The New Curves

A thin, androgynous Freja Beha Erichsen for Rolling Stone, shot by Theo Wenner

I spend a lot of time looking at magazine editorials (thanks to Fashion Gone Rogue) and there is no doubt that the typical fashion model’s body has changed quite dramatically in the past year or two. The skinny, androgynous waifs are now the minority, with curvier, more womanly models dominating fashion imagery. But this isn’t news to any of us, we’ve all heard about Lara Stone, Crystal Renn, and the Victoria’s Secret models’ fame.

A very curvy Crystal Renn by Seth Sabal.

My reason for writing this post is more about the fact that I have begun finding myself slightly repulsed by the “old” look. Perhaps repulsed is a harsh word, but when I’ve been looking at campaigns recently, the skinny waifs look so dated and boring to me. I’ll probably be shot for saying a bad word about Freja Beha Erichson, the stunning flat-chested Dane who has graced nearly every magazine thats worth gracing, but when you compare her to the other big girls of the moment, she seems so OVER.

A womanly Lara Stone by Mario Testino in British Vogue's December issue.

I was watching a documentary about the Crazy Horse yesterday with my Dad (Crazy Horse is a cabaret in Paris where the dancers do themed performances wearing a very skimpy g-string. They are mostly ex-ballerinas and all have identical bodies.) I think I was interested in different aspects than my husband and father, who were probably just staring at the hot bods, but it was interesting how they were talking about how important it was that the girls bums were round, not flat, and that they couldn’t be too thin (nor too fat. They are weighed on a weekly basis.) Also, there is a very strict guideline about the measurement from belly button to pubis, which must be 13cm to ensure that the bum sticks out. Their body ideal was about curves, which is interesting considering these women are considered to have some of the best bodies in the world, while many models in past years have been much thinner and flatter.

Dancers on stage at the Crazy Horse in Paris.

Note: nudity follows.

Eniko Mihalik by Thomas Lagrange, for Antidote magazine.

It was also these photos of Eniko Mihalik that got me thinking about all of this. She is stunning, and like some of the models of the moment, she also has breasts and curves. She looks so refreshing, as does Lara Stone in the Pirelli calendar.

Lara Stone in the 2011 Pirelli calendar, shot by Karl Lagerfeld.

I am definitely all about the new curves, they look healthier, sexier, and it was damn well time for a change. What do you think?

Freja Beha Erichson in Vogue Paris' December issue shot by Hedi Slimane. I think she looks sickly, not beautiful.

All images from Fashion Gone Rogue except Pirelli calendar and Crazy Horse dancers.

  • Denitsa

    I think Freja is super beautiful and an incredible model but really a bit too skinny. I love the new curvy look, the models look like gorgeous women, not like clothes hangers anymore. U would say most of them are still thin but in a very healthy sexy way.

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  • anya

    I agree that she is too thin but Freja’s face is perfection to me. Even worse than the skinnies are the 14 year-old doll looking things. I’m glad that look is over.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, I agree that Freja has a beautiful face. But those thin bodies look
    wrong these days…

  • Katie

    Growing up as a very flat chested girl (I didn’t even fill an AA cup), I often took solace in some of fashion’s less curvy models. While I know many women have disdain for the “unrealistic” body types of skinny models, these women helped me feel more comfortable in my body.

    Perhaps it’s naïve of me, but I like to see all body shapes celebrated by fashion. A woman without curves can be just as gorgeous, healthy, and natural, as one with voluptuous ones. All of the images you chose are beautiful.

  • carol

    what i don’t quite grasp is the fact that there always have to be *a look*. like mentioned before, i think people would feel a lot better in their own skins if there were different types of models out there. and i’m not talking about obese models to make regular obese people feel good about themselves – obesity is a disease as much as anorexia/bulimia all that crap the fashion industry hears time and time again.

    what i’m saying is: i’m a brazilian and apart from emmanuelle de paula and adriana lima (who, btw, has piercing blue eyes), there aren’t any darker skinned models – or any different models in any sense. we’re a very mixed race country, and although we have german and polish heritage, we also have african, japanese, lebanese, portuguese, spanish, italian and so many others. and we also have tons of different body shapes; although most of our models end up being victoria’s secret models, there’s Raquel Zimmermann who’s a bona fide at high fashion.

    i truly understand that fashion is all about “the next new thing”, that’s what the industry sells. but it would be nice to have a bit more variety… doesn’t have to be a benetton ad, just a bit here and there.

    p.s.: and yes, freja is gorgeous but looks sickly. i remember seeing her on an editorial about rock stars and i was paralyzed at how pretty and yet so skinny and frail she looked.

  • Anonymous

    Katie you’ve made a great point. I too wear a small bra size and I guess we
    have these models to thank for making that look “acceptable.”

  • Anonymous

    Thankfully more non-white models are on the catwalks, but you are right, the
    darker skinned girls are badly misrepresented. The reason why there is a
    “look” is because designers tend to put similar girls on their catwalks.
    Most designers like to choose a type of girl and cast their whole show based
    on one look. I don’t think this is a question of ethics, it is simply about
    creating a unified catwalk. But I agree it would be nicer to see more shapes
    and colours, not just “token” round, Chinese, or dark skinned girls, which
    seems to be the case right now.

  • Maya Beus

    Well beauty has always been such a relative term, but I think people forget this after reading a few magazines. Huge huge subject, but anywho I like this change.


    + + + + + + + + + +

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  • jessica

    I have to agree, the pics of Freja compared to Lara, well frankly just arent worth comparing! I just dont like the image, where as the other 2 are beautiful!

  • carol

    i understand that they have their ideas and they try to construct those from the moment they sketch to the moment they present – therefore, choosing the models that kind of look alike to represent this “look”. but what seems intriguing to me is that while most designers are trying to expand their brands to new markets – the BRICs are a key target – they still cannot convey their concept to this wider audience.

    i have portuguese heritage and 99% of the time people try to figure out where i come from, Brazil is never their first (or even last) choice. but i can imagine a Brazilian girl who is of mixed race wouldn’t feel as “represented” if she decided to follow fashion by more than just reading the occasional Vogue.

    perhaps our views are a bit different and i’m trying to analise this through a business point of view. i understand that the way a designer conceives his/her ideas shouldn’t be standardized and “businessfied” but how can you appeal to a Chinese (or Brazilian or Indian) market if you don’t choose models who are a bit “closer to reality”?

    on a more personal point of view, i’d like to see a catwalk show that would have models of different ages, heights and skin colours. not just because that brand would surprise me, but also to see how the same idea of clothing would be shown through different types of people. if someone is successful doing this (on having an item of clothing that would suit different skin colours or ages – even shapes, perhaps) i’d most certainly would buy from them. :)

    p.s. sorry for the gigantic comments. i just find this topic really interesting and finally someone is talking about it in a way that’s not the “we should have fat models because most of the population is fat” bullcrap.