Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The Great Debate - XXSvsXXL

I'm sure most of you will have come across the following images of Crystal Renn and Jacqueline Jablonski styled in identical outfits and poses for V magazine's January offering. Shot by Terry Richardson, it's the latest in a series of campaigns in an attempt to make people both in and out of the blinkered fashion industry to sit up and smell the double-shot-non-fat-soya-coffee.

I think the first point to discuss is which side of the camp I sit - after all, the main purpose of Sartoriology, to me, is to discuss what style is in relation to said fashion industry and all points in between i.e. the DNA.

It might seem controversial but up until today I did actually think that clothes looked better on 'standard' models. That's not however to be confused with 'size zero' nor with confirmed or non-confirmed anorexic models. I believed that the line of a dress/skirt/suit/coat could be ruined if even the slightest fold or muffin top was in sight. Some people could say that I'm hardly one to talk, it's not like I don't own a whole hoard of body-sculpting underwear, in fact for my wedding I spent £100 on Spanx and Wacoal pieces alone, just to achieve that slim-line silhouette on my Big Day.

However after seeing these pictures and after seeing Mark Fast's latest collection walk the well-trodden runway, my eyes have been opened to the idea of plus-size models walking and campaigning alongside standard models.

However just to make something clear, we shouldn't confuse plus-size with fat. Crystal Renn is not fat, Beth Ditto however is and I think this is something the media confuse most of the time, championing the 'bigger' girl when in fact they are promoting unhealthy eating and living. That's not to say that standard models should the poster girl of today's society, not by any stretch of the imagination. I think a balance needs to be struck.

Back in August, The Sartorialist posted on a plus-size model who featured in US Glamour. The post, which included his comments on how larger women tend to shy away from having candid pictures taken due to suspicion of how the pictures will actually be portrayed, garnered 590 comments both for and against plus-size models.

And so as 2009 draws to a close and with A/W 10 Fashion Week just around the corner, I'm wondering whether any of the heavyweights - Ralph Lauren and Dolce & Gabbana I'm talking to you - will be surprising the front row and Fashion Ed's with a scattering of 'real women' on their runway? And which mega magazines will actually follow through and place a plus-size on their cover?

It's an interesting debate, let me know your thoughts.

Images - Jezebel, The Sartorialist, My Fashion Life


  1. I've always been a fan of fuller-figured models. There's a great site with many images of Crystal and other plus-size models here:

    They're all gorgeous.

    The site's forum also has thought-provoking discussions about body image and the media.

  2. thanks so much for this link, it's interesting to see the comparison with renaissance. some beautiful pics too.

  3. Crystal Renn is beautiful...but the clothes look better on Jacqueline. Controversial, yes, but also true!

    Great post x