While we were busy going gaga over the plus-sized issue of Vogue Italia a few weeks ago, a bona fide plus-size model was busy being analytical about it. Velvet D’Amour, an American model who’s walked for Jean Paul Gaultier and John Galliano, spoke pretty frankly about the implications of the issue. And to hear her tell it, those lovely Steven Meisel photos were pretty, but not revolutionary.
In an interview with Frockwriter, D’Amour talked about everything from the health of plus sized models to whether or not the shoot in question actually does anything for fashion. D’Amour says it’s good to see women bigger than your average runway rail make it into magazines, but that the industry still has a lot of catching up to do.
Mainstream folk seem to take offense to the fact that the models included are even deemed PLUS, when they are more ‘average’ size women, and others discuss a sense of exploitation, a lack of actual ‘fashion’, and then the inevitable health debate, while many are quite simply thrilled by it.
The way I see it is, that we need fashion to catch up to women of size, in order to make a stunning FASHION orientated editorial. If you were to take the average Vogue Italia editorial, and attempt to dress these same models in the clothes, best of luck to the stylist to find their size.
And it shouldn’t have to be that way — fashion really should cater to women of all shapes and sizes. But D’Amour blames the huge importance of advertising for the way models are presented in magazines.
Fashion is innovative, tumultuous and it’s not meant to stagnate. Sameness is born of the dependence fashion magazines have on advertisers, who tend to be the very last people to take risk (due to the amount of money involved). It is this unlikely marriage of two opposing yet dependant components which has stagnated the blossoming of fashion, and in turn, its’ muses.
D’Amour says the idea that those muses can’t be anything but very thin women is ridiculous, especially when the opposing argument is that larger models pose a health concern.
The reality that cultural pressures are one of the factors involved in eating disorders cannot be dismissed, though the notion that someone leafing through a magazine witnessing a plus size model has a sudden urge to down several thousand pizzas in the hopes of gaining a few pounds, is rather laughable at best. Were the inclusion of plus size models to spur viewers to gain weight, the inverse of that logic would mean (given the dearth of rail thin models in magazines), that the entire world would be emaciated, versus fat.
And while it’s justifiable to be concerned about both obesity and eating disorders, we see D’Amour’s point: fashion should be for everyone, and to herald one issue of a magazine as the start of a revolution of inclusion is shortsighted and, ultimately, wrong.