Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

January 6, 2010

In Which Plumcake’s Heart Grows Three Sizes That Day

Filed under: Absolutely Fabulous,Fashion,Fashion History — Miss Plumcake @ 9:26 am

When it comes to the fashion world, especially the modeling world, I am a cold, cold jaded shrew.

I know most plus-size models are size 10/12 and travel with their own set of pads to make them look bigger. I know there’s only ever one famous plus-size model at a time and I know nine times out of ten, if there’s a plus-size model in a straight-sized shoot, she’s there like a token black model would’ve been in the early 70’s.

And it’s not that I’m bitter. I had a blast when I modeled. My neck was too short for me to ever be a real success, but I was popular enough as an artists’ model to pay my bills for a while and I got to do the occasional charity runway thing which was all kinds of fun (Mama can STOMP. IT. OUT.) and I got to meet all sorts of cool artist guys I’m glad I never slept with. If you’ve ever wanted to model and have the required beauty, thick skin and good head on  your shoulders, I say give it a try.

But when you’ve been in and around the industry for a decade or so, you can get a little jaded. You realize Crystal Renn is just the new Mia Tyler, who was the new Kate  Dillon who was the new Sophie Dahl etc etc etc.  Now granted, all those girls –except for Sophie who is back to a straight size and just as gorgeous as ever– are still working as plus size models, but only Crystal is getting the covers.  Crystal is a damn good model but I’m just about exhausted of all the kerfuffle made over her each time she gets an editorial. It’s nothing new. She’s just the token “fat chick” who is virtually indistinguishable from a skinny chick.

THIS, however, is new:

V Magazine preview courtesy of

V Magazine preview courtesy of

(click on the photos to view more previews, you know you want to)

What we have here are four gorgeous undeniably plus-size models in V Magazine’s upcoming “Size Issue” and you know what these photos say to me?

Supermodels are back.

Good old-fashioned Gianni Versace schmoozing, George Michael lip-synch, don’t-get-out-of-bed-for-less-than-$10,000 quoting, early 90’s supermodels and it’s




Because this? Is gorgeous and lush and LONG overdue. It is full on glamor and I LOVE it because dammit, life is HARD right now for a lot of people and by God if ever there’s been a time to be allowed to do a smoky eye AND a major lip, it’s when we can’t afford anything BUT a new red lipstick and some kohl pencil.

Do I think we’re going to see a preponderance of plus-sized women on the catwalk and in major fashion editorials any time soon? Not hardly. But I DO think it means we’re moving away from the size 00 models and might start seeing fours and sixes again. I think the pendulum will swing away from the hard, post-modern space-age praying mantis ideal we’ve got now back to lushness and a certain over-the-top natural sexiness that just cannot happen when you don’t have any vavas to voom.

So well played, V Magazine. Well played indeed and I  hope this is the start of something big –as it were– for all of us.


  1. Yay! so glad to see this here. I can look at these photos over and over and over and over… you get the idea.

    Comment by Sarah — January 6, 2010 @ 11:26 am

  2. **applause** I also eagerly await the day when it’s more fashionable to look like an actual adult woman than a lanky preteen.

    Comment by Evie — January 6, 2010 @ 12:01 pm

  3. From your keyboard to the fashion industry’s eyes, my friend. These women are superfantastic.

    Comment by Twistie — January 6, 2010 @ 12:15 pm

  4. I just want to see more models’ sizes. I have no issue with the tall, thin size 00 models. I would like to see clothes modeled on petite and plus sizes.
    I question the talent of the designers that create clothes with only size 00 women in mind.

    Comment by dcsurfergirl — January 6, 2010 @ 1:31 pm

  5. I’m with you DC. I really don’t object to anyone’s size and would be perfectly happy to see size 00’s and size 22’s walking down the runway. I really don’t think most designers design with 00’s in mind, but they make their samples that size because it’s cheaper when you’re making a one-off. Of course there are some who really design for the ultra feminine form, like John Galliano.

    Comment by Plumcake — January 6, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

  6. The 00 being cheaper to make clothing may be why samples are small, but it doesn’t explain what Francesca pointed out last week: Nordstrom’s use of a really tiny model to sell clothing it fully has available in 0 to 12.

    Otherwise, amen. I’m sick to death of runway shows about pixies with pixie hair and pixie otherworldly makeup. This is not just about the models’ size, it’s about the frizzy hair and the great big lips done in nude lipstick that I have had my fill of for a lifetime! It’s no secret that I think Karl lost whatever talent he had in the early 1980s, but Chanel’s spring show this year was the last stab in the eye I needed. Gossamer *country* fairies with clogs on and hay in their hair? Oh, an accompanied by a misogynist and classicist comment about mothers? Just shoot me before you people put me through that again.

    I think that’s one of the reasons why Gaultier’s dress for Crystal Renn was so incredible–he proved that a larger woman could be otherworldly as well. But honestly that was *ages* ago and I’m still seeing neutrals and the flyaway hair GIVE ME SOMETHING creative that I can relate to. It’s not just about my size. It’s that I have to get up and teach classes and wring money out of deans and I can’t do that with hay in my hair.

    Another thing I wish would GO AWAY: I hate the word “plus-sized.” I’ve hated it ever since I was a little fat girl and my mother was promising me pretty close as soon as I dieted out of the “pretty plus” range of Girl’s clothing at Sears. “Plus size” is arbitrary and stigmatizing. There shouldn’t “plus sizes” and “women’s sizes” and “misses sizes.” There should be SIZES, period. There are women. They come in sizes. Men don’t come in “plus sizes.” They come in “king-sized.” I’m tired of hearing about plus-sized models the same way I am tired of being called “woman economist.” They are models, I am an economist.

    Comment by Lisa — January 6, 2010 @ 2:45 pm

  7. I’ve always been a fan of fuller-figured models. There’s a great site with many images of Crystal and other plus-size models here:

    They’re all gorgeous.

    The site’s forum also has thought-provoking discussions about body image and the media.

    Comment by Marcie — January 6, 2010 @ 3:53 pm

  8. You said it! This is an amazing little article and I wish you would send it to V Magazine, just so they know what kind of things this implies for the future and for all of us.

    Comment by x — January 6, 2010 @ 5:34 pm

  9. Concur.
    Loved ‘the hard, post-modern space-age praying mantis ideal we’ve got now’ comment, and I couldn’t agree more.
    It’s not that I hate the current 00 models, but that I can’t relate to them and I know that what they are wearing will never be made or interpreted for my size, and is therefore of no interest to me.
    And I’m with DC and Lisa, I just want my form to be considered by designers. Apples, Pears and Hourglasses. Seriously, don’t the designers realize that they are limiting themselves creatively and in the market place by focusing on one body type?

    Comment by jojo.k — January 6, 2010 @ 7:32 pm

  10. This is certainly a refreshing change. Some people will react badly to this but who cares?! It’s a step for big women. Weeee!

    Comment by All Women Stalker — January 6, 2010 @ 8:32 pm

  11. I also think it’s lazy designing not to make clothing that works on shorter women. But there are a lot of great images of short women but it’s that photography is done in such a way that people don’t realize what people’s *real* sizes are. So I live in LA and whenever somebody famous is seen in real life, everybody says the same thing: Whoever it is is much shorter than I thought.”

    Just to give you an idea, here’s a list of absolutely stunning women, regularly photographed all the time, and under 5’3:

    Drew Barrymore (5.18 ft)
    Salma Hayek (talk about va-va to voom; she has voom to spare even though she’s 5’2”)
    Sissy Spacek who just keeps getting prettier the older she gets (5.167 ft)
    Hillary Duff (5.082 ft)
    Patricia Arquette (short and rather round, and 100 percent adorable on Medium 5.125 ft)
    Holly Hunter (5.043 ft)
    Christina Ricci (5.04 ft)
    Reese Witherspoon (5.22 feet)
    Natalie Portman (5.12 feet)
    Jada Pinkett Smith (4.94 ft)
    Audrey Tautou (5.2 ft)
    Alfre Woodard (another lifelong crush of mine 5.2 feet)

    Comment by Lisa — January 7, 2010 @ 1:18 am

  12. They are lovely women and photos, but I note that they’re not actually wearing much in the way of clothing. Why is a pinup of a naked woman in a fashion editorial? What in heaven’s name is that *leopard print bodysuit* and why is she wearing it? Why are the two women in jeans not wearing shirts and how tired is that faux-lesbian meme in fashion editorials anyway?

    Next up, please, fashion people, but some freakin’ FASHION on the models with curves.

    Comment by Jezebella — January 7, 2010 @ 6:44 pm

  13. Don’t forget Halle Berry, a former model who was told she was too short to do runway.

    Comment by jojo.k — January 7, 2010 @ 7:17 pm

  14. Thanks for that info Lisa. I’m always amazed when I discover that celebrities like the ones you listed are that tall. It makes me feel better about my own height even though I know I shouldn’t need validation from such comparisons.

    Comment by Lila — January 7, 2010 @ 11:11 pm

  15. Thank you so much for posting links to these pics. *Sigh* It gave me all sorts of hope and inspirations.

    Comment by brooklynshoebabe — January 7, 2010 @ 11:38 pm

  16. Me too! By the way, I took a peek at your site. Are you a sister TriDelt?

    Comment by Plumcake — January 8, 2010 @ 12:15 am

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