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

June 3, 2010

Six really IS the new fourteen

Filed under: Chanel,Couture,Fashion,Fashion Week,Models — Miss Plumcake @ 2:18 pm

Remember in The Devil Wears Prada (which I liked despite being the only woman on earth apparently not in love with Meryl Streep) when our straight-sized heroine Andy is told by creative director Nigel that “Six is the new fourteen.”?

Well, life imitates art.

First, you must go and read Style Spy’s revelation.  She could be a plus sized model!

“But wait!” you say “Style Spy is a teensy tiny size 4!” and I say “I know. read on, my friends.”

Mme Style Spy posted a picture of one of Ford Models’ newest members of their plus division, Alyona Osmanova:

The new face of plus size
and remarked how they share almost the exact same measurements, except Aloyna is much, much taller.

Now, just for comparison, Ms Osmanova’s measurements are reported as 36″ 28″ 40″ and she stands at just a hair under six feet tall.

Cindy Crawford, one of the few TRUE supermodels, is only 5’9″ but her model card from 1992 had her measurements as 34″ 22″ 35″,  Naomi Campbell, same height, reported her measurements as 34″ 28″ 40″ on the Tyra show in 2005.

Once again:

Supermodel Naomi Campbell: 34″ 28″ 40″ at 5’9″

Plus size model Alyona Osmanova: 36″ 28″ 40″ at 5’11”


Say what you will about the plus divisions of most modeling agencies (get a few sazeracs in me and I will) but at least back in my day –and we’re talking the late 90’s here– the plus sized models were actually plus sized: 12, 14, 16.

But I don’t think it’s all doom and gloom.

At this point, these size categories have been so bended and skewed as to be meaningless, and I think for the fashion world, that’s a good thing.

When reviewing the Chanel Resort collection, Andre Leon Talley (whose memoir ALT you MUST read) wrote:

“Lagerfeld had cast the show with a slightly more curvaceous model named Crystal Renn, not seen on any Chanel catwalk before. This in itself was groundbreaking for the house, but there was also the return of personality models encouraged to be themselves instead of robotic look-alikes.”

What I’m excited about isn’t known fatty hater Karl Lagerfeld casting “slightly more curvaceous” Crystal Renn (and THANK YOU, Mr Talley for that bit of intellectual honesty) it’s that we’re seeing a return to personality models.

We’ve kind of been doing 15 year old Eastern European automatons for almost a decade now, and they do look like robots, and while I understand the appeal having faceless identical clothes hangers must hold for a designer who wants all attention to go to his concept, not her beauty, I think we’ve gone as far as we can go in that direction and I’m extremely heartened to see pretty models once again, some of whom might even have what are recognizably womanly shapes.

I think the general acceptance of size 6 models –and dare I hope for an eight or *gasp* ten OTHER than Crystal Renn– is a much more tenable step in the right direction in the modeling industry than plopping down a handful of true plus size models as gimmick casting.

So I’ll end this little fashion rant the same way I end all my fashion rants, with a hope that fashion will start to incorporate actual meaningful diversity, not just high-heeled tokenism, into its editorials and advertisements.


  1. I may be the last one to have seen this, but have you seen this: ? I don’t know why this post reminded me of it, but I love this song.

    Comment by Sarah — June 3, 2010 @ 6:42 pm

  2. Back when I was at my thinnest, my waist was 28″, my bra size was 38C, and I don’t remember my hips, but they were proportionate. (Actually I looked a lot better than that model above.)

    Anyway, I wore a size 14 and I was regularly asked on the streets of Manhattan if I wanted to be a plus size model. (I am also six feet tall.) I was certainly NOT a size 4. The lowest size I’ve ever struggled into was a Perry Ellis coat in a size 8, and it was a bit tight.

    So someone’s lying somewhere. Those measurements don’t add up to a 4.

    Comment by Harri P. — June 4, 2010 @ 9:21 am

  3. @Harri – Her dress size is a size 10, but Style Spy, who is just a bit smaller (and quite a bit shorter) wears a four. And a 28″ waist really is a size 6 in most jeans.

    Comment by Plumcake — June 4, 2010 @ 10:04 am

  4. Her bra size is listed as 36B, so wouldn’t that mean she’s got a bust size of 38″?

    Clothing sizes are completely on crack, though; there’s no such thing as “a size 4” or “a size 10” because it can vary so much from line to line.

    And, um, not to sound catty, but is it typical for modeling shots to have iffy lighting and really bad hairstyling?

    Comment by zuzu — June 4, 2010 @ 11:57 am

  5. @Zuzu, comp cards where you’re at your plainest aren’t all that unusual for runway models. The general thinking behind it is if you’re looking for a model for runway and editorial work, you want to see the canvas, not the paint. You keep your other photos in your book.

    Comment by Plumcake — June 4, 2010 @ 12:35 pm

  6. Meaningful diversity would also mean that plus-size women could actually purchase clothes from big-name designers.

    Comment by dcsurfergirl — June 4, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

  7. @DC: Seconded, and not just haute couture. That being said, plus size women would also have to be willing to pay for big-name designers.

    Comment by Plumcake — June 4, 2010 @ 12:59 pm

  8. I’m sorry, but a 28″ waist is not plus-size.

    Comment by booklover — June 4, 2010 @ 1:44 pm

  9. From the headline alone, I was thinking that this was going to be a post about the early sexualization of kids these days. Indeed, six is the new fourteen in that sense, as well. :/

    Comment by wildflower — June 4, 2010 @ 2:11 pm

  10. Loved the ALT book. Liked the models of the eighties. The current Russian group, who have overstayed their welcome, look like pre-pubescent, elongated child aliens. A thigh should not look like a forearm. And I can’t really judge clothes modeled on a body without any hips, rear end etc. The super-model types at least had bodies that looked like women, if idealized, slender women.

    I’m not plus-sized, but I can imagine if I want to buy plus-sized clothes I’d like to see how they look on plus-sized models. The fish t-shirt aside, that model was lovely and showed what the shirt looks like on a big girl, not a size 10.

    Comment by Debs — June 4, 2010 @ 2:46 pm

  11. I just want to be able to at least have a few basic, go-to pieces that last for years. Every time I try for a classic piece, it wears out so fast. Would guys put up with quality issues?

    Comment by dcsurfergirl — June 5, 2010 @ 2:40 am

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