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How plus-size models conquered the catwalks of world fashion capitals, or Beauty in any size
How plus-size models conquered the catwalks of world fashion capitals, or Beauty in any size

Today we are already accustomed to the idea that beauty has no size, large brands have finally listened to the wishes of consumers and began to expand the size ranges, and advertising campaigns are increasingly showing photos of ordinary women without traces of retouching. However, on the catwalks of Milan and Paris, you rarely see girls larger than the size XS. And therefore, the loud appearance of plus-size models at the World Fashion Weeks leaves no one indifferent …

First plus-size models: Mia Tyler and Sophie Dahl

The first exits to the podium Sophie Dahl

Surprisingly, the first signs of plus size modeling appeared in the late 1990s. The most famous of them are Sophie Dahl and Mia Tyler. The first, a real English rose, a white-skinned beauty with huge eyes, became famous at the age of eighteen under the auspices of the "mother of geniuses" Isabella Blow, who revealed to the world many talents in the fashion industry.

Sophie Dahl was the first famous plus-size model

Designers exploited Sophie's romantic appearance, either giving her a frightening doll-like charm, or turning her into a femme fatale. However, Sophie's modeling career did not last long - she chose the path of writing. Dahl was complete only against the background of the models of those years, however, after completing participation in the shows, she parted with a certain amount of kilograms.

Mia Tyler with her father

Mia Tyler, daughter of Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, struggled with excess weight (by the standards of Western stars) from a young age. She admitted that, suffering from hatred of her body, she was engaged in self-harm and planned to commit suicide.

Mia Tyler on the catwalk and with her sister - actress Liv Tyler

However, Mia got into the elite modeling agency Wilhelmina Models and soon appeared on the covers of Seventeen, Teen, Vogue, participated in many shows at Fashion Weeks in Paris and New York. Mia's bright, sensual appearance contrasted favorably with the "heroin chic" that reigned on the catwalks. However, after the birth of her daughter, Mia left modeling and took up other things - filming in films, legal education … In addition, in 2009, the girl created her own clothing line called REVOLUTION 1228.

Plus size is like a riot at Gaultier's shows

Beth Ditto at the Gaultier show

Jean-Paul Gaultier has always been a rebel and loved to undermine the foundations, including in the choice of models for shows. Beth Ditto is his longtime girlfriend and, no doubt, a bright personality. Former Gossip soloist, singer, writer, feminist, body positive activist, fashion designer … In 2011, she presented two extravagant dresses at his spring-summer show in Paris. In 2020, Gaultier and Ditto made a statement about the continuation of cooperation - already as fellow designers.

Crystal Rennes on the pages of the magazine and at the Gaultier show

A year earlier, the face of his new fall-winter campaign was one of the first professional plus-size models - Crystal Rennes. Rennes has been diligently building a modeling career since the age of 14, which seriously affected her health - the girl received a severe eating disorder. The refusal to play by the rules of the fashion industry suddenly turned her into one of the top models of the decade. I must say that the model "plus-size" outside the catwalks is called rather "normal" size and rarely exceeds the Russian 50th - given the growth of models, it is difficult to call it a "plus". Statistically, the majority of women on the planet Earth have about this size. However, the 50th size of Crystal Rennes was a sensation, a breakthrough - like her statements about the harm that the cult of thinness caused her psyche.And although now her weight has shifted down again, Rennes is considered a true revolutionary.

Tess Holliday is a truly plus-size model

Tess Holliday at the Chromat show

"Yes, what a plus!" - we are usually indignant when we see models on the catwalks that are only a little larger than usual. In the case of Tess Holliday, there is a different kind of indignation, but this does not bother her at all. Tess is a real celebrity, she has a frank Instagram account, has been filmed for the most famous glossy magazines, her every statement, her every outfit and her every action is discussed in the press for weeks. Her fame has always had a slightly scandalous connotation. Some admire her courage, others criticize her for "promoting excess weight", while others question her sincerity - after all, Tess is more likely to "trade" her unusual appearance, turning her ideal face and body, atypical for a model, into an art object. She appears more often at fashion parties and on covers than on the catwalk, but in 2019 she participated in the show of the inclusive brand Chromat as part of New York Fashion Week. The girl presented to the public a seductive white dress with a slogan criticizing the standards of beauty.

Fashion for everyone: exclusive fashion shows of the 2020s

Versace show

In the years of heated discussions about body positivity, luxury fashion brands remain conservative, but the situation is gradually changing. The Chromat brand is known for a wide variety of types on the catwalk, the “prince of Darkness” of haute couture Rick Owens invited dancers with strong muscular bodies to the shows … And even brands that did not differ in outrageousness sometimes choose models with larger than usual clothing sizes. The world famous Versace brand attracted three well-known plus-size models to participate in the spring-summer 2021 show - Jill Kortlev, Preshes Lee and Alva Claire appeared in front of the public in bright and revealing dresses. The latter previously participated almost exclusively in the shows of those brands that initially position themselves as inclusive, that is, aimed at the widest possible consumer - for example, Savage x Fenty under the leadership of singer Rihanna.

Tommy Hilfiger show. Left - Ashley Graham Tommy Hilfiger show

Against this background, the shows of the American company Tommy Hilfiger in New York went almost unnoticed - and in vain. Elegant fitted coats, strict sheath dresses, blouses with loose bows, pencil skirts and classic trousers were demonstrated not only by young girls with parameters 90-60-90, but also plus-size models, as well as adult women. One of the Tommy Hilfiger shows was attended by Ashley Graham (perhaps one of the key plus-size models of our days), preparing to become a mother.

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