View Full Version : Haute Couture S/S '08

24th January 2008, 18:00
The twice-yearly couture shows are the only time that I ever even glance at so-called "high" fashion, just as the Olymics are the only time that many people who don't care for sports actually tune in to sports programming. I feel revulsion at the fashion industry's use of particularly malnourished models in these shows, but I'm always curious to see if anything might turn up that could be adapted for the plus aesthetic.

Most of this season's offerings exhibit the typical shopworn androgynous minimalism, but two designers produced at least a couple of pieces that are genuinely feminine, and would look attractive on fuller-figured models.

The prettiest item of all comes from the Christian Lacroix collection. It has the look of flower petals opening:


Now just imagine if this dress were exhibited by a curvaceous model instead. The design at the bust reminds me of the cut of Kailee O'Sullivan's famous sitting-in-the-grass image:


Instead of a protruding ribcage and a jutting clavicle, a model like Kailee or Kelsey or Christina would show soft fullness at the neck and chest, and would fill the gown with buxom contours, which would harmonize with the gentle beauty of the design.

The following Lacroix dress has a vintage quality, which is eminently suitable for the Old World beauty of plus-size models -- who would display full, shapely legs, rather than the sticks that extend beneath the hem of the dress in this picture:


Many of the Lacroix looks also featured attractive floral headpieces, as this image shows (attractive makeup artistry too):


The other designer who created a number of looks exhibiting traces of timeless beauty was Valentino, who is apparently set to retire. (One wishes that his replacement would stop starving the company's models -- not likely.)

Here's a dress that would look perfect on a plus-size model. The way in which the design wraps tightly to the upper half of the body would look gorgeous on a model who actually had a body. Attractive, delicate floral print:


The next picture is notable, not for the dress, but for the lovely bow in the hair. It would be wonderful if ribbons and bows and floral hair accessories returned to popularity in the future, as such accessories would enhance the beauty of today's plus-size goddesses particularly well -- just as they adorned great beauties in past centuries.


But the most interesting Valentino items were two creations in the spirit of Lillian Russell -- and it has never been more apparent that you need someone with Lillian Russell's figure to make her signature style attractive:


The dress is lovely, the hat is as charming as anything Lillian ever wore in her images, but all I can see when I look at this picture is the model's grotesque, cadaverous ribcage and skull-like face. She truly looks like a dressed-up corpse; the effect is a horror show. I can't understand how anyone can make the ridiculous claim that plus-size models "distract" from the clothing, when in these images, it's the severe malnourishment of the models that wholly fixes the eye, completely obscuring the beauty of the clothing. Starvation is distracting. That purple trim at the neckline would look lovely if it framed the buxom beauty of a full-figured model, but on this cadaver, it only draws the eyes towards her wizened frame.

The same effect ruins the following look as well, which would otherwise be the prettiest piece in Valentino's collection. The print is enchanting, the ribbons adorable, the hat an ornate masterpiece (even if the photographer caught it at the wrong angle -- from the front instead of from an angle (it's not supposed to cover the face)). But the bones sticking out of the top of the dress again turn beauty into ugliness, and make the picture a freak show.


This remains the deplorable practice of the fashion industry. Its creations, mostly awful, are occasionally punctuated by flashes of beauty, but it's all completely ruined by the severe -- and, as we know, life-threatening -- emaciation of the models who wear the garments.

The same looks could be presented with far greater success on plus-size models, who would not only make the dresses more attractive and sell the clothing even better than today's skeletons do, but would do so without fostering eating disorders among young women worldwide.

25th January 2008, 02:14
The clothes are pretty, the models are NOT. Fashion may change from season to season, but starvation is always mandated. This cannot be tolerated any more. Something must be done to end this industrys tyranny over generations of young women.

The flip side is, it disappoints me to see how often plussize models fail to take advantage of their test shoots to show off really pretty dresses like those we see here. Just as these malnourished couture models look WRONG in such feminine designs, so plussize models look out of place in modern minimalist, androgynous clothing. On the rare occasions when full-figured feminine models and romantic feminine fashions come together, the results are magical. I wish it would happen more often.