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.
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, 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.
Remember when designer Miuccia Prada raised a lot of eyebrows 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 at the time, 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.
It didn't take long for other fashion designers to jump on the bandwagon, as 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 that same year. Ditto Givenchy, who 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.
Even more hopeful is the fact that Top Model followed the trend as well, who began accepting teenage contestants who wear dress sizes between12 to 20. Their goal was 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.
The culmination of the past years’ advances came at September's New York Fashion Week. On September 15, 2010, for the first time ever, Onestopplus.com presented “Belle Epoque”, a runway show dedicated completely to plus size women. And now, in 2012, the company is selling plus size dresses in sizes 12W-44W. 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?
Someday, stick figures will no longer be a product of modeling. Just doodling.