Two sets of images dramatically illustrate how fashion has redefined fat bodies. This Cindy Crawford editorial, lensed by Patrick Demarchelier for Vogue US June 1991 issue shows the Supermodel size 4-6 US ‘pinup’ body that was the vision of beauty in those years.
It’s so difficult for me to look at these images of Cindy Crawford and see her as fat or ‘plus size’, which I know is defined differently in the fashion model industry than in retail size assortments. As Crawford has said many times, none of the great Supermodels would get hired today.
This series of images of Emily Baker lensed by Dima Hohlov show today’s ideal fashion model woman.
Hailing from Matamata in rural New Zealand comes captivating kiwi Emily Baker. Already a recognizable face back home, thanks to appearances in local magazines 1am and Fashion Quarterly, the 16-year-old lithe Libran has world domination in her sights—starting with New York Fashion Week.
Jezebel enters the forray today with a blistering rant Women’s Fitness Magazines Are Bullshit.
We’ve long suspected that “fitness” is secret ladymagcode for “neurotic thinness,” and a perusal of three of this month’s “health” and “fitness” offerings — Self, Fitness, and— has shown that there’s some serious subliminal self-worth eroding shit going on. Readers are sold the idea of being healthy and strong and fit and end up with a stack of weight loss ads and splashy graphics about having pretty hair. The pervasive “lose weight” message is fed to us like a dog pill slathered in peanut butter, and we’re expected to just take it and go happily scampering off.
I go back and forth with Jezebel, because I never read them actually acknowledging that America’s obesity problem is a national health issue. Jezebel’s mantra is that cake is good for you whereas women in Italy, France, Scandinavia, Brazil, Argentina and China — to just get started — know that a little cake goes a long way.
Jezebel never writes that sugar is addictive or that fast food shrinks the critical thinking faculties of our brains.
Today’s Jezebel rant does make the key point that I find to be the linchpin view of the fashion industry. Morning Gloria writes her list of key messages coming out of health and fitness magazines:
Never stop wanting to be smaller than you are. Your ultimate goal should be to shrink to the point of complete invisibility. We should not be able to see you when you turn to the side.
Bingo! Now you’re talking Morning Gloria.
Is Crystal Renn Just a Bit Hypocritical?
When Crystal Renn speaks out about her losing weight again, insisting that she is healthy and now feels pressured by the public and the media to be a plus-size model — meaning 4-6 and not the size 2 that her model card says — she is only half right.
I’ve defended Renn’s right to be a healthy woman at whatever size she chooses. I became a bit disenchanted, however, listening to her new Models.com video.
As Renn lost weight last year and especially when she appeared in Chanel’s St Tropez show, I thought she was on her way to becoming the glamorous Cindy Crawford, Stephanie Seymour, Naomi Campbell pinup girl.
Today I agree with Michael Gross, author of ‘Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women’, who told ABC News:
“She has cashed in on gaining weight and now she’s losing weight,” he told ABCNews.com. “I don’t know whether it’s hypocrisy … but it’s worth making an observation about.”
Watching Crystal Renn all but lick Karl Lagerfeld’s German boots in the Models.com video, I’m removing her as a positive voice for Anne of Carversville readers trying to come to grips with a healthy body relationship.
Crystal Renn is a beautiful woman who is dazzled by being a fashion model. I believe she actually agrees that a woman cannot be too thin — which is her prerogative.
On this issue our AOC philosophy is clear. I believe that the Supermodels like Cindy Crawford were too hot to handle. The fashion patriarchy doesn’t believe in sensual women just as the Vatican doesn’t. This argument is about power and sexual politics, not fashion.
Karl Lagerfeld is on record saying that hot sexuaity is not a good thing even in marriage or a partnership. Sex is best with prostitutes while women cultivate our minds in a monastic relationship with pleasure. Therefore, the curves must go — just as radical Islam says ‘get under your burqa’ because you will burn in hell exposing your flesh.
Lagerfeld admits that he was crushed by the AID epidemic and the toll it took on creative people. I argue that women have paid the price for that backlash, too.
Chanel Renn Interview Special
With the evolution of monotheism, men have sought to control women’s bodies. Today in Congress, the men are debating a new law that leaves a pregnant woman to die in an emergency room, rather than give her a legal abortion.
Body size is about politics, and today’s ideal woman is so thin that she couldn’t kick an ounce of butt if she tried. Her toe would break. There is no room in today’s fashion world for a bit of strong woman muscle lust, because a healthy woman is a threatening, independent woman.
Some members of the fashion patriarchy can’t tolerate that possibility. This entire discussion is just about making women invisible, as Jezebel argues with passion today.
I’ve made every excuse that I can think of about why fashion is naturally embracing a thinner woman as luxury brands move to Asia. And you’re never heard me argue that fashion media is wrong for not filling their pages with size 12 women, even if the world is gaining weight.
When Karl Lagerfeld argues in public that muscles must be avoided at all cost and a woman’s ribs should be showing as a sign of her beauty, I can’t support that message. This is different than saying such a woman isn’t beautiful or healthy.
We stand firm that the confident, healthy, size 4-6 90’s Supermodels were the best role models for American women. I can’t imagine that any of them would have sounded as breathless as Crystal Renn does in her new Ford Model video.
I am so glad Renn had her Miss America Chanel moment in St. Tropez. I’ll take Cindy Crawford any day. The Supermodels models didn’t begin to know how to kiss butt with such reverence. Anne
Remaining images of Cindy Crawford’s Patrick Demarchelier Vogue US Juna 1991 editorial.
Cindy Crawford images via Ru_Glamour