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Thread: Female fashion models and stereotypes

  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by rilu View Post
    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.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianef View Post
    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...
    Selling CCP, Harnden, Raf, Rick etc.
    http://www.stylezeitgeist.com/forums...me-other-stuff

  3. #23

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    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.

  4. #24

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    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.

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by kirie View Post

    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?

  6. #26

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    Looks like Rick Owens in today's SS14 RTW finally did some...

    Quote Originally Posted by rilu View Post
    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?

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosenrot View Post
    ^^ 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?

    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...

  8. #28

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    Could you please tell what docu it was? Thanks.

  9. #29

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    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/201...e-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?
    some do it fast, some do it better in smaller amounts.

  10. #30

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    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.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by fadetogrey View Post
    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.
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

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  12. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Faust View Post
    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.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bson View Post
    Huh... I guess all the female designers have the same sexual fantasies.
    Which female designers, with perhaps the exception of Prada, do you think have dictated aesthetic preference in fashion at large?
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

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  14. #34

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    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.
    lavender menace

  15. #35
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    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.
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

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  16. #36

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    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.
    lavender menace

  17. #37
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    Thanks for this! Very interesting.
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

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  18. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Faust View Post
    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.

  19. #39
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    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.
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

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  20. #40

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    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.

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