Saturday, 4 June 2011

Vogue Italia's anti-anorexia campaign

To grace the sacred cover of Vogue magazine is often considered as one of the most significant accomplishments in any model's career- Kate, Naomi, Cindy and Gisele have all done it. Several times. But the June edition of Vogue Italia has hit the headlines for attempting something entirely new. For the first time in years, 'normal'-sized women have been put on the cover.

I don't like using the term plus-size, for in reality, these women are not 'plus' anything- they are normal. Nowadays, the average dress size for women is a 14-16 in the UK. Yet the fashion industry still creates clothes suited to a skinnier frame. It is quite simply, an unwritten rule in the fashion world (just like not matching shoes to bags and so on.)

Tara Lynn, Candice Huffine and Robyn Lawley are the glamourous, curvaceous women on the cover of Vogue Italia, subtly accompanied by plates of spaghetti and glasses of red wine, who are attempting to change the world's view on model size. You will even perhaps recognise Tara Lynn from recent H&M Big Is Beautiful advertisements.  They are undoubtedly, and unashamedly, beautiful women and represent the majority of women the world over. But aside from their beauty, why has Vogue chosen to put them on the cover?

Vogue Italia's editor,  Franca Sozzini, has been waging a well-publicised battle against anorexia recently, even having started an online petition to ban pro-anorexia websites. She says that "Fashion has always been blamed as one of the culprits of anorexia, and our commitment is the proof that fashion is ready to get on the frontline and struggle against the disorder" and promises to continue using 'plus-size' models in Vogue Italia more often. And it's not only Sozzini who has had a weighty wake up call. Designers Dolce & Gabbana have dismissed scarily-thin models from their catwalk in favour of shapely women. 

All of this is not before time, in my opinion. Although 'thin' may never be out of fashion, the more pressure that fashion heavyweights such as Vogue and D&G put on the industry, the more changes may be made. However, I feel that this latest campaign is a tad fraudulent. The cover may rightly claim these women are "belle vere" (true beauties) and the accompanying spread inside the magazine may indeed celebrate the curvier women's body, but it doesn't actually show them modelling any clothes. In fact, the majority of the photographs see them either completely or very nearly naked. If it is all supposed to show that real-sized women can model too, they why aren't they actually.. well, modelling?
We all know the the women's body is a beautiful thing, and the shots, which are probably best described 'arty',  do indeed show us this. But in a campaign which is trying to rid the fashion industry of the parasitic view that skinny is best, would it not be better to prove that these 'plus-size' women can wear the clothes just as well as their skeletal counterparts? 

 (All photographs (I've included the least-steamy ones) from Vogue Italia by Steven Meisel.)


  1. I completely agree with you, these models should be modelling clothes and not showing off their (fabulous) bodies. Plus size won't be taken seriously until they are doing the same job as our current models. I personally don't agree with models on the runway that are too big as they don't fit as well in the clothing but they still have a right to be on the covers of Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harpars Bazaar... etc

  2. It's definitely a step in the right direction, although I agree that the job of models is to show the clothing, they also set the standard for beauty, however unfair and unrealistic that standard. After years of size zero being forced upon us as the current standard of beauty, it's a huge and positive step in the right direction to show normal sized women in Vogue. This seems less about the clothes and more about the statement of how women are beautiful, and it's very healthy for all women who have felt the pressure of the unrealistic size zero trend on our shoulders to see these lovely curvy women being celebrated. It's about time!

  3. I also completely agree with you! These women are normal, and beautiful, and I'm glad an effort is being made to show that. But at the same time, I agree that they should be modeling clothes, and not only near-naked to make a point. I agree with Ruby's comment above, so-called plus size models won't be taken seriously until they're given the same job as size 0 models.
    Great post.

  4. thanks for the lovely compliment my dear <33
    p.s. I LOVEEE these photos from Vogue Italia! they're sexy and show real bodies. Adore it!

  5. I am so happy they did that,I love all those pictures from Vogue Italia,your post is great!

  6. i absolutely love curvy models! they rock the outfit just as good as skinny models

    Thanks for following! i'm following u now too :3



leave me a lil message if you're cool. they make me feel special