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Old 11th January 2010   #1
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Join Date: August 2005
Posts: 352
Default Roberto Cavalli dislikes skinny models (article)

This isn't the first time that a designer has condemned underweight models and expressed a preference for full-figured girls - despite the fact that his own model choices belie his words.

It seems to be very easy to claim a preference for curves, but very difficult to translate that into actual visual representation.

Still, the words are good enough that they're worth quoting here, if only for the idea:

Skinny rejected

11 Jan 2010 07:00

Roberto Cavalli dislikes skinny models.

The Italian fashion designers doesn't understand why so many people in the industry create clothes for super-thin models.

He insists most outfits look best on women with curves, which is why he only uses models with breasts and a bottom.

"I've also never been influenced by that trend of putting thin, ethereal women on the catwalk," he explained. "I've always looked for real women with curves because I'm fascinated by the shape and harmony of a women’s body."

All true. Now I just wish he would prove it by showcasing his designs on models over a size 14.

Still, at least his design aesthetic sounds lovely:

He has designed a new range of floaty gowns which were created to show the beauty of femininity, all of which are sculpted from soft and flowing fabrics.

"I wanted to show off the women's sensuality through transparencies...

"I've used the muted tones of Florence's buildings, the colour of olive leaves, the pale blue of a spring sky, and mixed them with my new prints.

Beautiful - very much of a piece with the New Femininity.

In another article, he seems to be outlining the fashion approach of the aesthetic restoration:

"I've looked for a new vision of romanticism, bucolic, poetic. A kind of hymn to a more simple life."

If only he could realize that "romantic, bucolic, poetic" visions are best expressed by the organic, harmonious beauty of full-figured models.
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Old 1st December 2010   #2
Join Date: July 2005
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Default Re: Roberto Cavalli dislikes skinny models (article)

Originally Posted by Chad
If only he could realize that "romantic, bucolic, poetic" visions are best expressed by the organic, harmonious beauty of full-figured models.

So true.

When Mr. Cavalli made these statements earlier this year, he was likely jumping on the short-lived pro-plus bandwagon of the time. And while his claim would, on the face of it, seem positive, the fact that he does not enlist the services of plus-size models in his shows or campaigns indicates that he is merely paying lip service to the idea of using curvier models.

Yet it is indisputable that plus-size models would be ideal for showcasing exactly the kinds of fashions that he describes, and for evoking the romanticism that he envisions.

Consider the following pair of stunning test images of Ford 12+ model Sydney Ness, photographed by Brain Boulos (who may be the finest testing photographer for plus-size models in New York). Alas, Sydney is only faux-plus (a size 12), and we dearly wish that she were fuller-figured. But there are no finer images currently available to illustrate Cavalli's conception.

In this image, marked by dramatic and evocative lighting, Sydney is seen in just the kind of "floaty . . . soft and flowing fabrics" that the designer envisions. The "muted tones" of the dress set off the model's blonde tresses and fair complexion especially well. The rich stonework, clearly aged and not contemporary, conveys a feeling of classicism. However, if a minus-size model had been used instead, her gaunt features and wizened limbs would have ruined this look, undermining the soft aesthetic that this picture so successfully exhibits.

In another image from this enchanting test, the model is situated in exactly the kind of verdant, outdoor setting that harmonizes with the natural beauty of curvaceous goddesses. Sydney's expression, as in the image above, is appropriately gentle. The ruffled dress is exquisite, and with its muted ivory hue blends in perfectly with the surroundings to create precisely the "new vision of romanticism, bucolic, poetic" that Cavalli referenced. If only Sydney were a tad fuller...

The femininity of the wardrobe, the elegant and natural backdrops, and the soft demeanour of the model harmonize in these images to generate an aesthetic of remarkable sensuality. Clearly an underweight model would have ruined the effect, just as a fuller-figured model would have embodied it even more perfectly.

Rather than going for urban looks, let alone creating sensationalist editorials for tiresome shock value, plus-size models should favour the kinds of soft, feminine fashions and romantic settings that Cavalli describes (and that these remarkable test images present), which are ideally suited to showcasing timeless, full-figured beauty.

(Bravo to Sydney and Mr. Boulos for creating such lyrical, enchanting images.)

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