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Old 10th December 2006   #5
Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 1,784
Default Re: The end of catwalk androgyny? (article)

Originally Posted by MelanieW
Thin models are also a subject of debate for the Council of Fashion Designers of America, which helps organize New York's fashion week. Executive Director Steven Kolb says the CFDA is still considering the issue and "will have its own response at some point. If change comes, it's a collective response."

The CFDA director's statement is shockingly candid. It reveals that the fashion industry is not just a "Wild West," where every designer does whatever he or she likes. Rather, there is an overseeing body--and one that obviously holds enormous power.

The director's assertion that "If change comes, it's a collective response," is tellingly imperative. He seems remarkably confident in his ability to speak for the industry. He would never have made such an unequivocal pronouncement of what the fashion world would collectively do, if he didn't think that his council had precisely this much power over the industry as a whole.

His statement proves, unequivocally, that the fashion industry could change the size of its models, if it wanted to, and that this council is the regulating body that could make such a change happen.

It simply chooses not to do so.

So, for all of the eternal back-and-forth discussion about who decides models' sizes, and who could change this standard--with editors pointing at the designers, designers pointing at agencies, agencies blaming the movie industry, and so forth--now we have an answer: this entity, the CFDA, is the last word on the subject. They have the power to effect change unilaterally, if they choose to do so.

Furthermore, the CFDA director's statement that his organization is "still considering the issue" is quite transparent. Are they "still considering" the tragedy? Or rather, are they "still considering" whether they can get away with it--get away with letting designers select skeletal, deathly-ill models? Are they "still considering" the problem, or "still considering" how much "heat" they can stand, still watching whether the public furore will die down--which would allow them to go on ignoring the crisis? (At least until another model dies.)

It's like a tobacco executive "still considering the issue" of whether they need to alert the public to the dangers of their product. They are not "still considering" the ethics of their industry's practices, but rather, whether their industry will soon face outside regulation, if they don't do something themselves right now.

When models are dying, when women are starving, the time for "consideration" is over. A government crackdown, of the European sort, seems more necessary than ever--just as governments have always had to crack down on entities that poison the culture, and show a wilful disregard for the harm that their degenerate practices inflict.

The CFDA Web site includes the following text, as a statement of the Council's raison d'etre:

What's this? To "define a code of ethical practices"? What kind of "ethics" would not include the prevention of death, as an absolute necessity?

If this Council wished to do one single thing to fulfil the mission that it has set out for itself, of "defining a code of ethical practices" for the fashion industry, it would be to do away with a standard of appearance that causes widespread misery and bodily harm, both to the models who torture themselves to meet it, and to the women whose minds are poisoned by it.

Originally Posted by MelanieW
If it gathers momentum, it could change the ways fashion houses design the clothes and looks that define their image world-wide.

Some experts say it would actually bring looks more in line with what women associate with real, glamorous lifestyles...

This is the other particularly significant point in the article. Fashion itself would become much more beautiful via a substantial increase in models' sizes. Designers would inevitably turn away from androgynous styles constrained by vertical lines and flat surfaces, in favour of more rounded, natural shapes that better suit the soft, swelling contours of the well-fed female figure.

Even from a strictly aesthetic standpoint, fashion's androgynous standard makes absolutely no sense. If designers want to promote "glamorous" clothing, it is the height of absurdity to promote such clothing on walking corpses. What is "glamorous" about malnutrition?

It is self-evident that "glamorous" fashions, befitting a "glamorous" lifestyle, should be displayed on models with "glamorous" figures--and there is nothing glamorous about a shrivelled, 90lb frame. Rather, the lavish opulence of the voluptuous female figure is aesthetically harmonious with the lavish opulence of expensive couture. The decadent, sumptuous fullness of timeless beauty accords with the pampered, adorably spoiled, self-indulgent nature of the target market for such attire.

Displaying top-drawer fashions on malnourished frames is like composing a grand concerto for a symphony orchestra, but having it performed by a two-bit wind band.

Plus-size models embody precisely the type of luxurious beauty that is best suited for showcasing creme-de-la-creme fashion.

Casey McCabe (Wilhelmina), looking sinfully, irresistibly indolent:

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