High Fashion Busts Out
I won’t hesitate to call out the fashion industry on its fear of curves. But when Carol White, supermodel Naomi Campbell’s ex-agent, recently told London’s Daily Mail that she’s looking for the sort of models with a more substantial bust for the upcoming seasons, I had to cringe.
“I now look for girls with breasts, and that is something we wouldn’t have countenanced 10 years ago. Our biggest demand in the past two years has been for a D cup,” said White.
Lara Stone’s now iconic Vogue Paris cover — which features the super model’s breasts at the center of the photograph, a large piece of black lace covering her eyes — launched breasts into fashion’s popular consciousness. But breasts are, plain and simple, a piece of the female anatomy, not a leather shoulder bag or a pair of cat eye sunglasses. A woman can’t take them on and off with the changing season; she’s stuck with what she’s got no matter what fashion’s current trends entail.
White’s admission that breasts are now “trendy” in the high fashion world is more disturbing than promising that fashion is now embracing a different body type. Casting big-breasted models doesn’t mean that the industry is now celebrating the female form in all its various forms — it means they are developing a marketing scheme. Don’t let Stone’s ample assets mislead you; she is, according the blog Jezebel, a size four, “highly typical (for a straight-sized model) measurements.”
Curvy women find empowerment everywhere: Victoria’s Secret billboards, movie screens, music videos. As a small woman with no curves to speak of, I used to be able to depend on the fashion industry to find empowerment — it’s the only place in entertainment where my body type is embraced. And as much as I abhor the lack of diversity in fashion, I’m not proud of the industry for looking to so-called “plus-size” girls for future runway shows. White and her colleagues are exploiting breasts — Purple magazine exploited Freja Beha’s lack of them — as a way to create a new trend in the fashion industry.
High fashion has always been able to fetishize thin women; the industry found a way to make women with no classic sex appeal sensual and provocative. The attempt to turn large breasts into fashion’s newest fad is pathetic — not because it goes against tradition, but because it makes light of the female body, turning it from the natural result of biology to a new craze, popular one moment and gone with the tide of fashion in the next.