Alberta Ferretti has announced she is going to send “real” women down the catwalk at her Pitti Uomo show on January 11th. (Are models not real?) So far, she has announced that there will be a few former models, socialites (the least “real” of them all…), and some women with real jobs, a lawyer and a psychologist (is modeling not a real job?)
This annoys me to no end, as there is nothing more painful that seeing someone walk down the catwalk when they don’t have the skills and confidence of a real model. I must say that the word “real” here is being overused, so I will clarify… A professional model knows how to walk, she/he is experienced on walking the catwalk, getting changed quickly, not to mention all the photography skills a good model has. It is not JUST a job for someone who looks pretty. So when you stick someone, pretty or not, on a catwalk, and they have never walked a catwalk before, it just looks bad.
The issue here should not be about getting “real” people on the catwalk (I applaud Ferretti’s attempt, but it isn’t the right thing to do), just as celebrities shouldn’t become fashion designers, and I shouldn’t have a go at being a ballerina. These are roles that require training, and a certain type of person to pull it off. The real issue here (there’s that word again!) is that the typical model should change. Or the typical model type should be broadened, so that designers can choose from women who are slightly rounder, shorter, or older than the girls we normally see on the catwalk, if they so choose.
I have witnessed a non-professional model get on a Paris fashion week catwalk, and it was painful. Just like I wouldn’t want to be thrown onto the stage of the Royal Opera House to dance Swan Lake, a lawyer will probably not want to be thrown onto a professional catwalk. Or, she might want to, but will regret it afterwards.
Rather than try all this gimmicky “real women on the catwalk” crap, why don’t designers just start casting a larger variety of models? Trust me, they exist, they just aren’t being called on to walk the big fashion catwalks. And if the demand is high, there will be more of them. I’d much prefer that, then see a bunch of non-models attempt the catwalk, which will be painful, unless they’ve had massive amounts of “walking” training, and are used to being on show in front of large groups of people.
Images from Vogue.com.