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As a man, you don’t really think about Victoria’s Secret models as being anything but hot. In fact, you find them so mind-blowingly gorgeous that as a teenager you secretly have the catalogue sent to your house—under your dad’s name, of course, in case mom happens to come across it in the mail one day. Then you get a girlfriend or a wife, and have to tone it down a bit. So you order the catalogue in her name. And if she never shops at Victoria’s Secret, therefore negating the chance of them having your address, blame it on the mailman. That seems to work best; no one questions the inaccuracy of the postal service.

Plus Sized Models

But the truth is, besides their other-worldly good looks, Victoria’s Secret models aren’t the standard. By fashion industry measurements, they are bustier and have bigger hips than the average runway model, who measures a tiny 34-24-34. Doutzen Kroes, one of the “Angels” featured by Victoria’s Secret right now, has measurements of 35-24-36.6 and wears a dress size 6. Miranda Kerr, another Angel, is a 32-24-34, but also wears a size 6. This may sound tiny, but it’s a far cry from the 00-0 preferred by many in the fashion industry.

Designer Miuccia Prada raised a lot of eyebrows this past February when she used Kroes, Kerr, and another Victoria’s Secret Angel, Alessandra Ambrosio, to showcase her up-and-coming Fall line. As one fashion critic commented, the move was a departure from normal fashion shows in that the models had real curves and many of the outfits had noticeable “boob tents.” Whether or not these were pitched as a statement to the industry is a moot point, but one thing is certain: the voluptuous ladies of Victoria’s Secret are receiving more work in runway shows than they ever have.

Ambrosio, Izabel Goulart, and Karolina Kurkova were all chosen by designer Giles Deacon to strut his 60’s inspired fall/winter line during Paris Fashion Week in March. Givenchy featured Adriana Lima (another VS Angel) while Balenciaga used Kerr. Canadian designer Mark Fast went even a step further, featuring plus size beauties, Crystal Renn and Hayley Morley, during his show in London.

Lynn and Huffine
This shift towards the shapely marks a growing trend in the fashion industry. After Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston died in 2006 from complications with anorexia, Spain passed legislation requiring that models maintain a body mass index of at least 18. Body mass index is a way of measuring the healthy body weight of a person based upon their height (You can go to to have yours measured for free). For example, a model in Spain In January of this year, V Magazine continued the support of the Rubenesque woman, releasing an edition dedicated completely to plus size models. They featured Tara Lynn and Candace Huffine posing together, and even Lynn completely nude. Crystal Renn, a beautiful size 10, was compared side by side, wearing the exact same outfits and striking the same poses, with Jacquelyn Jablonski, the archetypal thin model. This ode to the plus size wasn’t a completely original idea—Vogue puts out a similar annual issue - but it was certainly a statement to the fashion world. Many in the industry had long predicted more curvaceous models would supplant waif-thin models like Kate Moss.  V Magazine didn’t just talk the talk; they walked the walk; as they hoped the rest of the industry would do.

Tara Lynn
America’s Next Top Model
recently chose Whitney Thompson, who boasts a size 12 to 14, as the winner of the competition. Plus size models have competed before on the show, but that was the first time one walked away with the grand prize.

Even more hopeful is the fact that Top Model will only be accepting teenage contestants this year who wear dress sizes between12 to 20. Their goal is not only to forward the progress of the plus size movement, but show young girls that they don’t have to sacrifice their health for beauty.Plus Sized Models

The culmination of the past years’ advances came at New York Fashion Week at the end of September. For the first time ever presented “Belle Epoque”, a runway show dedicated completely to plus size women. Stephanie Sobel, the president of the online retailer for men and women of size, is proud of what she’s doing. Primarily because designers are finally making clothes for normal-sized women, not 0s or 2s. Since sixty-two percent of American women are size 12 and up, how can they be expected to look good in something designed for a 0 or a 2?

And how about some more great news? In addition to the trend towards curvier models, Levi Strauss & Co. launched a new line of jeans for women called Curve ID. After conducting thousands of interviews and looking at 60,000 body scans of women from thirteen different countries, they have designed three new cuts of jeans based on a woman’s curves. There is the slight curve, for women who find that regular jeans fit in the hips and but are too tight for the waist. There is the demi curve, for the woman who finds that regular jeans usually fit in the waist but don’t flatter the figure. And there is the bold curve, for women who find that regular jeans fit in the hips and thighs, but leave a gap in the back. A fourth cut will launched at the end of 2010 or early 2011 and will fit the most extreme curves. All in all, Levi Strauss will have 96% of women’s body shapes accounted for around the world. 

The waist sizes in the Curve ID line will range from 22 to 34 and they will come in three styles: boot cut, straight, and skinny. With a price range from $68 to $148, women can be sized for the appropriate jeans in Levi Strauss & Co. stores and online at the Levi’s website.

Someday, stick figures will no longer be a product of modeling. Just doodling. / Issue 112 - September 2018
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