Velvet d’Amour had been cast amidst the debate sparked earlier that year by the eating disorder related death of model Luisel Ramos, and became something of a figure of both adoration and aggression amongst commentators in the industry. Viewed as both a beacon of change and a trouble figure who was too big for the plus size world, her views are honest, stark and always controversial.
The recent Vogue Italia editorial which featured the three plus size models Tara Lynn, Candice Huffine and Robyn Lawley was met with mixed reviews. Although some were quick to say that it was landmark moment to see a size 14 on the front of Vogue, others brushed it off as being a mere token. Others were irked that the women were shot in just their lingerie, arguing that this wasn’t the way forward to empower women, and only reinforced notions of the curvier figure and the porn industry. Velvet d’Amour was of course another to weigh in on the situation.
Giving an interview exclusively to Frockwriter, Velvet d’Amour commented
“…we need fashion to catch up to women of size, in order to make a stunning FASHION orientated editorial. If you were to take the averageVogue Italia editorial, and attempt to dress these same models in the clothes, best of luck to the stylist to find their size. “
The debate continued with the question of exploitation. Were the photos from the story really a liberating explosion of curves, or a seedy nod towards the soft porn industry?
Velvet d’Amour contimued
“As to a sense of exploitation, or ‘soft porn’ feel, my sense is that our minds have been programmed via mainstream fashion to question FLESH. Fleshy, curvy women have been relegated to men’s magazines, whilst edgy editorial fashion in particular, has been inundating us with imagery glorifying adolescence.
…the opening of the Eastern bloc countries (where women are naturally quite delicately slender) caused an influx of lanky lovelies to grace the pages of our magazines and thus it’s really quite normal that the curves here are deemed as more risqué. We have been fed a steady diet of rail thin, white, tall, Youth for the most part. Thus instead of delving further into what Beauty means to us as individuals, the tendency is not to question authority. And VOGUE is certainly the pinnacle of authority when it comes to Fashion.”
“Time and again the issue of health is touted as a pertinent reason for the near total exclusion of fat women in modern media. Yet let’s have a look at who we utterly deify in popular culture, without questioning for a second their physical or mental health. Then ask yourself just how legitimate an argument it is to impose upon plus size models the responsibility of being the poster children for bonne santé, when we have no clue as to any model’s state of health when looking at her dancing through the pages of a magazine. Au contraire, we are well aware that a great number of popular actors, models, dancers, rock groups etc that inundate media have dabbled in drugs, drink,etc. And rather than scoff at them with derision and judgment, we fete them on a daily basis.
Avoiding fat people isn’t about health, it’s about Cool and un-cool.
My take on Cool is Diversity.
I don’t look to fashion magazines for advice on health, I look at them for fashion. We need to start looking beyond the simplistic and dig deeper. If you want to have a health debate, then let’s tackle mental health, which is the stimulus, more often than not, affecting s one’s physical health. If we start to include a major cross-section of our society within the revered pages of fashion magazines, fat women, emaciated women, women of colour, aging women, differently-abled women, small women, you name it – then we can turn the tide against the overwhelming sense so many women suffer from not being able to live up to this exceedingly stringent, highly unattainable beauty ethic we currently subscribe to.”
It is refreshing that a model of Velvet d’Amour’s size has managed to penetrate that fashion barrier, and in my opinion makes several strong points, especially with regards to the issues of mental health. The whole article can be read over at Frockwriter – what were your thoughts on the editorial spread? Did you love it? Hate it? Wish that it had been done differently?
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