Fashion silhouettes and the models used in most spreads in all of the major Fashion Magazines are generally quite sleek. Woman who read these magazines aspire to the precedents set by these Trend Makers. It is more often than not very frustrating for the readership to have to live up to the standards being set by those influential glossies.
Pharmaceutical and cosmetics companies make a fortune on their magic formula’s, which they regularly advertise in the Beauty or Fitness sections of ELLE, VOGUE, Harper’s BAZAAR, Marie Claire, etc… The income generated by catering to lose weight and the associated regimes to do so are astronomical. Considering that purchasing one advertising page in one of the above giants cost between $25-35k, you can now begin to calculate the importance of this sector. The Dove campaign is a case in point. But, the problem up to now has been, although weight lose regimes are advertised, the magazines do not really cater to the present physical state of a large sector of the potential readership population. In fact, they more often than not alienate those potential adopters of the Mega-Magazines, by not directly communicating with them. They treat Plus Sized woman as a malady and not a normal fact of life, thus alienating them even more so.
However, there has been some stirring amongst the general female populace and some magazines are starting to react. Most recently with French Marie Claire’s’ Special Un-retouched April 2010 Issue and in the March 26th, 2010 French ELLE (a weekly), they grace the cover with XXL Model Tara Lynn at FORD Agency. To say it was a cultural shock, would be an understatement. We have become so accustomed to size “0” models featured on most covers that the shock and awe stopping power of this one became a huge seller, outselling their average weekly sales by a Large Margin… No Pun Intended.
Why did the ELLE cover create such a stir? Well first off, being that the model was not a recognizable celebrity, people had to look more closely at what many would ask, “who is this larger than what I have been accustomed to classic model they generally show, doing on this cover?” Secondly, breaking with convention is a sure way of getting people to stand up and take notice. Thirdly, it is a paradigm shifting and powerful statement being made by one of the Big 4 most influential magazine conglomerates in the world.
Historically, there have been several magazines and web-zines dedicated to large sized women wear such as, Plus Model Magazine, Daily Venus Deva, Plus Size Clothing Magazine, Lou Lou and several others, but it is quite rare when a mainstream major fashion or trendy press magazine, features full figured women. Perhaps this is indicative of a new trend, which will allow the majors to increase their readership. It wouldn’t surprise me if ELLE were to do a special supplement for Plus Size Fashion.
Recently Chanels’ Karl Lagerfeld shot international burlesque star Miss Dirty Martini for “V” Magazine at the Chanel Fashion House in Paris. The LOVE magazine gave gloriously and voluptuously round Beth Ditto a cover as well.
Ford Model’s Crystal Renn’s book Hungry addresses these issues head on. Are we seeing a trend here? Or are we just witnessing a blip on the screen. Time will tell. But in the mean time, don’t throw out those XXL tee shirts you have hiding in the bottom drawer…