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rilu
11-27-2011, 08:35 AM
Here's a question that's been puzzling some of us here for a while now, and which Lumina and I talked about yesterday in a nice cafe in Antwerp :)
How come that the majority of designers discussed on here - who work at the frontiers of fashion design and who dare to challenge various aspects of it - don't dare to challenge the type of female models that represent their clothes on a runway? While with male fashion models this has already taken place (see, for example Yohji Yamamoto's SS 2009 show), hardly anyone dared to do the same when it comes to women. If I remember right, Vivienne Westwood partially challenged this habit with less slim models, and MMM recently had some more senior female models, but aside from these exceptions, the situation has mainly been unchanged.

The main question here is not why not diverging from the mainstream for the sake of certain ethical or political reasons (though that's an interesting question as well). What I am primarily interested in is the question, why are slim, young, tall, conventionally pretty models aesthetically more appealing for this niche in fashion design than other female types? Wouldn't a real challenge be to make a not-so-conventionally-beautiful person looking in an interesting way? And in any case, wouldn't, for example, an older, gray haired woman make an incredible impression on a runway? Why has this aspect of fashion, even in this niche, remained so incredibly mainstream?

Lumina
11-27-2011, 09:28 AM
I find this question very interesting.
Even if the question can be asked also for "regular" brands also (and I don't even talk about magazines), the question here is mostly adressed towards the designers discussed here. Why designers deviating from the "mass tastes" or regular fashion in regard to concept, construction of clothes, fabric, creating new silhouettes, building personal universes, challenging gender, the notion of fashion itself, of what is beautiful to wear, of what a clothe is, or should look like, WHY do these same people keep being totally enslaved to the fashion's beauty diktat by keeping on showing their clothes seasons after seasons on models very tall, very (too?) slim, very young women ?
They challenged all these notions, were called avant-garde, revolutionized the history of fashion, they stood against all, but they conform to this whole narrow fashion view ?
What about all the smallest, tallest, curviest, regular, out of the ordinary, older, but nevertheless pretty, women ?

To take Yohji Yamamoto as an exemple, I know that he did some runways with more diversified models a few years ago, but especially for him, with his books, his thoughts, his view on fashion, against imitation, about being oneself, it is so frustrating and seems even contradictory, why doesn't he show his clothes this way ? Him, the lover of one size and non-perfectly fitting clothes ? Why does he do it for his men runway (old men, bigger men, smaller men), such a great diversity of shapes, and silhouettes, and body, faces, personnalities, and not for women ? Marketing and financial pressures ?
He did it recently for his runway at the V&A taking couples in the streets in London, and it was so great, much more alive, playful, warmer, honest, so much more true to the spirit of his clothes. Seing them displayed season after season on regular all look alike models has something almost hypocrite, no matter how beautiful the clothes are.

And Comme des Garçons ? With such a playful and daring view on clothes and fashion, why not show more the diversity of bodies as they showed us the diversity of view on clothes and what beauty can be or not be ?

I understand that for designer like Rick Owens, enhancing sport and care of the body from what I understood, with a kind of body ideal, it may be a bit different and sounds a little bit more like a conscient choice of models, not just a soumission to runway's way of doing.
But for others, I find there's really an "off" feeling. It doesn't feel right.

Sorry if it feels a little agressive, but I really wonder and would love to have the view of the designers on that point, know what people here think about it, male and female, and it would be interesting from those here who are designers themselves too.

zamb
11-27-2011, 10:52 AM
This is an interesting subject matter, but to be honest and this might sound weird coming from someone like me. in some ways I really don't care...........well, at least not too much to want to change the system. personally,i don't like too much of a slim woman, its not personally attractive to me.

Ive seen a lot of designers who have done alot in this regard, for example, Junya did it one season early in this career using unconventional models. Margiela when he was around made a point of using unusual models.........there have also been fuller figured models like Sophie Dahl, who has been very successful in the mainstream modeling industry. McQueen once used a lady (i dint remember her name) for whom he made special prosthetic legs to do his show.


I think an there are several factors important to consider.


its easier to make a wide assortment of clothing fit better on people who are less curvy that those who have curves
designers generally use samples for press, editorial and other shoots over which they have no control. having garments made in a size that's closer to the standards used by the industry (regardless of how reprehensible this is) is easier to deal with than veering from the norm.

essentially, I did womenwear for seven years, and I've been doing mens for three seasons, and I feel more fulfilled designing menswear than I did women. not because didn't love women swear and wasn't good at it, but then, there were some aspects of the work that was always against my personal convictions..............

syed
11-27-2011, 02:13 PM
I think with womenswear that if a designer changes things up with the models, everyone sees that and not the clothing. Every time a designer uses plus side models or whatever, it is usually just seen as a gimmick, and so the clothes tend to get sidelined. Because it is so rare to see anything but your stereotypical model body on the runway, every little instance of deviation is jumped upon - by all sides.

It turns into a debate removed from the collection, and one of the model's body and fashion in general (the whole size zero debate etc.). Until a designer is able to use different types of model, and people are able to view it within the context of the collection rather than as some sort of major f*** you to the fashion world, it risks being read as a gimmick rather than a legitimate statement.

The reason I think it is more acceptable in menswear (by which I mean people don't pounce on it with the same voracity) is down to a more social aspect. Menswear is way behind womenswear, so I think a designer has more leeway to present, or even just construct, their view of masculinity. The social conventions of menswear are not yet fully set in stone in terms of catwalk and what not.

Plus an older man (or a fatter man) is unfortunately more acceptable than an older woman. A man can let his hair go grey and have wrinkles, and still be fashionable (just look at all those streetstyle blogs glorifying older Italian men). Whereas women unfortunately are put under pressure to always look younger and always look thinner. An overweight man can be viewed as jolly, an overweight woman is viewed as unsightly.

It is a pressure perhaps created and reinforced by fashion, but it is for that exact reason that a designer is unable to break from that norm. They just wouldn't be accepted as making a valid point, people would unfortunately just brush it off as pandering to the crowd.

Oh and Zamb's point is right on. You have to have standardization of some sort otherwise it would be mayhem. I suppose the cost of having to make everything in two sizes (in whatever runway size you want and sample size) would be untenable for many.

christianef
11-27-2011, 02:14 PM
aw even when ann used patti smith in a show it was for the menswear lol ;)

i would reduce it to marketing i dont think men especially want to relate to a glorified male model version of how the clothes essentially look the best its a bit self depreciating so its easy for designers to detach from that with odd balls women however a lot of the times care about the model more than the clothes and that whole fantasy. maybe it looks too much like an advert for Dove soap so they do not care. it is true though i think ann and michelle lamy look amazing in the clothes so its strange you dont see that depicted more often in a commercial sense.

Patroklus
11-27-2011, 06:36 PM
there's a lot of unfortunate baggage associated with trying to break away from the norm in this case.


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laughed
11-29-2011, 12:04 AM
i agree with zamb in regards to the sizing and patrok in regards to - if you had an entire show of say, transvestites, it just would be bad. not having perfect 10 models can easily make your show look like a fashion school show. grab heather marks and your clothes look about 100 times better than they're actually worth.

christianef
11-29-2011, 12:29 PM
they dont have to be haggard - i think lumina was thinking more people who really embody the spirit and soul of the clothing but arent models at nine daughters and a stereo a bit like how limi uses a lot of asian models but slightly more extreme. Has PH used older women? i thought i recalled seeing something like that even though he doesnt do shows.

zamb
11-29-2011, 12:39 PM
patroklus

in all fairness I think that is an extreme case, there you have an obese woman modeling clothing......... which shouldnto not be used as an example

on the other end, we could argue that designers fro years have used anorexic models which is the other end of the spectrum

i think the reasoning that Rilu and Lumina is getting at is more about unconventional beauties rather than the standard fare of the fashion industry.

CHRIS
11-29-2011, 02:39 PM
It is a pressure perhaps created and reinforced by fashion, but it is for that exact reason that a designer is unable to break from that norm.

this. quite simply, double binds (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_bind) are just more common in a women's world

also of note is the fact that there is no such thing as a male 'supermodel'!

and i think bless employs 'normal' people pretty often. but that label is just pretty fucking crazy all around

Patroklus
11-29-2011, 06:52 PM
patroklus

in all fairness I think that is an extreme case, there you have an obese woman modeling clothing......... which shouldnto not be used as an example

on the other end, we could argue that designers fro years have used anorexic models which is the other end of the spectrum

i think the reasoning that Rilu and Lumina is getting at is more about unconventional beauties rather than the standard fare of the fashion industry.

It was absolutely an extreme and silly example. But most serious designers want the clothes and overall look to be the focus of the show; specifically obnoxious models are mostly the domain of otherwise boring designers.

Yohji Yamamoto can successfully use anyone he wants in his runway shows because his clothes are free size and because they still demand your focus regardless of what the guy wearing them looks like. a lot of labels could probably do this, especially classic ones like zegna, but they seem mostly unwilling.

thejjbb
12-08-2011, 12:59 AM
The actual article's writing isn't great, but this takes the issue of this topic a step farther:

http://boingboing.net/2011/12/07/bikini-models-in-hm-ads-are-f.html

christianef
12-10-2011, 11:16 PM
maybe it needs to be taken a step back too. while there is definite logic to the original topic - conventional models - models measurements are often fabricated to meet industry standards - etc its also crazy to suggest sz designers are just using generic pretty girls. jamie bochert is a legend in the industry but in no way represents conventional ideals of pretty to the average joe really. so she's essentially making the same point you want to make except for the rest of the industry sides with it aswell and it becomes moot. ann has her dark romatic view on things and i think the girls she recruits reflect this fine sure she could stretch things out a bit but she's not misrepresenting herself at all in her choice of models even with the boys jamie del moon is a noted muse of hers and personally assists with collections in terms of whats works and what doesnt. so maybe there's more depth to them being there than one might think. or maybe not ehe.

kirie
12-12-2011, 07:37 PM
skinny girls will interfere with structured or highly styled garments less, while simultaneously looking better in fitted clothing.

you also have to look at the marketing side of the fashion industry. Most luxury brands are trying to sell an idealized "perfect life" through their advertising in print, video and showcases. Now what fits better with the idea of the perfect life- a thin, glamorous, 20 year old model photographed in an opulent apartment, or a slightly overweight, average looking 30 something woman photographed in her clean family home?

it's more about fantasy than reality, and as long as people want something better than what they have, people will be sold products by people who look better than they do.


but maybe I'm just getting defensive because we're discussing my profession here.

Rosenrot
12-12-2011, 08:25 PM
^^ You can sell fantasy without super skinny models. With that said, the ideal (fantasized) woman changes over the course of time. The question is, who shaped the preferences of the masses? Is it the media, or is the media merely responding to that people truly want? Chances are our preferences are subsconsciously shaped by what's shoved down our throat, not vice versa, so in that case the media has the power to change the trends in modelling as well, no?

http://d24w6bsrhbeh9d.cloudfront.net/photo/792383_700b.jpg

ErnstLudwig
12-12-2011, 11:03 PM
Simply a business decision to save money?
Just design one size fits all (+/- minor alterations after acually casting the models). Then wait for the preorders after the show and evaluate what actually goes into production. Hell they save money by not providing fitting shoes quite often.


The beauty aspect is another thing... symmetry especially in the face, waist to hip ratio... those are some evolutionary conserved measurements.
However I don't think it is that important in fashion anymore, the androgyny trend is common for both sexes. And I remember the same complaints that "actual men" should be more often present on the runway and not only those "drug addict" types.

zamb
12-13-2011, 09:32 AM
I think people are so jaded by the current state of things they think they often hear something other than what is actually being said..........

no one is arguing for fat overweight models.........
i think rilu (among others) is taking about diversity

there are lots of really beautiful and interesting women who can be used as models who don't actually fit the standard now used by many in casting models.
all she is saying is that since designer challenge so many other things in their work, why not this?

kirie
12-13-2011, 01:18 PM
I misunderstood a little, I was speaking more in generalities than the specific designers primarily discussed here.
it would be interesting to see more non standard body shapes being used by avant garde designers, but honestly I don't think we'll see it happening soon- maybe in the next 5-10 years, but it seems like body types in fashion go through decades of popularity. We had the scarily anorexic models in the late 90's-early 20's, and they're slowly moving out of that to the tomboyish thin girls that don't look incredibly ill. It'll take a dramatic change in the emotion behind the major collections before the body ideal start changing though.

Additionally, hiring "unusual" shaped models usually means you're hiring outside of the agencies (many of which have multi year contracts with big name fashion houses to provide girls for their shows). I can't even imagine how much of a headache it would be to try to cast models outside of agencies.

as a side note- no agency I've ever worked with will allow you to even go to fashion week castings if your hips are over 35", and even that's a stretch. They're usually pretty strict on the 24" waist, 34" hip measurements.

christianef
12-13-2011, 02:29 PM
i think itd be as easy to scout women who do not belong to agencies as it is to scout men - something dior homme was famous for (random sk8er boys on the street, kids in bars) and is commonly seen in boutique postings here and elsewhere with hometown heroes like the addict bsr christian and heirloom. a few womens boutiques come as close to what rilu is getting at like eva gentry uses a pretty everyday chick for the fit model etc and some others who probably just dont want to pay for a model aha

MJRH
12-13-2011, 02:55 PM
I think with womenswear that if a designer changes things up with the models, everyone sees that and not the clothing.

...

It turns into a debate removed from the collection...

This. But rilu, I'm with you on this, as obviously many others here are. Ever since I was a kid I remember wondering why the hell all the models look so much like each other, always pissed me off and still does.

re: the H&M thing, I'm sorry this may be going on a tangent, I'd like to quote Ms. Nadya Lev of Coilhouse who has a really great take on the whole virtual models thing:



even though H&M’s online catalogue conforms to the same beauty standard as any other big fashion retailer, this technology actually has the potential to subvert the paradigm altogether.

Imagine an online shop where your preferred weight/height/measurements are used to generate 3D models of the bodies that you want to see. Imagine if there was an API for this that could be used across all online clothing stores you visit, so that no matter what site you were looking at, the models appeared the way that you wanted them to. Standardized beauty ideals would become less relevant, because people would have greater control over their exposure to them.

In the short term, it may seem like computer-generated models reinforce a homogenous beauty standard. In the long term, this technology may pave the way towards greater body diversity and inclusiveness.

Full article (http://coilhouse.net/2011/12/in-defense-of-hms-fembots/). On that note, imagine an interactive fashion show where you could program the models to your specifications..! [ninja]

christianef
12-14-2011, 11:32 AM
Neither of the reasons mentioned above in this thread for the tall, thin, beautiful, young female models explains why things could not be as diverse as Yohji Yamamoto's men's SS '12 runway, except the fact that it's too risky to play around in the same way with female models. And that's a way too lame excuse, taking all the other challenges the designers we are talking about are ready to face.

the assumption and expectation that things ought to be as diverse as a handful of mens collections is slightly lame too, though. sure they could be but why do they have to be? people like anna wintour are glorified and photographed all the time in a fashion context i dont think regular women are being discriminated against by not being cast in shows. look at jak and jil lots of love for the cougars. in interviews ann demeulemeester has noted that she designs her men's collections a lot differently than the womans noting that men are a lot simpler and, to paraphrase, dont really give a shit. if you carry this simple logic to casting perhaps thats why she felt more comfortable using older men at the ending of one of her mens shows as opposed to older women where the attitude is less transferable.

Fuuma
01-18-2012, 06:56 PM
i think itd be as easy to scout women who do not belong to agencies as it is to scout men - something dior homme was famous for (random sk8er boys on the street, kids in bars) and is commonly seen in boutique postings here and elsewhere with hometown heroes like the addict bsr christian and heirloom. a few womens boutiques come as close to what rilu is getting at like eva gentry uses a pretty everyday chick for the fit model etc and some others who probably just dont want to pay for a model aha

Going beyond that many agencies for men specialized in weird looking dudes...

between
01-20-2012, 07:31 AM
well there are some models out there whose looks are definitely not conventional, but who have also managed to score a fair amount of jobs for some of the big names.
i'm thinking of jamie bochert for instance (who is by far my favorite model), or chloe memesevic.

i also know that raf used to pick his models on the street: he chose people with whom he felt a connection, people who he though embodied his vision (hence the isolated heroes series). but that ties with what all of you have said: it's easier to do such thing for menswear than womenswear.

525252
08-07-2012, 02:28 AM
thread revival!

From experiences doing test shoots with agencies for a while, matters of race, weight, height never really cause much concern for me. Despite the somewhat irking disparities in those categories and even socio-demographics, I find I'd rather shoot the girls signed to model agencies. Its convenient because street casting is actually quite difficult if you aren't making a point of doing it, don't have to put up with formalities of modelling every single time with people who don't know about image rights etc.

And most importantly when we look at diversity to its limit, labels of colour and size etc. are ultimately superficial. What about the knobbly kneed or the super freckly or perky boobed people or the dudes with weirdly visible veins?? No bodies are the same, and it sucks when they're made to look that way in fashion media. Its dehumanising and isolating, but thats what's great (and terrible too I guess) about fashion, it allows people to group together while differentiating themselves from others.

Voltairine
02-19-2013, 03:41 PM
Additionally, hiring "unusual" shaped models usually means you're hiring outside of the agencies (many of which have multi year contracts with big name fashion houses to provide girls for their shows). I can't even imagine how much of a headache it would be to try to cast models outside of agencies.

as a side note- no agency I've ever worked with will allow you to even go to fashion week castings if your hips are over 35", and even that's a stretch. They're usually pretty strict on the 24" waist, 34" hip measurements.

Aren't there agencies who specialize in "normal" looking people for advertisements and commercials outside the fashion industry?

TheDivinitus
09-26-2013, 12:41 PM
Looks like Rick Owens in today's SS14 RTW finally did some...


Here's a question that's been puzzling some of us here for a while now, and which Lumina and I talked about yesterday in a nice cafe in Antwerp :)
How come that the majority of designers discussed on here - who work at the frontiers of fashion design and who dare to challenge various aspects of it - don't dare to challenge the type of female models that represent their clothes on a runway? While with male fashion models this has already taken place (see, for example Yohji Yamamoto's SS 2009 show), hardly anyone dared to do the same when it comes to women. If I remember right, Vivienne Westwood partially challenged this habit with less slim models, and MMM recently had some more senior female models, but aside from these exceptions, the situation has mainly been unchanged.

The main question here is not why not diverging from the mainstream for the sake of certain ethical or political reasons (though that's an interesting question as well). What I am primarily interested in is the question, why are slim, young, tall, conventionally pretty models aesthetically more appealing for this niche in fashion design than other female types? Wouldn't a real challenge be to make a not-so-conventionally-beautiful person looking in an interesting way? And in any case, wouldn't, for example, an older, gray haired woman make an incredible impression on a runway? Why has this aspect of fashion, even in this niche, remained so incredibly mainstream?

OliverG
11-06-2013, 04:40 AM
^^ You can sell fantasy without super skinny models. With that said, the ideal (fantasized) woman changes over the course of time. The question is, who shaped the preferences of the masses? Is it the media, or is the media merely responding to that people truly want? Chances are our preferences are subsconsciously shaped by what's shoved down our throat, not vice versa, so in that case the media has the power to change the trends in modelling as well, no?

http://d24w6bsrhbeh9d.cloudfront.net/photo/792383_700b.jpg

Yes, I think the fact that our ideological vision of beauty changes over time, and with our lifestyles, is not to be dismissed. Robust women used to be considered sexy, maybe it had something to do with the survival instint, big meant healthy, you didn't want some skinny girl who was gonna die during the first winter (LOL but true)...Today we have a life of leisure, relatively speaking, and maybe its a naturally evolved consensus that thin women are more desirable. Is the media a mirror for society, or does it dictate society? I think we can certainly see with fashion that some things are dictated to a certan extent. You show people something enough times, they will start to like it, no matter how ridiculous it is...

That said, I think that designers have no real desire to change the body type that they use to model their clothing simply because they are looking for a frame for the clothing itself...

For the record, the whole skinny model thing started with Twiggy in the 60s... I saw a documentary on it not too long ago...

TheDivinitus
11-07-2013, 12:51 AM
Could you please tell what docu it was? Thanks.

ahn
11-07-2013, 10:28 PM
Perhaps Twiggy is credited with the initiation of the super-skinny model as a standard, but I was very interested to read in this link Gracia (Rosenrot) posted on twitter http://www.businessoffashion.com/2013/10/colins-column-tomes-of-the-times-3.html an excerpt of which:


And in that Jean Patou was not mistaken. His eyes were raised to a distant dress horizon which he understood thoroughly, making him the only couturier in Paris able to claim to have seen fashion’s first future shock of the twentieth century: the modernity of the streamlined, svelte silhouette.

We are talking of the dress revolution called sportswear, whereby good taste in fashion was to be about elimination and simplification. Based on a modern cut that gave women freedom and made them more conscious of the importance of the slim shape than ever before in history, it was a radical and permanent change of step.

Which begs the question - which came first, the chicken or the egg? Is it the skinny model we should blame or is it the fashions that force the figures?

fadetogrey
11-11-2013, 01:03 PM
To me the popularization of Skinny models- more specifically boyish, skinny all over (let’s not forget about the impossibly skinny corseted waists throughout history) girls in the 1960s feels like a reaction (or rebellion) to the socially acceptable norm of feminine beauty from the decade(s) before- the voluptuous, womanly bombshell with full breasts and hips. I think how different the clothes of the 60s were from the 50s and the drastic switch in ideal figure for modelling those clothes somewhat makes sense.

Social freedoms made wearing more revealing/tight fitting clothing more acceptable… the jeans so tight in the 70s that women needed pliers to pull up the zipper, barely there bikinis, plus the popularization of exercise (let’s get physical!) in the 80s, the “ideal woman” got thinner over time.

That "Heroin chic" thin androgyny in the 90s countered the comparatively healthy-looking (though still thin) supermodels (Linda, Naomi, Cindy, etc) But I’m not sure how it has evolved to such a rail thin pre-pubescent ideal that it is today, and that few are rebelling against.

In short I think the chicken and egg happened at the same time... influencing each other, though in my opinion I think that clothing has slightly more of an impact on body shape than the reverse.

Faust
11-11-2013, 03:57 PM
To me the popularization of Skinny models- more specifically boyish, skinny all over (let’s not forget about the impossibly skinny corseted waists throughout history) girls in the 1960s feels like a reaction (or rebellion) to the socially acceptable norm of feminine beauty from the decade(s) before- the voluptuous, womanly bombshell with full breasts and hips. I think how different the clothes of the 60s were from the 50s and the drastic switch in ideal figure for modelling those clothes somewhat makes sense.

Social freedoms made wearing more revealing/tight fitting clothing more acceptable… the jeans so tight in the 70s that women needed pliers to pull up the zipper, barely there bikinis, plus the popularization of exercise (let’s get physical!) in the 80s, the “ideal woman” got thinner over time.

That "Heroin chic" thin androgyny in the 90s countered the comparatively healthy-looking (though still thin) supermodels (Linda, Naomi, Cindy, etc) But I’m not sure how it has evolved to such a rail thin pre-pubescent ideal that it is today, and that few are rebelling against.

In short I think the chicken and egg happened at the same time... influencing each other, though in my opinion I think that clothing has slightly more of an impact on body shape than the reverse.

I have read a conjecture somewhere, can't remember where, that it's the projection of predominantly gay designers' own sexual desires. Please don't shoot the messenger - I do not subscribe to this point of view, but I did read this somewhere.

Bson
11-12-2013, 01:22 AM
I have read a conjecture somewhere, can't remember where, that it's the projection of predominantly gay designers' own sexual desires. Please don't shoot the messenger - I do not subscribe to this point of view, but I did read this somewhere.

Huh... I guess all the female designers have the same sexual fantasies. [lol]

Faust
11-12-2013, 07:00 AM
Huh... I guess all the female designers have the same sexual fantasies. [lol]

Which female designers, with perhaps the exception of Prada, do you think have dictated aesthetic preference in fashion at large?

Verdandi
11-12-2013, 07:47 AM
Funny that you mention Prada, Faust. I read some articles a while ago and they all basically said that it was Prada, or better the casting directors there, who pushed for a younger, skinnier and more uniform look in the first place. That was in the early 2000s and I don't think much has changed since then. I remember all the hoopla surrounding Kate Moss and 'heroin chic' back when I was a young girl in the 90s, but looking back I don't think Moss' physique would raise any concern today.

Faust
11-12-2013, 09:07 AM
I don't know much about this but it seems like it's the likes of Calvin Klein and Tom Ford that have pushed this. First time I hear Prada mentioned (not that I don't believe you).

Anyway, maybe someone who knows better will chime in. I know the subject is great news fodder because of its sensationalism and there are books written by former models about this (one memoir is called Hungry), but I don't know whether there has been a definite effect on women's health. These days I am MOST skeptical of anyone writing a memoir - it's become the easiest way to cash in on your life.

Verdandi
11-12-2013, 11:49 AM
Prada became the benchmark combing Eastern Europe for EXCLUSIVE girls much too young and inexperienced to be in any shows but their shows. I will credit them with creating a look that worked in a very provocative, interesting way for their image. This coupled with the rise of style.com just had people on the edge of their seats waiting to see who the next hot girl at Prada would be and everyone just handing you a list of what they wanted from the internet instead of doing their own thing. Problem is Prada would just replace them every season and though what they did for themselves I found brilliant, most of these girls were very disappointing in real life. Too young, no confidence or life experience and gone by next season. So models were no longer developed. Show packages went from 20-30 dependable aspirational girls to 400 girls a season and after seeing them, maybe finding two okay acceptable girls to work with. And then everyone from Calvin on down just followed suit trying to do what Prada did getting all exclusive crazy but doing it very badly and unoriginally. Personality and ethnicity disappeared and these pre-pubescent girls are why model size went from 8-0. And the business has not recovered from it and the situation is getting worse.
James Scully

I read a similar sentiment in another interview as well.

Faust
11-12-2013, 01:16 PM
Thanks for this! Very interesting.

Bson
11-13-2013, 01:36 AM
Which female designers, with perhaps the exception of Prada, do you think have dictated aesthetic preference in fashion at large?

Hmm... Well, I think the designers (male or female) across the board all went along with the trend of the models. You could see castings as time for designers to choose a canvas in which to best show their work-- if all the models showing up are within a certain weight, they only have certain options for canvas. Certainly, if the designers wanted to show a woman less slight of frame they could easily let that be known for the castings, though why? There is a system that they go through, not a fantasy. That was my point with my comment.

And honestly it's an absurd conjecture to say that the influential gay designers would suddenly be into into 'rail thin' boys after the muscular hype of men in the 90s (Marky Mark, etc), and then translate that into what they see in a woman wearing their clothing. It makes no sense. Even the men today that act as the muses of the top gay designers are muscular, with some few exceptions.

As already stated, to really know the answer you'd need to go back and study the correlation between designer's wants, what model managements sought after, and what was becoming popularized not only in editorials but also in the general aesthetic appeal of the public. Can you say the change is all because of a select few in fashion, even?

Now the men are just as thin, especially in the Paris shows. Even being 6-foot and moderately thin, I find it difficult myself to fit into some pieces. The gap in body type between the genders is becoming smaller and smaller every year. I think most designers are just along for the ride.

Faust
11-13-2013, 04:59 PM
I think the select few absolutely can and did. Only select few lead in fashion, the rest follow like a herd. Case in point, the answer to your bewilderment at mens sizing is Hedi Slimane. I don't have to go back for this one because I witnessed it. And if you don't believe me, ask the Kaiser who famously lost a lot of weight just to fit into the DH suits.

fadetogrey
11-13-2013, 06:06 PM
I think if you are a designer or a "house" that has the means (as in the time and money) to source the type of body or the age of model or whatever fulfills your artistic vision, going with the flow with regards to whatever size model is in fashion at the time, is a cop-out. It's lazy. Unless of course you have no point of view on the matter, but I find most creatives have a holistic approach to designing their "world". Off the top of my head I think of Yohji in particular with regards to using "alternative" models in some shows.

Many times the noise I hear about using alternative models, whether they be older than the "norm", larger than the "norm", etc, is something to the effect that it detracts from the clothes or that it becomes a gag. I think that's idiotic personally, if you can't look at or appreciate clothes on a body that isn't thin.

Just throwing an idea out there, but perhaps in some cases could the use of very thin "hanger" models be mirroring highly stylized design sketches- if a designer sketches and imagines a garment on a very thin elongated croque, and tries to recreate that look on a live person. If you look at most fashion illustration throughout the early 20th century, the forms are quite representative of real life proportions.

old
11-13-2013, 07:10 PM
Here (http://www.theimagist.com/node/6210) is another article that connected Prada with casting prepubescent girls, as a strategy against the supermodels in the 90s.


The opening slots and exclusives of Prada...so coveted and precious, a first exit in that space meant a star was born. That is until Prada itself (for we must imagine Prada an entity, and a very mercurial one at that) seemed to grow annoyed with all this pedestrian star-is-born drama and swung as randomly and mercurially as it wished. To the point that its Fall 2011 campaign featured 4 girls who not only did not set foot on a Prada catwalk, these girls had hardly set foot outside the little farm towns and villages they seemed to have been gleaned from. Beyond Prada it is the tone, everywhere on every runway. Every designer is doing as he or she will with these roaming bands of awkward new girls and every show increasingly a hermetic and self-enclosed statement of a single designer's current whim. There's very little connection or continuity.

Shucks
11-14-2013, 01:09 AM
Just throwing an idea out there, but perhaps in some cases could the use of very thin "hanger" models be mirroring highly stylized design sketches- if a designer sketches and imagines a garment on a very thin elongated croque, and tries to recreate that look on a live person. If you look at most fashion illustration throughout the early 20th century, the forms are quite representative of real life proportions.

u are almost touching on a point i was gonna make earlier but forgot. there is a difference in how proportions of a person/object in a two dimensional (and scaled-down) image (like a photo or sketch) is perceived compared to seeing the same person/object three dimensionally (and full scale). unhealthy proportions and weight issues will look much more absurd in real life (such as at a show) than in the photos from the same show. in a way i think this is part of what lies behind the development of rail thin models. the production of attractive images is one of the main drivers of the fashion business.

just to give an analogy - we can experience a caricature drawing as almost more 'true' than the real person being charicatured.