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Milan Feeds Fat Fashion Myth

Feb
20
2007

It’s fashion week in Milan, again, but this time women’s shows. Honey, that means strictly A-list celebs, fur coats, metallic dresses and double-finger snaps all around.
As usual, there’s much cause for crankiness. My beef this time is just to what lengths — micro-mini to floor scraping — officials have gone to address the plague of toothpick mannequins.
In an air-kissy kind of way, that is. To combat the endless procession of underage zombie girls on the runway, they held a fashion show.


Not just any fashion show, but a show with models size 42 – that’s a non-vanity-sized US size 8.
There are a couple of problems with this: for starters, the show was held the day before fashion week actually started.
One of the three things I know about fashion week (the other two are: it’s much, much longer than a regular week and stay home if possible) is that the show calendar is fought over more than a pair of Gucci stilettos at 70% off.
Unsurprisingly, a no-name plus-size show couldn’t squeeze into the size-0 calendar. This meant a lot of backstage bickering and that the “anti-anorexic fashion show” was held on the eve of fashion week.
Naturally, it was a perfect setting for the ritual display of gums by politicians and the head of the national fashion chamber on the topic of killer diets and killer fashion.
There were no heavyweight buyers or fashionistas to hear them, though. It was held outside in Corso Sempione (in front of the Condé Nast offices) so that “the people” could come. I suspect it was also because they knew it impossible fill a café with industry people who were otherwise sensibly engaged in eating risotto alla milanese before the real fashion frenzy started.
The model-symbol of the evening? Valeria Mazza, a cheerful Argentine whose one-time claim to fame was a modest resemblance to Claudia Schiffer and who traded her face stocking in for family life a few years back. So not exactly front-row famous.
You also don’t have be able to airbrush your foundation to notice there are plenty of prominent chest bones and 90° angle arms in the anorexic-free show, largely because if you’re 10 feet tall, a size 8 can be plenty skinny. (They weren’t chosen for BMI, thought to be a better indicator of weight/proportion.)
When the Manolo crowd reviewed the one truly weighty show in the fashion calendar (Elena Mirò, who has been making clothes sized 10 and up since the 1970s), they gave some glossy lip service to the plight of larger women and smaller models.
But Stefano Gabbana neatly explained why we’ll continue to watch skeleton girls collapse around the globe and underfed women mooning at us from magazines: “Women have to understand that the models on the catwalk or in the magazines are aspirational models of beauty and youth, who give us an incentive to take care of ourselves, to better ourselves – but not examples to copy.”
Remember, carissime, we’re supposed to “aspire” to look like them, but not starve ourselves into “actually” looking like them. So we can be perennially dissatisfied but healthy.
It was one thing when women couldn’t read, couldn’t hold property, couldn’t vote, couldn’t work, couldn’t divorce and couldn’t open a bank account without a male signature. Now we’ve lost those constraints — along with the hoop skirt and corset — but we’re allowing someone else to dictate the way our bodies should look.
To change this, you’d have to hit them where it hurts: something simple but clear, say a concentrated one-month boycott of Vogue editions worldwide.
Just might show them that today’s women have different aspirations and demand that fashion follow suit.

Share  Posted by Nicole Martinelli at 12:36 PM | Permalink

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