intended).


OMG OMG OMG OMG
You boys, i dont think, have ever been more right.

If your trying to prove that plus size models are just as good as petit models, then treat them like petit models. Sure, flaunting their curves is great, but they're not really modeling, they're just being spectacles of their size. They're not landing any real modeling jobs, theyre just landing jobs for magazines who want to prove that "theyre accepting". if theyre so accepting, then they should give them regular photoshoots. they dont have "look at me im so skinny" photoshoots, but they have "look at me im so big photoshoots."
i must admit the nude shot was pretty provocative though, it took my breath away for an instant.


i must admit the nude shot was pretty provocative though, it took my breath away for an instant.

Case in point. If your models look better naked than they do wearing the clothes you put them in? You're doing it wrong.


Being in the fashion industry and wearing a size 12, I know why the clothing doesn't fit properly. This shoot didn't feature a designer who custom fit the garments to fit their size.

But this has happened with a Prada YSL Gareth pugh Hussein Chayalan Julie verhoeven , POp magazine issue fall2007, and Beth ditto collaboration.

Photo shoot from the collab:

http://www.fashionista.com/images/entries/BethBeachChair.jpg

http://www.fashionista.com/images/entries/BethTakesALeap.jpg

http://www.fashionista.com/images/entries/BethYSLCoat.jpg

http://www.fashionista.com/images/entries/BethGarethDress2.jpg

http://www.fashionista.com/images/entries/BethChair.jpg

http://www.fashionista.com/images/entries/BethBus.jpg


I think the discomfort we're feeling is the point. What is "flattering," anyway? Look at this like a child. Big girls (all girls! all people!) are awesome, full stop.

This shoot is about owning it.


I don't understand why it always has to be a size 00 or a 16. What about all the millions of women who are size 8? They are emaciated, they aren't fat, just normal size. What's wrong with normal size?


sorry, this is nasty. i dont wanna open a magazine and see models with their fat poking out. theyre curvy and pretty, good for them, but that doesn't mean i want to see them naked or topless with rolls everywhere.


I agree with you completely, and actually so much that I googled the stylist, Nicola Formichetti, and commetned on her blog - her latest blog entry is actually for this shoot too! I would encourage everyone to give her a comment or two, politely.

http://nicolaformichetti.blogspot.com/2009/12/v-magazine-size-issue-out-soon.html


Im 16 and an aspiring model, Im not thin but I'm not plus size. And seeing this made me decide that I don't want to be a plus sized model. I am secure with myself but if my rolls and my stomach are to be what every photographer focus on? I don't think I could handle that.


seems to me plus size models are chosen only for their pretty faces. I don't know how they would sell us high fashion plus-size models since its not all about being pretty as opposed to interesting


I love TLo's analysis.

Dressing larger women in clothes that are too small (and tastelessly revealing) and in poses that are hypersexualized confirms the stereotype of larger women as insatiable- in terms of food appetite and sexual appetite. It screams, "Look these women lack CONTROL." Bah.


"So why not put them in the correct size or in clothes that flatter them?"

So much word.

More than that what bothers me about this kind of thing is it is so often in the vein of "I have black friends so I am not racist." the fat girl version of this is a magazine saying "look at the fat girls! we're totally with the times!" The epitome of this for me was an editor's note in a recent Glamour that ended with something to the effect of "proving that fat girls can have just as many men drool over them as skinny girls!' Bitch, that is still hideously sexist because it is egregiously equating a woman's worth, no matter how big or small, with whether a man wants to put his dick in her. Yuck.


And the fact is not every style is wearable by every size - it simply isn't - the same way every style is not wearable by every age. Anyone who doesn't realize this IS going to end up looking like they should be on the Jerry Springer show, fighting over a man with one tooth.

--GothamTomato

You are dead on!! And that made me laugh. I've been sexy and thin and now I'm fat and this just isn't flattering at all. No one is telling voluptuous or plus size women to wear heavy unflattering clothing. But sorry honey, Beyonce dresses well for the most part. She does not look, at all, like these photos. I work in an office with many young women of many sizes who have not learned how to dress appropriate. If you're a full figured girl and a size 14 you shouldn't be shopping in the juniors section and squeezing yourself into ill fitting clothes. If you're a size 2 I don't want to see your flesh roll over your waste band either. Just like a 45 year old woman shouldn't look desperate and sad dressing like a 20 year old. I'm not fooling myself that I can wear the same clothes I wore several sizes ago.

I didn't find this very flattering to the beautiful women involved (other than the nude). I loved the Crystal Renn Elle photo shoot so much better. My first thought with this was, WTF are they wearing??? It's disappointing.


The first thing I thought when I saw this was, "why do big women always have to be celebrated as SEXY with a capital S-E-X-Y?" As much as I believe in the sexiness of the earth goddess look, can't big women--or fat or normal or however you want to say it--just be seen wearing beautiful, flattering clothes just like normal (aka, not normal) size 0 models are?

And then, TLo went and said exactly what I was thinking.

Then again, I realized something just now: maybe when we (me and TLo, the industry) say "flattering" we mean "skinnier looking." So perhaps this spread is actually trying to redefine the word flattering itself.


What bothers me about these plus-sized shoots is that they rarely have any of the hallmarks of a standard layout. There is no theme here; we start out with jeans and move to a catsuit, lingerie, a nude shot and end up with bathing suits? What about showcasing a designer who has a plus-sized line? Or telling a story? Or clothing for the season? If you just want to take pictures of plus sexy women for the sake of them being overweight, then why not have a series of tasteful nude shots, like number four? MAKE UP YOUR MIND AND HAVE A POINT OF VIEW, like every other photo spread you do is supposed to have.

Agreed to all the people who said why oh why can't we show models of varying sizes in the same shoot (and not in a bizarre comparison after/before way like last week). Then, fat people in a magazine might not be consider a novelty or "edgy" but just business as usual, showcasing clothes that normal people might actually buy.


Anonymous 1/5/10 8:16 PM

The thing is that with more than 95% of all women being larger (and shorter) than then typical anorexic/bullemic model with the body "shape" of pre-pubescent boys, plenty of us are sick of seeing that!

To the skinny gals who seem to be taking offense at the Real Woman tag - and I have not been one of the people using that phrase - when *I* see that phrase, I think they mean normal adult women, in a variety of shapes, heights and sizes - with breasts or bellies or butts. Women not children.

And I disagree with GT that the clothes "hang better" on size 00 - I think clothes look good when they are displayed as they are meant to be worn. If they are not meant to be worn by a "real woman" - again not a stick thin 6' tall child - then they are art not clothes...IMO.


Thank you TLo--you phrased it perfectly. I was wondering if the women had been airbrushed to look bigger, even. The clothes, the poses, etc.--everything seemed deliberately created to make the women look as large and unattractive as possible. I think it would've been a MUCH grander statement to have photographed them looking their beautiful selves. Of course, maybe fashion isn't ready for that statement: if a larger woman can look every bit as beautiful as a size-2, what does that do for the size-2 monopoly on the world of Fashion?


I never have understood this plus size model thing. It's the models job to look a certain way!
It's what they do, it's as if somewhere were to complain about scientists being good at math or something like that. It's nonsensical and i am by no means supporting anorexia or anything. Plus, most of those size 00 models you see are a)16
b)not good models
most of the models getting the most work right now are size 2s. They don't have any sort of problem
Lara Stone right now is probably the model in highest demand, i mean she just got paid 6.5 million dollars for her louis vuitton campaign and she's a size 6. She closes chanel couture and rtw season after season and Karl is a huge supporter of the size 0 ideal of beauty


i'm not dorothy gale

When I think of a curvy, beautiful woman looking sexy and classy I think of our Joan from Mad Men. She wears figure-hugging designs (vintage, but still) that are flattering.

These clothes are awful. You two are absolutely right.


@Minus75, whenever the fashion mags use someone who is a size 8 or 10, they get whined at because these models aren't plus sized or they are still thin or they don't look like real women.

@Notdorothygale, I don't agree that Joan is a good example of a fat (big, curvy, whatever euphemism you want to use) woman dressed right. Maybe that is true of the actress who plays Joan, but poor Joan is encumbered by an 18-hour long line bra and a girdle. She is so bound up that she's practically like Scarlett O'Hara. If one of the hooks on her "foundation" garments gave way, look out.

There are plenty of beautiful women out there who are not 2s. Queen Latifah always looks good. Michelle Obama, though we may not like her fashion choices at times, is attractive and appropriately dressed. Scarlett Johanssen is not a 2, and knows how to dress. Kate Winslet is a fabulously dressed beauty. Kimberly Hudson is often pointed to as a "do" in the way she dresses. Drew Barrymore is a bit curvier and dresses beautifully for the most part.

The sad thing is that fashion is about extremes. A fat model is as much of a novelty as a 40-year-old model or a short model. For whatever reason, and I've heard many theories, the tall, thin, often teenage model is the paradigm and they are very hard to break. I'm over 40 and 5'4" and I never see women who look like me in fashion magazines. And I look good!


Oh, and I also think that the thin models are often photographed and presented scantily clad and unclad. Maybe they just don't look as SEXY (all caps and bold!) because their bodies have fewer of those things we consider "SEXY"--big boobs, hourglass shape, sticking-out butt, shapely legs, etc. IMO they are often posed and dressed provocatively.


I agree, except I want to add "this is gross."


How about a normal woman with an healthy weight?


I'm sorry but a body with rolls of fat should not be dressed like that. The outfits are wrong for these body types.


I absolutely love this spread. To me, it’s empowering & inspiring.


Fashion does not have to portray one extreme to the other. They're either too skinny or slightly overweight.


The clothes are completely ill fitting, what's the point if they're going to look that bad?


Sundsbo later said: “I loved the opportunity to show that you can be beautiful and sexy outside the narrow interpretations that normally define us.”


To me, this photoshoot is a narrow and stereotyped interpretation of what a large woman looks like.


In my opinion, these models are as much sending out the wrong message as size 0 models. Why can't we just have healthy weight models?


They're hot but styled wrong.


I agree with TLo a hundred percent in this case. In this type of editorial they always put plus-size models in unflattering clothes that make them look foolish. These are beautiful, sexy women, but they're not being shown off to advantage.


They are gorgeous but some of the outfits and poses are not flattering at all. I feel that you should dress to show your best feature.


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