Kristin Booker • October 13, 2009

Here We Go Again….Editor's Thoughts: Karl Lagerfeld vs Plus-Sized Women

I got out of bed this morning to do 90 minutes worth of soul-soothing, amazing yoga this morning. I was all smoothed out and in a peaceful place until I logged onto my computer this morning. First I felt I had to say something about the fact that there was a model painted in blackface in French Vogue. Now Karl Lagerfeld has gone and insulted curvy and plus-sized women. This site is not normally rant-heavy but, you know, evidently today is special so let’s get to it, shall we?

According to StyleList, German magazine Brigitte has decided to use “ordinary, realistic” women in their magazine instead of models. As a fellow countryman and fashion expert, when German magazine Focus contacted Lagerfeld for his opinion on the magazine’s strategy, this is what happened:

Lagerfeld, speaking in German, his native tongue, told Focus that Brigitte’s plan was “absurd,” and that the women complaining about too-skinny models were just fat and jealous. “These are fat mummies sitting with their bags of crisps in front of the television, saying that thin models are ugly,” the Chanel designer tells Focus, going on to say that the fashion industry supports “dreams and illusions, and no one wants to see round women.”
–AOL Stylist, 10/12/09


Some points on the statement:

  • The “fat mummies” of which he speaks aren’t the ones screaming for reform on the minimum weights of said models. It’s the fashion industry itself that’s starting to turn a keen eye to the health of models and the negative impact of unobtainable images on its customers. Perhaps we’re asking for more realistic body images but we’re the CUSTOMERS. We can do that.
  • Lagerfeld himself famously lost 93 lbs in 13 months to fit into Dior Homme’s skinny suits. Once a rather curvy individual himself, this comment seems a tad hypocritical.
  • I imagine the publishers of Brigitte have a right to change their content any way they see fit. If they choose to only use models that are of a more mainstream weight category, what’s the harm in that? The fantasy is about the clothes and of living a beautiful lifestyle, not starving yourself into a body type that you cannot obtain without risk to your own health.

Lagerfeld’s point that the fashion industry is about illusions and dreams is absolutely correct, but there are still a great number of people in said industry that practice a long-understood bias against anyone over a size 6. That doesn’t make it right and it doesn’t mean it can’t change. Let’s see if Brigitte’s plan is so crazy. If women buy the magazine and the advertisers remain happy, so much the better.

Why can’t we use editorial images to portray healthy bodies of all types and weights because we’re ALL beautiful when we take care of ourselves. As a “round woman”, I’ll just have to pursue my dreams and aspirations without wearing Chanel until an apology is received. 🙂


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