Friday, 8 October 2010

Just as Beautiful?

As the debate continues on whether or not catwalks should use size zero models, or if skinny models used in magazines are bad role models for easily influenced younger girls, it’s very refreshing to see the launch of a brand new magazine, called ‘Just as Beautiful’. This magazine is the first of its kind, using only plus sized curvier models. Don’t expect to find stick thin girls, airbrushing or diet tips in this magazine! ‘Just as Beautiful’ is aimed at women who are between a size 14 and 20 and they will not use models that are slimmer than its target audience.

There’s obviously a gap in the market for this type of publication, however, is there a reason for that? Do people aspire to be a size 14 or bigger? Or are we all longing to be that size 8 cover model on the front of Marie Claire? It certainly celebrates the larger woman, illustrating that you don’t have to be skinny to be beautiful. In the appearance-obsessed culture that we live in, I personally think it’s great to be able to open a magazine full of ‘normal’, average sized women, rather than seeing image upon image of false celebrities such as Cheryl Cole and Jessica Simpson. How nice to compare yourself to someone who hasn’t had thousands of pounds spent on their appearance, (no doubt on hair extensions, facials, personal trainers and tooth veneers). More and more magazines are realizing this – take Essentials. Their October issue was crammed full of features on their readers, and this month features a reader on the front cover with her story inside.

‘Just as Beautiful’ say what they want to do is supply a magazine for women who don't want to be made to feel bad about the way they look. They might have interviews from plus size celebrities like Ruth Jones but they are straightforward interviews and don't concentrate on their size. The point of the magazine is not to make such a big deal about women's figures like other magazines do.

As always, there are going to be mixed opinions. Do you feel that you don’t want to read about real women, some of whom could be considered overweight, or do you love the idea of the magazine and think it’s about time we realized that a size zero model is not a healthy body image to live up to?

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Friday, 1 October 2010

Grey pride

After a mass pilgrimage of the fiercely fashionable to London and beyond this month, Fashion weeks around the world have now drawn to a close for 2010.

So what exciting trends have emerged from the couture, and what can we expect to be translated into high street next Spring/Summer? In summary: White’s are in, Neon Brights are back, Fringing is abundant, and Prints – well, the louder the better! We are apparently supposed to tease our hair into 70’s-esque frizzy-chic afro’s or just off the beach waves (in London?) and go hell for leather for the biker babe look…I’m talking leather and studded accessories people.
And what about the image we are supposed to be channeling as a result of the ‘new’ female friendly models used on the catwalks. Last year a ‘Fast furor’ broke out as Mark Fast put plus size models in body con knitwear. This year, there was no exception to breaking body boundaries. Grey is suddenly ‘the new black’ as Brit designer Giles put his 71 year old leading lady in the spotlight, showcasing the veteran modeling legend – Veruschka von Lehndorff. Walking alongside the fresh faced Brit WAG Abbey Clancy, you could be forgiven for thinking he’s lost his marbles a bit. However, this gorgeous granny stole the show, and the subsequent headlines, and this appreciation of old school glamour and beauty is admirable! Following suit, Madrid based designer Duyos applied the same rules to his show last week with a troupe of golden oldies. He was overheard unapologetically musing ‘I am fed up of seeing 20-year-old models advertise anti-wrinkle creams for women aged 60. Beauty does not end at 40 or 50’ and then went on to describe elderly women as being ‘just as beautiful as 20-year-olds’.

Is this a statement being made by designers worldwide to gain a wider following? Or are they, just as we are, influenced by the street trends of ‘Grey’ being back en mode. Take for example the continued lure of silver haired supermodel Kristen McMenamy, the massive success of the Lady Gaga Vogue covershoot and the recent research showing Men over 55, a.k.a Silver Foxes, are officially sexy again. Don’t get me wrong; although I wouldn’t say no to George Clooney, it’s all a bit Electra complex for my liking…

However, for once, I’m loving that Fashion Week is promoting natural beauty, and growing old gracefully. When my blonde locks start fading into a silvery style, I’m definitely going to do everything I can to make it shine. Until then, I’ll leave it to the professionals.

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