Fall 2010 Collections | A Mighty Chink in Fashion's Body Image Debate

There are only a few designers who truly understand ‘womanly’ at any age. Marc Jacobs is such a designer, along with Miuccia Prada.

Watching video from last week’s Louis Vuitton show in Paris, I went looking for this photo, from the Marc Jacobs Spring 2008 collection. Jacobs took aim then at what I call New Eroticism and Smart Sensuality.

Conceptually, these trends express ‘sexy’ from a woman’s point of view. Writing about Marc Jacobs’ namesake collection here in New York, I said:

Jacobs was thinking out loud this spring… giving us insights into the surreal double bind that women find themselves in … living in a hypersexualized atmosphere that loves to condemn experienced women. Jacobs embraced these Elizabeth Taylor sensual prototypes.

Modesty on the front; revelation on the back. 

The Jacobs models appear older and more mature, sophisticated . .. and then totally irreverent, flashing their backsides walking by. This is the mystery of an older, seasoned woman … one more in control of her own presentation and packaging.

Design is frequently a continuum, in spite of the constant pressure for something new in stores. Seeds of Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton for Fall 2008 woman exist in Spring 2008.

There’s no irreverence for Fall 2010. Just a major celebration of updated womanhood.

I smiled looking at the Louis Vuitton collection, because an hour ago, I met these Gil Elvgren pin up girls at Voyons Voir.

The Elvgren photos are way too tame for Private Studio. But they celebrate a woman who was — the hourglass shape of a woman who has breasts and hips. She’s fertile, female and no matter what the God guys say, she’s not immoral in her womanliness.

If the Raph Lauren photoshop fiasco accomplished anything for American women, it’s to start a dialogue about why fecund women aren’t runway worthy.

Writing about the body types of Victoria’s Secret models last week, and their appearance in the Prada show, it’s true that the more voluptuous bodies fill out the clothes. The woman wears the dress and not vice versa.

The challenge of selling fashion shouldn’t be to force women to fit into your clothes if she must be a coat hanger, stop menstruating and lose her fertility to make mostly-male designers happy.

What’s intriguing about our curated Private Studio posts, I assure you that the thinnest woman doesn’t get the most page views — consistently. This fact comfirms multiple research studies that it’s fashionista women, media and fashion designers who insist that beautiful women have a BMI of 17.

Perhaps we’re made a small dent in that assumption in the Fall 2010 collections. Thin as a rail was still the predominant style, but Marc Jacobs and Miuccia Prada are in the top 5 designers. Backed by the provocative conversation going on at V Magazine and the success of Lara Stone, there may be a chip, if not a gouge, in our evolving vision of women’s beauty.  

We’ll share photos and commentary in a few days, but enjoy the Style.com video, with Marc Jacobs talking about the Louis Vuitton Fall 2010 collection, a full-blown celebration of womanhood. Anne

See Louis Vuitton Fall 2010 ad campaign and Brigitte Bardot in ‘God Creates Woman’, LV’s inspiration for the clothes. 

Ralph Lauren Celebrates the End of American Women’s Sexuality

Just Say ‘No’: Programming Your Brain to Hate Size Zero Fashion Ads