Vogue Italia Curves Ahead?

Images Courtesy of Vogue Italia

This article first appeared in Schema Magazine on June 22, 2011.

Next month’s issue of Vogue Italia features three curvaceous models on the cover instead of the standard size zero fashion model usually found on fashion magazine covers. Vogue Italia‘s editor-in-chief, Franca Sozzani, said that the message behind this issue is that curvy is sexy. While the images featured in this issue are refreshing, is this a true fashion revolution or a token gesture by an industry that equates beauty with thinness?

The fashion industry has come under intense scrutiny in the last few years following the deaths of three South American models in 2006/2007 from heart failure due to anorexia nervosa. Two of these models, Luisel and Eliana Ramos, were sisters. After their deaths, countries such as Spain and Italy, placed weight and age restrictions for models used in fashion shows. However, the weight restrictions introduced were still far below a healthy body weight and designers continue to use underweight models in their fashion advertisements.

Is Vogue Italia really trying to change the standard of beauty in the fashion world? It’s not enough to simply have one issue featuring voluptuous models and to declare that ‘curvy is sexy’. Certainly, the advertisements in the issue still feature thin models in fashion ads and spreads. This Vogue Italia seems to be out of place — in almost all the shots, at least one of the models is partially nude. This could indicate that Vogue Italia is happy to feature pictures of nude voluptuous models but they don’t look as good in clothes as the standard size zero fashion model.

It’s also unfortunate that it seems that a body type can be ‘in’ and ‘out’ of style. There have always been women with curves who are sexy and fashionable, who certainly don’t need Vogue Italia to give them permission to feel that way. If Vogue Italia is serious about starting a true fashion revolution, they need to incorporate different size models into all of their issues. Otherwise, this cover is nothing more than a token gesture to curvy women.

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