Mikimoto Pearl Girls 1972 | Sensual, Beautiful with Clavicle Fat

It’s easy to think these beautiful shots come from a 1972 lingerie campaign, but the images are for Mikimoto pearls and appeared in Vogue UK, October 1972.

We’re struck by the sensuality of the images and also that the pearls are marketed to the woman as part of her personal beauty box. The Mikimoto pearls branding conversation is focused on her intimate self and not pearls as an outward sign of status or successful relationship with the man giving her the pearls.

Presumably there is some airbrushing of the images but little indentations and creases are left; today they would be Photoshopped away today as part of flaw fixing.

To me these 1972 women are beautiful, but they do have fat clavicles — a sign today that a woman lacks self-discipline and self-restraint. She’s not a slut with clavicle fat, but she’s a candidate.

Fatless Clavicles

In May, 2007, the NYTimes wrote

As the rest of women’s bodies recede in spring fashions, the clavicles, or collarbones, and the upper chest between them, is rising to prominence. Toned shoppers who want to show off their self-discipline in the face of dessert are choosing dresses with a low, but not plunging neckline, a look that is transforming the area above the breasts into an unlikely new subject for women to obsess over.

Getting Inside the Naked Arms Debate: Talking Body Image, Does Fashion Suppress Female Libido? AOC May 2010

Basta to Breasts

In Cannes last month the focus was Gwyneth Paltrow and other women wearing plunging V necklines that revealed not only their fatless clavicles but no breasts.

Every effort was made to get rid of their breasts by tucking them away (no cutting them off that I know of) to look more Andrej Pejic, fashion’s current hot role model for a beautiful woman. Readers of FHM just voted transgender, androgynous, enormously-talented Pejic the 98th most beautiful woman in the world.

What impacted me the most about these beautiful Mikomoto images — besides their demure sensuality at a time the women’s rights movement was exploding in America and Europe — is the reality that Karl Lagerfeld’s ‘not an ounce of fat’ proclamation of fashion monasticism had no hold over women in those years.

The talented designer was a hot stylist back then but not the advocate of fashion monasticism on a global scale. Western culture in 1972 was focused on liberating women’s bodies, not putting them in a new, even tighter straight jacket that disavowed pleasure for the sake of fashionable, asexual, upper-class beauty.

We were thrilled to look like these women — a body type that was achievable with sensible eating and exercise.

Fashion and Women’s Liberation

Yes, Twiggy was hot in the ’60s but she insists she ate and was genetically skinny like her dad. Women bought fashion magazines but we weren’t locked on our computers, scrutinizing every detail of models’ modies in a love it/hate it, yes or not, single beauty standard, celeb-saturated world. 

As women our focus was carving out our own identity, not goosestepping to the dictates of the fashion patriarchy.

It’s a given that the rich will always contrast themselves against the poor or middle class to distinguish themselves. Those who want to be mistaken for wealthy and a member of the fashionista crowd will play the part, too.

I argue that the move from an average size 4-6 in models pre Kate Moss (who I love) to size 0 has worked to desexualize women at a time when — like ripe fruit — we were bursting open with pride and celebration over our physicality and sensuality.

We had ideas of buying our own pearls, a goal that threatened the entire gender relations shooting match. It’s tough to imagine that women with bodies like these 1972 females had to be recast as ‘fat, potato chip eating mommies’, but that’s how far we’ve come since 1972.

It’s a dramatic fall and power shift from the end of Christy, Linda, Cindy, Naomi and company.

Give Me the Dames

Because I come out of the world of Victoria’s Secret, have worked and consulted on lingerie and female sexuality for years, and have a hot libido myself, I personally like the old girls better. No desire for a bony clavicle or to be without breasts haunts me in still critical self assessments, when I look in the mirror. (Note, as a 36B I was never endowed anyway. But I like my breasts and see no need to suppress them to look flat-chested. Nor do I believe in bombshelling myself.)

Writing yesterday about John Galliano, I’ve had enough penis envy theory to last a lifetime.  I say ‘bring on the vaginas’.  Anne

images via fashionising