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Old 30th March 2007   #1
M. Lopez
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Default Elie Saab: NO to models as ''hangers''

Following in the footsteps of Valentino, Elie Saab (one of the select few designers who show during Couture Week in Paris) is now at least saying the right things, even though he doesn't translate words into action. (His models are invariably rail-thin.)

http://in.today.reuters.com/news/ne...&archived=False

Still his words are well worth reading, because they represent the philosophy that one wishes designers would follow. Here's a choice excerpt:

Quote:
"There are some fashion houses that prefer very skinny women, without a shape. But as for Elie Saab, usually I'm looking for a model who has a shape, has curves, has a bust. A woman in every sense of the word," he told Reuters.

"I have never liked or agreed to use a model as a hanger for my dress. Because first of all it's not an image I would want for a woman and a woman's beauty is in her femininity, in the form that God gave her," he said at his fashion house.

After the death of two anorexic Latin American models last year, some countries imposed bans on skinny models, sending the fashion industry in a heated debate over the need for bans.

Saab would not specifically say whether or not he approved of bans, but said: "I mean I don't know where is the beauty of these models who are bones. It's not necessary that she be a bone walking on legs to be a model."

"I can't decipher this issue except as a lack of respect for a woman. On the contrary, I like to see a woman in her best image...in the end she is our mother, our sister."
It's especially welcome to see a designer decy the absurd idea of the model as a "hanger" (although that was always a canard - just another excuse used by designers to mark their real reasons for using underweight girls).

It's also nice to hear him say that a model need not be a "bone walking on legs." And although he doesn't explicitly support the ban on anorexic models, he's one of the few fashion industry players not to twist himself in a pretzel trying to argue against it.

Here's another excerpt:

Quote:
His last haute couture show in Paris featured several delicately beaded and sequined pale-coloured evening gowns. Saab said his inspiration for the line was a "goddess taking a walk during dawn under the dew".

"I believe usually that a woman must stand out before the dress. I don't see that I should use colours that hurt the eyes just to make her visible," he said.
Another turn in thinking - a statement that the woman should take precedence over the dress, which also refutes another rationalization for using anorexic models.

Now, if only he would only follow up these fine words by using fuller-figured models in his shows...
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Old 20th June 2007   #2
HSG
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Default Re: Elie Saab: NO to models as ''hangers''


It's fairly obvious that when Saab and Valentine make their size-positive statements, they are simply attempting to deflect criticism from themselves for using anorexically underweight models. If they really believed in their rhetoric, they would use plus-size models--and of all of the major couturiers, only Gaultier has ever used a plus-size model in an aesthetically serious way, when Crystal Renn appeared in his Spring 2006 show.

Nevertheless, if one divorces Saab's (and Valentino's) words from their probably intent, these pro-curvy statements do provide a solid design rationale for tailoring fashion to the naturally full, female figure with soft, swelling curves, rather than to a stick-like hanger.

As we have said before, any designer who thinks in terms of draping fabric on flat surfaces is in the wrong business, and should get out of fashion and design wallpaper, rather than women's clothing. Prior to the modern age, fashion was always created with the contours of the well-fed female figure in mind, and designs were consequently beautiful, meant to linger over luscious curves, and to enhance feminine allure. Fashion can achieve far more creative artistic results if it rediscovers and embraces the timeless ideal of plus-size beauty, and rejects the shopworn, malnourished modernism of the last century, which it has been recycling ad nauseam for decades.

Neither the designers nor the rest of the creative individuals who comprise the fashion industry need to set aside their impulse towards creating glamour and beauty, when they embrace full-figured femininity. This is not about replacing a fantasy ideal with homely "reality" (which is something that only the politically-motivated adherents of the school of resentment seek), but rather, trading in a false and destructive ideal for a more positive and more genuinely beautiful ideal.

Fashion's creators can retain all of their craftsmanship and whimsy in design, photography, etc., but should lavish their gifts on an ideal that develops positive body image and enhances cultural heath, rather than one which causes eating disorders (often resulting in fatalities) and ruins the self-esteem of millions of young women.

Stunning headshot of size-14 beauty Carly (IPM Models), showing how much better '80s-style glamour looks on a plus-size model, with round, full facial features, than on a haggard, size-0 skeleton:

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Old 21st June 2007   #3
MelanieW
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Default Re: Elie Saab: NO to models as ''hangers''

Quote:
Originally Posted by HSG
Prior to the modern age, fashion was always created with the contours of the well-fed female figure in mind, and designs were consequently beautiful, meant to linger over luscious curves, and to enhance feminine allure. Fashion can achieve far more creative artistic results if it rediscovers and embraces the timeless ideal of plus-size beauty, and rejects the shopworn, malnourished modernism of the last century, which it has been recycling ad nauseam for decades.

The next generation of designers might, just might, lead to the revival of the fuller-figured standard.

I found two small signs of encouragement. One is this article about a designer in the Midwest (yes, there are a few):

http://onmilwaukee.com/ent/articles...ll07.html?11325

Note the association of youth, Victorian aesthetics, and femininity with the well-fed female figure:

Quote:
Regier's spring-centric work flowers with freshness, incorporating airy blues, light greens and whites in full, ballooning dresses. The empire waistlines emote innocence, while the flowing forms promote an adolescent flirtation.

The fall-focused pieces embrace more neutral colors -- blacks, browns, grays -- that are carefully offset by pops of color -- lime green, teal. This segment of the collection, Regier says, is more true to her signature Victorian-era aesthetic. Modeled on full-figured women, the extremely feminine attire features curvaceous, dramatically tailored dresses.
Unfortunately, I couldnt find visual evidence of these designs being "modeled on full-figured women", but if the description is accurate, it suggests that the designer is going for a harmonious and coherent aesthetic oriented around timeless beauty (of models and of clothing).


Also, here is an image of a gown created by a graduate design student in Edinburgh. Yes, that is an actual plussize model in it. I do NOT like the constricted waist, but otherwise, its both attractive and creative, in a "couture-ish" way:



A (brief) article about the designer appeared here:

http://news.scotsman.com/entertainm...07&format=print

Note her size-positive attutide:

Quote:
"The dress is voluptuous and is intended to celebrate the womanly shape," the design student said.
Also encouraging is the fact that in another collection, this student was inspired by a tale from the Brothers Grimm.

So perhaps the timeless ideal of beauty, both in female figure and in cultural inspiration, will be making a comeback as a new generation of designers emerges.
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Old 21st June 2007   #4
Graham
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Default Re: Elie Saab: NO to models as ''hangers''

Quote:
Originally Posted by HSG
Stunning headshot of size-14 beauty Carly (IPM Models), showing how much better '80s-style glamour looks on a plus-size model, with round, full facial features, than on a haggard, size-0 skeleton

The contrast between plus-size beauty and media-imposed starvation is truly shocking.

Have a look at this article about the present-day appearance of the erstwhile icon of the heroin-chic anorexic look, Kate Moss. Even fashionistas are finally admitting that Moss looks hideous, although why it took them so long to realize this is incomprehensible:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/li...in_page_id=1879

What makes the article so remarkable was that it was written by someone who seems to have been a Kate Moss fan - but even she has finally been forced to admit that Moss's corpse-like, emaciated appearance is horrid.

Note the following excerpt from the article:

Quote:
In fact, Kate did not even make the Top Ten in this month’s Glamour magazine poll of the world’s sexiest women.

That would be normal coming from a group of male voters (they always go for curvier types), but these voters were women!

We have always, always voted for Kate.
Even this writer admits that men "go for curvier types" - which begs the question, why would any women associate the skeletor look with beauty in the first place? But at least, based on this writer's volte face, she (and the voters of the poll that she cites) have finally awoken from their delusion, and recognized that there is nothing attractive about looking malnourished.

Compare the haggard face of Kate to the well-fed beauty of Carly (a brunette Shannon Marie lookalike, almost, at least in that one picture): night and day; modern androgyny vs. timeless femininity.
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