Karl Lagerfeld has once again conveniently forgotten that he used to be fat and decided to moan about the use of normal women in magazines. “No one wants to see curvy women,” said the designer, on hearing the news that Brigitte, one of Germany’s top-selling magazines, was making a move to include ‘real’ women on its pages rather than professional models. This isn’t the first time the Kaiser has whined about bigger women, either. When he created a line for H&M, he complained about his clothes being made up to a size 16, stating he designed only for slim women. Well, Karl, we seem to remember you cosying up to Beth Ditto at one of your shows not so long ago…
So where to begin addressing this pile of nonsense?
Firstly, and most importantly, people do want to see curvy women. This website – started up after I worked on a mainstream fashion website and was constantly approached for help for dressing curves – proves that. And as I have said time and time again, curvy does not always mean fat. It definitely doesn’t mean ugly. It means natural, shapely, normal. Curvy can just as easily be attributed to a UK size 12 as a UK size 22. Nobody’s suggesting that Brigitte are suddenly going to fill their pages with obese housewives in high fashion (though if they did, good on ’em), despite Largerfeld moaning that “You’ve got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly.” The magazine is simply taking a stand against the impossible ideal that the fashion press has promoted up to this point. Brigitte’s editor-in-chief told The Guardian, “For years we have had to use Photoshop to fatten the girls up, especially their thighs and decolletage. But this is disturbing and perverse, and what has it got to do with our real reader?”
I think this is a fantastic step forward, hot on the heels of Glamour US’s use of a plus size model in an article about body confidence. These magazines are recognising their audience and targeting them (something that will undoubtedly shift more copies in a recession, and who can blame them for that). If just a handful of magazines started using healthy UK size 10 – 16 models on their pages instead of emaciated size 4 ones, the world would be a better place. If we start seeing some more women in magazines who look like the women we see in real life on a daily basis, perhaps all of us will get a much-needed confidence boost and be inspired to live a healthier life. As someone who is only slightly overweight, I look at women in magazines now and think “I could never look like that”. I would love to look at them and think “Hmmm, maybe one day!”
Lagerfeld argues that people don’t want to see curvy women because fashion should be about “dreams and illusions”. Fair enough, I’m not going to pretend I don’t love a catwalk show full of ethereally beautiful women in frocks that could never be worn in real life. But I can safely say that this is not my dream, nor will it ever be. My dream looks a hell of a lot more like this; someone who is curvy, healthy and beautiful inside and out.
Unlike Karl Lagerfeld.
[Lagerfeld doll via Dazed Digital]