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M. Lopez
9th March 2012, 08:24
A couple of news items from Australia indicate how complicated the designer/agency situation is. Anyone who claims that it's all the fault of the designers, and that agencies are not complicit in foisting the anorexic, tanorexic standard on society, is ill informed. Both parties are guilty.

Here, however, is an example of a designer who is adopting a more traditionally feminine aesthetic. Dita von Teese is launching a lingerie line in Australia, and she rejected a host of models whom the agencies offered her, because the girls were too thin.

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/entertainment/lingerie-queen-dita-von-teese-rebels-against-skinny-models/story-e6fredpu-1226292963457

The case in a nutshell:

Lingerie Queen Dita Von Teese rebels against skinny models

March 08, 2012

BURLESQUE queen Dita Von Teese has rejected at least 12 aspiring lingerie models for being too skinny.

Von Teese spoke out yesterday after two days of auditioning models for Saturday night's Target Von Follies on Docklands' Central Pier runway.

"Of course I want to show all different types and more voluptuous girls," she said.

"The times where we said no to models were mostly when they were too skinny.

"We gave a lot of models the axe for being too skinny - we probably turned away a dozen."

Von Teese said use of super-slim models set a bad example.

She said: "It's important to me we show curvaceous women and fuller-figured girls ... lingerie looks terrific on girls with shape."
The same article quotes another designer as blaming agencies for offering underweight models:

Designer Gwendolynne Burkin also has lamented being offered models too thin for her clothing.

"How on Earth am I supposed to sell to my real clients when agencies and show organisers cast models who are too skinny?" the local designer posted on Facebook yesterday.

"Please know I do not cast these skinny girls."

Burkin said of the skinny look: "It's nuts and so obvious they are underweight, but it keeps happening.

"I know this debate comes up every fashion week and they blame designers. I get annoyed when people think it's the designers dictating the casting."

She said of one model yesterday: "The girl was so slender, there were bones."

Burkin said agencies encouraged models to be slimmer.

"I know a prominent model who has an eating disorder ... she is so slender and as long as she keeps getting booked she'll keep doing it," she said.

L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival director Graeme Lewsey said the industry had made great strides on healthy body image and the festival had made particular efforts to weed out unhealthy girls.

There would be no skeletal girls on his runways, he said, adding: "I'd go straight to the agency and say 'she is not looking as she should'."

It was at the discretion of designers and brand ambassadors to choose who they wanted on the runway.
Partly, of course, this is the usual finger-pointing, with each side blaming the other. The situation underscores the fact that both parties are complicit in perpetuating the toxic emaciated standard. After all, while these designers are right in complaining about straight-size-agency practices, they don't have to book models from these agencies at all. There are plenty of plus-size models at various agencies whom the designers could, and should, be booking instead.

And as for Dita von Teese, while it's wonderful to hear that she turned away 12 models for being too thin, I have to ask - were the girls in the photograph that accompanies the article those whom she turned away, or those whom she kept? They looked extremely, painfully skinny.

Still, there are more reasons for liking Dita von Teese's booking policies. Not only did she turn away models for being too cadaverously thin, but also for being tanned, instead favouring models with fair skin.

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/entertainment/confidential/dita-von-teese-orders-spray-tanned-models-for-her-von-follies-vintage-inspired-underwear-range-to-wash-it-off/story-e6fredq3-1226292626968

I'd love to see more designers rejecting radioactively tanned models and embracing the beauty of natural skin tones:

The burlesque beauty was left "aghast" upon touching down in Melbourne this week and meeting the troupe of spray-tanned models who are due to walk the runway for her.

[She] promptly issued a "no spray tan" policy and, we hear, kindly asked some of the gals to go and exfoliate their skin until it was nice and au naturale.

While von Teese was not available for comment today, she alluded to the incident on Twitter, writing: "Disaster averted! Just issued out a 'no spray tan' alert to our models. Apparently, spray tan is the usual prep for lingerie shows. Yikes!"
Her revulsion mirrors the feelings of most Judgment of Paris readers toward underfed, overtanned models. How wonderful it would be if these decisions, as well as the Dutch model's successful suit against her agency for weight discrimination, would lead to fuller-figured, naturally complexioned girls on the world's runways.

Chad
13th March 2012, 06:36
After all, while these designers are right in complaining about straight-size-agency practices, they don't have to book models from these agencies at all. There are plenty of plus-size models at various agencies whom the designers could, and should, be booking instead.

And as for Dita von Teese, while it's wonderful to hear that she turned away 12 models for being too thin, I have to ask - were the girls in the photograph that accompanies the article those whom she turned away, or those whom she kept? They looked extremely, painfully skinny.
M. Lopez's point is very interesting, because as it turns out, Dita von Teese did, in fact, book two plus-size models for her show, along with two faux-plus girls.

But the news is not all good. As the Daily Mail reports, there were, in fact, numerous size zeros in the lineup.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2113074/Dita-Von-Teese-employs-tiny-model-claiming-axe-girls-skinny.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

The regrettable truth:

the real life porcelain doll claimed she refused to hire girls 'for being too skinny', but the selection of models she chose could hardly be described as voluptuous.

Credit where it's due, there were one or two girls that would have been deemed too curvy for haute couture.

Yet one in particular, wearing polka dot stockings, lace gloves and a net hat, appeared to have a size zero waist.

Her ribs were clearly visible as she touched her temple to pose at the end of the catwalk.Also, alas, a few models did exhibit the leathery hides of over-tanning.

On the other hand, kudos to Dita von Teese for booking a few genuine plus-size models. Below is a relatively complete video of the show.

So you don't have to sit through ten minutes of waifs, though, here are the timed appearances of the genuinely curvy girls:

The first appears at 2:15, and then again at 8:15. She definitely has the best walk of the bigger girls and the finest figure, a soft physique that shows sensual commotion as she moves.

The other true plus-size model appears at 4:04.

At 5:23 one sees a faux-plus model. Of the larger girls, she has by far the prettiest facial features.

The model at 5:58 doesn't appear particularly plus-size from the fore view, but when she turns, the camera shows her hinder curves, which attest to her being full-figured.

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Frustratingly, though, while all of the skinny models are shown from every angle, with close looks at their reverse-view curves, the camera cuts away from any close back shots of the plus-size models. Evidently, the anti-plus bias pervades the fashion industry on every level. Even when a designer books a full-figured girl, there's no guarantee the camera will film her, or if it does, that all of her footage will be shown.

Furthermore, ironically, even the Daily Mail article linked above only featured the images of the show's underweight girls and failed to publish pictures of the plus-size models. And this was an article that criticized von Teese for booking thin models (!).

Ultimately, while two plus-size models are better than none, this whole situation still indicates how disadvantaged plus-size beauty is when someone tries to tack it on to a show filled with underweight girls.

The runway shows at plus-specific events, like FFFWeek and Brazil's FWPS and last year's Curves in Couture show, are much more fulfilling. There, the models are all genuinely full-figured, and they're happily photographed and filmed from every angle. It's the difference between mere size-tolerance and bona fide size-celebration, and the latter approach makes the plus-exclusive events far preferable to these disappointing "all sizes" ventures.

Lily
25th March 2012, 07:34
As a late follow-up to this thread, I found the following article interesting. It concerns a straight-size model, but one who has a Christina Hendricks-like figure.

http://www.perthnow.com.au/entertainment/perth-confidential/why-this-star-wa-models-body-was-called-cheap/story-e6frg30l-1226309102795

Her comments about the degenerate nature of the fashion industry and its resentment of womanly curves are valuable and revealing:

WA MODEL Tiah Delaney speaks candidly about the "warped" nature of the fashion industry and how she was told her curves made her look "cheap" and "tarty".

As a standard size-eight woman who also has a D-cup chest size, the stunning 26-year-old from WA said she often received criticism for her natural curves.

She spoke to The Sunday Times after posing in the limited-edition Muse collection by international burlesque star Dita Von Teese. The range features feminine, vintage-inspired dresses and caters to women sized from 8-20.

"In an industry of girls with boyish figures, I've been told having boobs make me look f**, makes the clothes look cheap or tarty," Delaney said. "I find this hilarious because you're selling clothes to women but telling them they'll be chastised if they dare look like women. It's a very strange mentality."
In fact, it's not a "strange" mentality at all, but perfectly understandable, given the warped individuals who comprise the fashion establishment.

On the one hand, you have male fashion designers who are not attracted to women, and who are thus hardwired to loathe the appearance of womanly curves and any female secondary-sex characteristics, and always want models to look as androgynous as possible.

And then, on the other hand, you have the female editors, stylists, and other functionaries in the industry who were the underdeveloped "smart tomboy" nerdish-types in school, and who resented all of their well-endowed, glamorous rivals, the girls who got all the male attention. In a typical enactment of an all-too-human sour-grapes mentality, these unfeminine women comforted themselves for losing to their sexier rivals by labelling them "cheap" and "tarty." Then, later in their lives, when these former tomboy nerdish types become high-power individuals in the fashion industry, they cannot let go of their resentment and envy of the type of voluptuous bombshells whom men find attractive, and so they continue to suppress this sexier look in the fashion industry.

Think about it: if you're a clever but unattractive girl who never had a boyfriend in high school, are you going to objectively assess the beauty of a model who resembles on the cheerleaders who (in your mind) "stole" all the boys you think you deserved, because you were oh-so-much smarter than they were? Of course not. You're going to take it out on the models by calling them the names that you muttered under your breath to your sexier high-school rivals.

It's a sad situation, because it leaves millions of blameless full-figured women with little representation in the fashion industry.

And since heterosexual men have virtually no power in fashion, at least at the creative end, womanly curves end up being suppressed by two interest groups that, for their own reasons, hate or resent well-developed women, and can't stand the models who possess such features.