Sunday, April 13, 2008

nu waif

kate moss, amber valleta, shalom harlow

adina forizs, magdalena frackowiack, suvi koponen

the debate on skinny models is sadly, an issue that i don't think is going to end any time soon. although it's a cliche to say that the most constant thing about fashion is change, it could also be argued that fashion also has a cyclical nature. in these days when styles and time periods are always constantly referenced to give birth to new ideas, the business of modelling, just happens to be another casualty. the fact of the matter is, and this is putting it very bluntly, clothes just looks better on skinnier people. i'm not saying that i totally agree with that, i'm one that actually thinks sophie dal looked a million times better when she was heavier. its just that designers like using skinny girls because they want the closest thing they can get to their sketches. i dont know of any designers who sketches a more full figured drawing. the fashion that is presented is an idealized form of perfection. an idea that has been nurtured not just by fashion, but also by media, cultural values, social expectations, and a host of dozens of other factors. while it was british model leslie "twiggy" hornby during london's swinging sixties that catapulted the lithe "waif" aesthetic to the collective consciousness, the demand for skinny models was already in demand more than a decade earlier. top fifties couture model lisa fonssagrives had an unbelievable seventeen inch waist and carried her own tape measure to prove it (thanks for the little gem of a trivia bobble bee). after the popularity of mod fashion began to wain, a healthier aesthetic began to emerge and in the seventies, the wholesome, natural beauty of models like cheryll tiegs and jerry hall became the acme of beauty only to be surpassed by the glamazons of the supermodel era of linda evangelista, christy turlington, and naomi campbell. but just as trends go, a sort of backlash followed the supermodel phenomenon. suddenly the over the top image of highly paid models reached its peak and a new idea of beauty that came with the minimalist nineties began to take shape. the emergence of the waif movement, with its girlish features was in many ways, a cleansing process to erode the pile up that occured in the eighties. designers were looking for girls who was the antithesis to the unapproachable perfection of the supermodels and the girls like kate moss, amber valletta, and shalom harlow epitomized everything the supermodels were not. they were a little awkward, with slim unwomanly bodies in comparison to naomi's physical perfection, and they possesed a sense of distance between high fashion. these appeared to be real girls. girls that were not born with a perfect hour glass figure but girls who had more "realistic" bodies. however the public didn't see it that way and models like kate who was suddenly everywhere, were soon labeled anorexic by the public because they believed that she wasn't setting a good example for young girls. it happened too fast for the public to understand why these models became in demand when they did nor was time for the the world to realize the symbolism they represented at that moment. as much ruckus the public outrage caused, it eventually subsided and kate, shallom, and amber continued to experience a very successful carreer in modelling even when the brazillian bombshells spearheaded by giselle and her infamous body dominated the catwalks in the beginning of the millennium. recently however, the debate on so called "skinny" models began to resurface. i was never really against "skinny" models because i grew up on kate, amber and shalom and i actually never found them to be that skinny because i've seen girls in my high school, including my sister be that thin and know for a fact they weren't starving. but i must admit, there are a new crop of girls that i see that is quite disturbing. and finding out that the standard modeling size today has dropped to a size zero, that blows my mind. fine be a size zero when you're four foot eleven, but not when you're six feet tall. i know those new girls are healthy because otherwise they can't keep up with their demanding lifestyle but its just not appealing. nor does it represent a healthy body image. how can fashion which is supposed to provide a tangible fantasy by achieving the highest level of beauty fulfill its goal when its represented by emaciated looking girls? and after all the hullabaloo that followed kate when she first came out, why is there not that much being said now? i know certain cities have banned "skinny" models and even karl lagerfeld sent models packing from his channel spring collection for being too skinny, but there are still people out there that perpetuates this alarming idea of beauty. when a model like ali michael gets sent home for gaining five pounds and someone like olga sherrer who is i hate to say skeletal gets to open lanvin, a show ali opened only over a year ago, something is just not right.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks for share.