In 2006 the starvation of two models erupted the size zero debate. Since then it seems that the media is full to the brim with stories about weight issues, but it is often unclear what they are trying to convey. We are constantly bombarded with news of ours nations soaring obesity levels, but sitting on the opposite page is another size zero story.
Back in 2006 models Luisel Ramos and her sister, Eliana, and Ana Carolina Reston and Hila Elmalich died after starving themselves to death in their attempt to be thin. As a result of the outcry caused the council of Fashion Designers of America recommended that runway models be aged over 16 and Spain banned models weighing less than 8st 11lb from Madrid’s Fashion Week.
A story in a recent issue of The Guardian interviews once anorexic but now plus size model Crystal Renn, quizzing her on an industry she knows like the back of her hand. Renn explained that there was very little immediate change in the industry and the high fashion models remained as thin as ever.
But, said Renn: “Thankfully the pendulum seems to be swinging back, at least a bit,” she said. “The 2009 face of Marc by Marc Jacobs is Daisy Lowe, who has a curvier body than has been in style lately. The looks of Jennifer Hudson, Adele and Beyoncé are generally admired, not reviled. ”
Designers are gradually beginning to see that larger models have a role. Hopefully this will show women who look to models as the ideal form, that there is a healthy happy medium between being anorexic or obese.
Antonio Berardi has talked of the trouble he has finding girls with a womanly shape. “We have to spend days altering things,” he complained. “We add padding and pieces that work inside the clothes to exaggerate their bodies into a more female form. I don’t want all those girls with pale skin who look the same. My family is Italian – I am inspired by a womanly aesthetic.”
Roland Mouret agrees: “I see advertising going back to that powerful 1980s mentality, when girls like Linda [Evangelista] were ideal. Back in the 80s, when supermodels were several sizes larger than top models today, the clothes worked on bigger bodies,” he added. “They were bright, bold, curve-enhancing.”