Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Since when does a woman have to look like a refugee from a Third World country to look good in designer clothes?

Size 0 again, I'm afraid.

Some time ago I did some research about modelling - not because I want to do it myself, just for fun. I wondered about how models looked in the past - 30, 40, 50 years ago. This is my result:

A woman modelling before the era of Twiggy - the first (unofficial) Size 0 model - would never, ever get a job today. They'd be seen as far too fat.

Originally the job of a model was to show ordinary women how the new clothes fashion designers had created would look on them. In other words: The more or less average woman could look at a picture in a magazine or a woman doing her turn on the catwalk and imagine what this new dress or that new costume would look on her - give or take a couple of pounds, of course.

But, of course, this also was the time when fashion designers still designed clothes that should be worn by women - not by sticks with arms and legs added. Just look at clothes from the fifties right up to the eighties. They were designed to accentuated the curves and shapes of a feminine figure. Some of them might look hilarious or just ridiculous today (especially some fashion sins from the eighties like neon or leggings - which are en vogue again, as it seems), but all of them could look good on a normal woman as well (except maybe for those only created for teenage girls in the Twiggy-era).

Today fashion designers argue that they need those super-thin models, because they "make the fashion look good". Excuse me, but I don't want fashion that only looks good on somebody who could earn millions for the Third World by just asking for an euro for a snack from everyone. I'm not even sure whether the clothes designed by the very renown designers (such as Lagerfeld or Joop) actually can be worn in public without getting arrested for not being properly dressed.

Once upon a time the fashion shown in Milan, New York, Paris or London was supposed to be slightly altered for the shops where average women could buy it. Today you would have to heavily alter those clothes to make it remotely possible any average woman would consider buying them.

Fashion design today is art … useless for everyday life or even the really important parties normal people don't get invited to - which is the worst form of art there is. But while I gladly pay money to go to a museum and see works of art, I surely won't pay money for clothes I can't wear anywhere without getting into trouble.

Once upon a time every woman wanted a Chanel-costume: simple, elegant and never really out of fashion. Today even if a fashion designer allowed a company like H&M or C&A to put his designs on sale for little money, hardly anyone would buy them.

When I look at a model doing her turns on the catwalk with the latest designs, I want to think "hey, this could look good on me" (or, at the moment, rather a good friend of mine who's not overweight) not "oh my god, when did she last time eat anything more sustaining than a TicTac".

So I have one thing to say to all the fashion designers who think a woman has to be thin to "make their designs look good": You obviously have chosen the wrong profession if you think it's not possible to create something fetching for a women with an average size.

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