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Americans Prefer Curvier Models

PTI 08 Jan 2010, 13:11:44 IST

America's  high-fashion V magazine has devoted its latest issue to plus-size curvier women signaling a new trend in fashion, that of curvier models, phasing out the skinnier ones, reports The Telegraph.
Not since Sophie Dahl had her moment advertising Opium perfume in 2000 has the fuller figure been so admired by the fashion world, says the report.

As  Europeans try to shed their average five pounds weight gained during Christmas, the American high-fashion  V magazine has devoted its latest issue to curvier women. The images, shown here, appear in the February issue of the high-concept glossy which last year featured pop sensation Lady Gaga topless.

The women in the latest shoot were captured by Norwegian photographer Sølve Sundsbø who regularly shoots advertising campaigns for Givenchy, Gucci and Hermes.

After the size-zero debate dominated the fashion industry for years, could curvy be the shape of things to come?

The plus-size model of the moment is, arguably, Crystal Renn.

Last year, she wrote a memoir Hungry: A Young Model's Story of Appetite, Ambition and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves which detailed her battle with an eating disorder as a skinny model. Since she gave up forcing her body conform to an unnaturally tiny size, her career has bloomed. The pinnacle was being photographed by model-maker Steven Meisel and appearing in a Dolce and Gabbana ad campaign.

Her agent, Gary Dakin, heads up Ford +, the plus-size division of New York agency Ford Models, Dakin championed Renn's plus-size career from the start and now guides many other successful plus-size models who are increasingly finding their body-shape in demand.

“I am thrilled when I see these pictures,” says Dakin. “Firstly, it shows that these girls can work with great photographers and amazing magazines like V and be taken more seriously for the work they do. For my girls, it means that the word ‘plus' can – hopefully – go away soon since they are now working in every major magazine in the world.

“It reinforces my belief that beauty comes in an assortment of sizes, shapes and colours.”

Could this be just a one-off publicity stunt – such as when the newly-launched British fashion magazine Love put a naked Beth Ditto on its first cover? “There is no way this is a brief dalliance,” says Dakin. “Glamour, French Vogue and a host of other publications have ensured that this segment of the industry is here to stay and a force to be reckoned with.”

Not all fashion insiders are as positive, however. One London-based fashion stylist, who asked not to be named, said: “It's such an extreme response to the size-zero hoopla.

“I think all women want to see images of healthy girls, not women who are emaciated. But, realistically I don't think many women aspire to be a size 18, either. I don't think using outsize models is really the way to change perceptions - it's just an extreme volt-face.

“I am sure (British knitwear designer) Mark Fast only had good intentions when he put larger girls in his skimpy, spidery knits (last year). But, really, all I thought when I saw the girls in the clothes is that it looked ridiculous.”