Is this evidence of human progress or of human dismay?
The first image is of “Lucy” the female hominid who lived 3.2 million years ago and her full-scale model was inspired by the structure of her skeletal remains.
The next image is an unnamed model from the Spring/Summer 2006-07 Pasarela Cibeles fashion show in Madrid September 21, 2006 and is created by the flesh and bones of high fashion.
Does anyone other than me find Lucy the more sensually alluring woman?
Personally I do not find either of them alluring – however I do welcome the move by Milan Fashion week to use more realisitcally sized women.
” Weekend previews at Milan opened with the work of Italian designer Elena Miro featuring size 14 and 16 models, the average size for a woman. All were curvaceous.
Fashion writer Laura Asnaghi said: “They were a joy to watch. They were sensual and sexy and most of all had f lesh on them, which was fantastic.î Miro’s show is opening the week which today also features collections by Dolce & Gabbana and Giorgio Armani. Among the models at the Miro show was 20-yearold Valentina Mezzetti, a size 14. ”
Hi Nicola —
Of the two choices I provided, I prefer Lucy as the more alluring than the unnamed.
Throughout the history of high fashion, runway models have been skinny. Designers don’t want bodies, they want living hangars to show off their clothes in movements.
Requiring non-thin models by law, I fear, is a quaint, but fleeting, politically correct idea because the big names in fashion won’t tolerate any restrictions on their creativity and all the big shows will just move to countries that don’t bind their wishes to bigger bodies because the people who buy couture dresses are the same size and shape as the hangars modeling the wares!
I suspect you are right – how they rise to the challenge of a population that is getting bigger physically ( now the average im UK is UK size 14/16 ) remains to be seen – I suspect they will ignore it. I guess it is naieve to think they are getting real at last.
Yes, I don’t think high fashion has ever been about reality. It is about an ideal that only a few in the world can reach — that’s why we have the abysmally bony models. The big designers will leave dressing the big masses to Lane Bryant:
I have shopped there on my visits over the pond – not so good if you are short and stout !
Oh, that’s interesting, Nicola! Did you find a store you liked better?
I found some of the best clothes I bought were from New Hope ( North West of Warminster PA ) . Lane Bryant are streets ahead of what we have in the UK – we have Evans – which again suits the taller/ larger woman but not with Lane Bryants flair.
None of them seems to be very appealing – at least visually/sensually.
The concept of ‘uni-dimensional’ figure in the so called ‘high-fashion’ field just repulses me. How come the girls only are supposed to be ‘pencil slim’ in the ‘high fashion’ arena? They can be good ‘models’ as anorexia-victim.
Hi Nicola —
It’s interesting you feel Lane Bryant has “flair” — because it is commonly known here as “The Fat Girl Store” and while they provide professional clothes that fit bigger woman there are few women who are happy or proud to shop there.
Some women who lose a lot of weight will never return to Lane Bryant after the weight loss — even though they may need to in order to find a shirt that will fit a large bust on a slimmer body — because to shop at Lane Bryant is to mean you are still fat.
I know neither of them may be appealing — but of the two available choices provided…
High fashion is about the clothes, not the person. You are buying the movement of the clothes not the body wearing them so, in the designer’s mind, you want the smallest and thinnest available profile to best show off your clothes. The model is an afterthought.
Think of it like a pro football team where you need to over 250 lbs. to play or a pro basketball team where you need to be over six feet six inches to expect to do well. Fashion modeling is the opposite end of that unfair body requirement stick.
I must add this was 9/10 years ago ……….. and compared to what was available here in the UK they had colour and flair !
Sounds as though they share the same reputation as Evans do here.
I agree they seem to share a sad reputation — and isn’t that awful! I think they’re smart to build bigger, more beautiful clothes than were previously available because there’s a lot of gold there for harvesting. I’d wager there are more overweight people in the UK and the USA than there are stick-thin ones.
Larger women 30 years ago here were dressing in polyester pantsuits in neon colors and large-print floral muumuus and none of it was by choice. There was nothing else for them to wear!
One would think that the market is there – perhaps it is the designers that are not.
One could say that the current designing talent cannot rise to the challenge of dressing anything other than a coat hanger !
Please dont mention floral and polyester in the same sentance.
It was like that 25 years ago when I was pregnant with my first daughter – and no I am not going to look out the photographs.
It’s the stigma of being overweight, Nicola, that drives women into the polyester fields and the “shame” of shopping at Lane Bryant but who is applying the stigma and is it earned and why is it accepted?
It’s funny there’s a stigma attached when one could argue the majority of men and women in the UK and USA are overweight!
Stigmatizing the majority is a fascinating cultural cudgel and breaks so many norms and expectations of behavior it wallops the mind!
I’ll take her, Dave!
She is the much more real woman to me than the other plastic choice!
I have to go with Lucy for the body proportions.
I’m not just saying that to be politically correct, either. Most fashion models are way too thin and just aren’t appealing to me.
A woman with some hips and larger breasts is always visually more appealing than a heroin-chic thin model who looks like she is starving to death.
Our minds instinctively gravitate to the “healthier” woman. It is our society that appauds the women in showbiz and the modeling world whose bones and ribs are showing as their muscle dissolves from imposed starvation.
Marilyn Monroe’s measurements were 37C-23-36.
Look at the women who are popular in the African-American community and Hip-Hop industry: Buffie “The Body” Carruth has measurements of 34-27-45 and Esther Baxter with 34-24-40.
Compare that with caucasian models Kate Moss with 33-23-35 or Giselle Bundchen at 36-24-35.
The new white models are skinnier than America’s favorite sex symbol Marilyn Monroe! But, the trend isn’t affecting the African-American women held in great esteem by many in society.
Says Buffie Carruth about the new acceptance of larger and curvier women:
I’m not so sure about the “Universal Theory of the Big Butts” — I was raised in the lily-white Midwest and most of the guys I knew wanted big boobs and a tiny butt.
I didn’t really “feel” the big-butt phenomenon until I moved to the East Coast and saw my Black friends salivating over what I was raised to believe was an overtly fat woman with a gigantic booty.
I realize women with big butts will say all men — every man — wants that just in the same way I’m sure Kate Moss and Giselle claim all men — even man — wants them in the same way.
I do think Lucy looks healthier than her current-day counterpart — isn’t that sad and wild?!
As Buffie says, people always deny that which they secretly adore, but are not willing to admit. 🙂
It sounds like she’s a predestiny believer as well: There’s a plan but we can’t tell you the plan until your plan happens!
I’ve never been secret about any of my adorations.
I missed the whole predestination discussion from the other day. 🙂
It might not even be that you are keeping it secret. It’s just latent and has only been revealed in a small part by your comparison of Lucy with the modern heroin-chic model.
Pretty soon, you’re model of beauty will be J-Lo and Beyonce, as it should be 😉
Harr! I wish Dr. Freud were still alive today so he could write about: “Latent Big Butt Admiration and the Lily White Male Ego!”
I am much more inclined today to a curvy woman than I was growing up. I prefer to have a body that is different than mine. It curious and interesting how the “ideal” female model body has the look and structure of a starving little boy!
“Obsesion with anything in Traditional Chinese Medicine hinders the ability to digest, and actually leads to problems with fatigue, metabolism, and weight. Obsession about appearance or worry about the shape of one’s body because it doesn’t conform to mass media images of beauty is no exception.
Small breasts, round bellies, thick waists, ample hips, generous thighs, soft yet strong arms have been found beautiful by artists for hundreds of years. . . and are still attractive now. “
I wonder what the ideal will be in a hundred years.
Hi A S!
I had to delete your URL because it was too long and I couldn’t even grab it to edit it. You can always run those long URLs through tinyurl.com to get something that will better fit your post.
I think the current obsession is to always be obsessed by something and then we get sick because of the obsession and then we obsess over our sickness!
I do think the future will hold a breaking moment when the ideal of beauty becomes larger and fuller because that’s the way the world is exploding – at least in the West and Near East.
Thanks for the tip. Here’s the shortened URL http://tinyurl.com/ljyug for those that actually wish to know where I pulled the quote.
Perhaps the reason society values thinness today is because of its rarity. Rubies and Sapphires are more valuable because the supply is limited.
Obsessing for the sake of obsessing? Interesting, but how can one escape once caught in the cycle?
I’ve heard from several sources that the current trend for models in high fashion is moving towards androgyny which may perhaps explain the “starving little boy” look.
I wonder if the boy-skinny fashion models have anything to do with the desires of the fashion designers and what type of body they prefer, rather than that of a “real woman” who better fits the measurements of the majority of potential fashion buyers?
It seems that many of the fashion models are made-up and dressed in ways that don’t make them attractive to the majority of people. How many “real life women” do you see wearing the same styles that are seen on the catwalks in Paris and Milan?
From Fashion and Eroticism:
I wonder if the ultra-skinny models who look like young boys with their androgynous looks are the women who are most pleasing to the eyes of fashion designers and not necessarily anyone else?
Keep an eye on Africa for fashion inspiration, from what I’ve been reading while doing a little research about 2007 fashion predictions:
Maybe a refocus of our fashion sense will allow a new thought about feminine beauty that will allow the “real” women onto the catwalks!
“High fashion models are generally 5 ft 9 in to 6 ft tall and are a very thin size 0–4 (105–107 lb for a 5 ft 9 in model). They generally have 32–35″ busts, 22–25″ waists and 33–36″ hips.”
Looks like even Barbie would be too top heavy to make it in the industry. If the camera’s supposed to add 10 Lbs., I wonder how these women appear in person.
Well done, A S! Now if you had just clicked on the URL to get out of the frame you would have had this URL go directly to your source:
I keep waiting for John Ashcroft to step forward and drape Lucy and your beautiful women!
I think the reason people are pulled to thin is not only because it is perceived as being more beautiful, but because it is also generally a healthier body type.
It will be interesting to see if “real women” are ever allowed on a High Fashion runway. Have they ever been allowed?
Hi A S —
Well, Barbie is another wronged beast. If you “blow her up” to regular dimensions of a real woman you get something that looks like an overblown hooker!
Look at the two women — Esther Baxter & Maliah Michel — on this month’s cover of Black Men Magazine.
These beauties would never be given a chance to grace the fashion runways because of their curves, but represent a beauty standard that inspires millions of men and women.
Hi David and AS:
Barbie was modeled on a German “professional services expert,” according to Salon:
Hi Chris —
There is definitely a “mainstream” ideal of what belongs on major media covers. It’s the ancient Westernized idea of beauty that still influences us today.
Your history of Barbie is interesting, Chris, and it goes against the general history of the doll:
Be wary of changing what nature has given to keep up with the latest fads about beauty notions.
Here’s a warning about plastic surgery gone bad:
It’s a lesson that we should be happy with what we have because the alternative could be worse!
Askimet grabbed my “ouch” inducing plastic surgery news story that shows what can happen when humans focus too much on beauty.
I don’t believe that “real women” / the average women would ever grace the High Fashion runway as the clothes were not designed for “real” or average sized women.
While the average woman may be size 14-16 as Nicola mentioned, how would the average woman’s paycheck cover the $10,000 and up price tags on these high fashion / couture dresses? How would these dresses fit in the average woman’s hectic lifestyle?
the stick figure on the right looks like a trophy, alright. but she also looks like she’s got that boy figure going on – ie not much of a pelvis for childbirthing. i mean, if you’re gonna pick a woman, you wanna pick the one who looks like she can actually give birth without breaking like a wishbone, doncha?
i wonder if that attraction to that slim twiggy boyish look is not some deep seated freudian thing – i mean, a woman who’s flat chested and has no curves looks like a child …
David said, “I’m not so sure about the ‘Universal Theory of the Big Butts’ — I was raised in the lily-white Midwest and most of the guys I knew wanted big boobs and a tiny butt.”
I guess I’m glad I wasn’t raised in the Midwest. In the places where I grew up, most guys didn’t want boobs at all.
You mean on women.
(Sorry. Couldn’t resist.)
I think to many “penis” references and Akismet will be on you forever!
I agree plastic surgery is best left to those who are truly disfigured and it should not be used for sport or entertainment as it is today.
A S —
I agree High Fashion is more about creating expensive art than meeting the clothing needs of the masses.
I agree there is a homoerotic element in those bony, boy-like bodies and the men who are attracted to that stick form version of a “woman.”
I guess we know where you’re coming from!
Since a lot of fashion designers are gay, it goes without saying that their preference would be for boylike figures, right?
Ugh I see your point.
In the name of beauty or fashion, women have become so unnatural and sort of disgusting looking.
I much prefer a woman who does not starve herself or physically alter her appearance to be accepted as the norm or as “attractive” in our society.
Welcome to Urban Semiotic, camille!
I, too, much prefer a natural woman with a natural body and no fake things added. 😀