Let’s talk about women sizes.
The photographic service that opened the way to the “curvy phenomenon” on fashion was the one on the June 2011’s Vogue Italia front cover “Belle vere” (“Truly Beautiful”), by Steven Meisel. As you can imagine, the pictures were everywhere. Plus size girls on the cover of Vogue? The fashion world went mad. It had never happened on the history of Vogue, and it was all thanks to the Queen, the Vogue Italia’s director Franca Sozzani (that even created the Vogue Curvy section on vogueitalia.com, raised awareness against eating disorders in multiple occasions, and so much more). After 2011, thanks to “Franca”, step by step fashion started changing, campaigns with more realistic women started to emerge.
Recently Calvin Klein, for its new underwear line “Perfectly fit“, chose Myla Dalbesio as one of the testimonials.
Until here, everything’s alright: she’s gorgeous and the photo is interesting. Seeing just the picture I’m actually very happy, she is not the typical super skinny model, she looks healthy, tonic and the curves are on point. She’s a size 10 (taglia 44 in Italian), not the usual size 0 or 2. I can relate to this girl. I like the feeling.
Then I read the tweets, for example this one from Elle Magazine, the article that they wrote, the comments online…and I get mad.
The first thing I think is: if she’s plus size I’m freaking obese.
The second thought is: what the heck of a message are the people defining her “plus size” transmitting?
If you’re a teen and you read a tweet or an article about her being “plus size” and then you look at yourself and you find that you’re like her or even bigger, how do you feel? I’ll tell you, because I’ve been there: like crap. From a person that has had problems with weight all her life, that has being bullied about it for practically all her school years, I’ll tell you: you feel like you are broken, like there’s a “factory lack”. Because even if you’re strong and loved, sometimes your defenses are down, and a thing like this can really affect you. Because even if you’re strong, after a while you start thinking that there’s something wrong with you. “So many people say it, and for so long…maybe they’re right”.
But you don’t have to be bullied or to have someone come to you and say “you eat so little to be so fat” to feel like that. You can sense it from so many things around you. You go shopping because you need new clothes, or maybe because you want to do it as a treat, you watch yourself in the mirror of the fitting room, with those horrible lights pointing at you, and you go home depressed because there was nothing of your size – most of the shops receive very little amounts of “curvy” sizes, that are always sold out… sometimes even none -. You open a magazine, you’re walking down the street and you look up and see an advertisement… there are so many things that can kill your self-esteem during the day.
“I’m not skinny enough to be with the skinny girls and I’m not large enough to be with the large girls and I haven’t been able to find my place. This [campaign] was such a great feeling,”, Myla said.
“The Perfectly Fit line was created to celebrate and cater to the needs of different women, and these images are intended to communicate that our new line is more inclusive and available in several silhouettes in an extensive range of sizes.”
Well done, Calvin Klein, it was a great feeling for me too, and an intelligent strategy: if you can relate with it, you’re probably more incline to buy it, and you’re also sending a good message.
There’s another picture I would like to talk about, and it’s the worst of all, but I won’t do it, because it makes me too angry. Yes, I’m talking about Victoria’s Secret new campaign. I’m just going to put it –> here and you can draw a conclusion. What I will show you is the Daily Mail’s incredibile response.
In conclusion, I would love to see more “fit not thin” models, more realistic women. On the runway it’s probably going to be impossibile for a long time, but what matters is that things are moving, things are changing. At least I hope so.