Editorial: Crystal Renn in Harper’s Bazaar Australia, May 2009


Crystal Renn by Luis Sanchis

I know, I know; this is two months late. And I know these pictures are already all over the Interwebs. But I only set this blog up a couple of weeks ago and I am utterly in love with this set, so y’all will just have to deal with it.


Crystal Renn by Luis Sanchis

Crystal Renn is an extremely successful plus size model who has been featured in a pile of high fashion editorials: Vogue US, Italy, Germany and Paris; Elle Canada and Italy; Vanity Fair Italy and so on and so forth.


Crystal Renn by Luis Sanchis

The May 2009 of Harper’s Bazaar marked her first editorial in an Australian high fashion magazine.

What is truly spectacular about this editorial is that they have highlighted Crystal Renn’s curves. Not skimmed, not flattered, but HIGHLIGHTED. It’s freakin’ amazing.


Crystal Renn by Luis Sanchis

She has been dressed in the shortest, tightest couture; couture that at times is even (quelle horreur!) TOO SMALL FOR HER.


Crystal Renn by Luis Sanchis

Seriously. Look at that skirt. Her legs are being contorted by how tight that skirt is. But wait…


Crystal Renn by Louis Sanchis

What’s that on her left hip… Why, I do believe that’s a chub bulge!
I was so floored when I first saw this set. I could not believe that stylists and photographers and the Powers That Be at a fancy magazine have taken a plus size model, emphasised her fat and labelled it High Fashion.
This disputes all arguments from designers that refuse to do plus size lines and debunks all the fashion rules for fatties. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read that clothing “just looks better” when it hangs from a straight size model, or that fat girls should only wear clothing that draws attention away from their fat parts. This set shows that fabric clinging to an ample behind and chubby thighs looks stunning. CELEBRATION!

PS. This is for my own (and hopefully your) happiness. Here is an outtake from the Harper’s Bazaar shoot with absolutely no retouching. Hi, cellulite! This just makes me love Crystal Renn even more. Swoon.


Crystal Renn by Luis Sanchis


40 Responses to “Editorial: Crystal Renn in Harper’s Bazaar Australia, May 2009”

  1. 1 Weesha 1 July, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    I doubt anyone would mind reposted pics of Crystal Renn, can’t get enough of her!

    • 2 Frances 1 July, 2009 at 2:20 pm

      Then you’ve come to the right place! I am obsessed with her. It borders on unhealthy.

      I’m planning on doing a Crystal Renn picture post later this week (the first of many).

  2. 3 Bookwyrm 1 July, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    Wow . . . if THAT is plus-sized, no wonder I can’t find anything to wear. 😦

    • 4 Mara 18 October, 2009 at 4:31 pm

      I wondered the same thing.

      Also, if you love Crystal, I’m overly obsessed with Lizzi Miller ,she makes me love my pudge.Google her, I think she is beautiful.

      • 5 Frances 18 October, 2009 at 6:12 pm

        After her feature in Glamour magazine, I think everyone knows about Lizzi Miller! She is gorgeous and her little tummy pudge is super duper cute.

  3. 6 randomquorum 1 July, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    The cellulite one bugs me a bit – not because of the cellulite, but because it shows just how much the other images have been retouched, once again making the magazine-photo-body (albeit plus-sized) unattainable. Does that make sense?

    Anyway, this is the first time I’ve seen Crystal Renn, and I think she is a million kinds of awesome! Thanks for posting these…

  4. 7 J 1 July, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    she’s obviously gorgeous and a step in the right direction, but I still can’t really stand that she’s considered “plus-size.” Wikipedia says she’s a size 12 for goodness’ sake. In any world besides high-fashion, 12 IS straight sized.

  5. 9 Frances 1 July, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    Bookwyrm and J: She’s a US size 12, which I think equates to a UK and Australian size 16 = plus sized territory. I know what you mean, though – she is still rather small and around the size of the ‘average’ woman.

    In the near future I will be putting up pictures of other plus size models that are bigger than her, including Ashley Graham and Charlotte Coyle.

    randomquorum: Yes, that does make sense. The Australian Government is currently looking into what they can do to tackle negative body image, particularly in young people (for more info, see http://www.youth.gov.au/bodyimage.html). One of their ideas is for magazines and advertisements to clearly state whenever an image has been retouched. It’ll be interesting to see how it turns out.

    Another point on retouching – I’ve seen so many Crystal Renn photos and I honestly could not tell you what size she is. She looks bigger in some, smaller in others and I don’t know how much is due to her changing body weight and how much is due to retouching.

  6. 10 Bookwyrm 2 July, 2009 at 1:49 am

    Actually, at a US size 12, she is SMALLER than an average woman in her country.

    The New York Times reports, “The survey — called SizeUSA and sponsored by clothing and textile companies, the Army, Navy and several universities — measured more than 10,000 people in 13 cities nationwide using a light-pulsing 3-D scanner.
    . . .
    Over all, the new measurements shake up what have long been considered the average outlines of the American body. For years, an average woman was thought to be a size 8, although some circles had bumped that up to size 12 in recent years. But even the women who came in on the small side in the SizeUSA survey look more like what the longtime clothing industry standards would consider a size 14 — the size at which ‘plus size’ clothing begins.”

    (Ref: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/01/national/01SIZE.html )


  7. 11 CL 2 July, 2009 at 2:20 am

    Wow she is gorgeous. Her body looks like mine, including the proportions — her thighs look like mine. It’s really cool to see that celebrated after I have spent so many years trying to hide my thighs.

  8. 12 Julie 5 September, 2009 at 9:16 am

    An amazingly beautiful shoot. More please!

  9. 13 seriously? 16 September, 2009 at 6:13 am

    most of them look ok but the cellulite one,what the hell is positive about that? you can love yourself without disgusting the world.i have cellulite too but that’s why you’ll never catch me in a pic like that.it’s completely unflattering.she’s beautiful but why are people acting like a model should have unattractive flaws? i understand in contrast to what we’re used to it’s a sigh of relief for women who are perfect but if this becomes the standard what will models be paid for?part of the job is taking care of your body and preparing to be photographed throughout your career.this is also the reason why women shouldn’t allow magazines to force them to eating disorders,why should an average person look like a model?models are paid to look good,it’s their job!duh!

    • 14 Frances 16 September, 2009 at 10:03 am

      “you can love yourself without disgusting the world.”
      If you think part of you will “disgust the world”, that doesn’t sound much like love. Tolerance, perhaps.

      I don’t know if it’s so much that all models should display their ‘flaws’ so much as anyone. Anyone we see publicly ever.

      Cellulite (and stretch marks and scars and spots…) are treated like… well, they’re treated like they could “disgust the world”. So we never see them. Consciously we know that other people have these flaws too, but since they’re always hidden away we think that ours must be somehow worse. Women think their cellulite makes them look like a freak. Seeing a picture like this validates our own bodies.

      But I suppose a reply like this will be like bashing my head against a wall, since you’ve already written off cellulite as “disgusting”, “completely unflattering”, and “unattractive”.

      For the record? I think the cellulite on Crystal Renn’s legs is gorgeous.

  10. 15 Desperate Housespinster 4 October, 2009 at 8:59 am

    We’re conditioned to think cellulite is disgusting and unattractive, just as we’ve been conditioned to, say, find white teeth more beautiful than yellow or gray-tinted teeth. This doesn’t make it a fact – it’s merely a construct. At one point, blackened teeth were fashionable in parts of the world.

    These things all come and go and change and, albeit somewhat sadly, it often takes photoshoots in magazines that highlight what we’ve been conditioned to perceive as flaws to make society reevaluate ideas on what is beautiful or attractive or alluring or sexy. This is especially saddening given cellulite is the norm in many women, not the exception. Thin, fat, curvy, slim, muscular – cellulite is simply a way that fat forms under the skin. It’s neutral, and society teaches us how to label it.

    I think it would be exceptionally avant-garde and fashion-forward (and – gasp!- maybe even beautiful) for a mainstream fashion magazine to highlight cellulite on their models, not mask it.

  11. 16 karen 22 October, 2009 at 4:17 am

    What if we just stopped looking to THE FASHION INDUSTRY WHICH IS A CONGLOMERATE OF CORPORATIONS for the defininition of our best self and start working on major issues…like, say, how do we feed those of our sisters and brothers around the world that are starving to death while we worry about bumps on our thighs?????? Or, how do we stop the govt and it’s corporate sponsers from murdering innocent civilians in TWO hideously fiendish wars? OUR VANITY IS KILLING US ALL…WAKE UP!! A woman’s beauty always has and always will come from the inside…it’s that light in her eyes, the spring in her step, her easy way of talking and interacting….CONFIDENCE is beautiful. con=with and fi=faith, so confidence means HAVE FAITH IN YOUrself…and get away from the mirror and help someone less fortunate than yourself. Keep doing this repeatedly and you will be amazed at how beautiful you feel, regardless of the number on your shirt tag.

  12. 17 Georgette 29 December, 2009 at 4:55 am

    Here’s my $.02 for what it’s worth…

    Women larger than a fashion model’s size two can still be exquisitely beautiful… even women we have chosen to define as “normal” sized (like Crystal above) and even women larger than her. (Though goodness, I think it’s a shame that this is what we call normal. I don’t think it’s as attractive as a more slender size 6. Go ahead and flame me for buying into the beauty myth if you like.)


    They are MORE beautiful and MORE appealing when they’re not posed in ways that emphasize their fat! I have cellulite (don’t we all) and I have fat thighs and a fat bum… but you don’t see me wearing clothing that is too small and too revealing. I rock my curves and loved Crystal rocking hers in #1 and #2 above… but #s 3-6 are just in poor taste.


    • 18 Frances 29 December, 2009 at 2:53 pm

      Well, we’re all entitled to our opinions. Even if I thoroughly disagree with yours.

      I hate the term ‘normal’. I also hate that Crystal Renn’s body is defined as ‘normal’, because that implies that anything smaller or larger than Crystal Renn is ‘abnormal’. Which is crap. I don’t think that any size is more attractive than any other because it all depends on the person. If I was a US size 6, I would look completely unhealthy (which I know from experience).

      I think it’s disappointing that you view any visible fat as ‘poor taste’. I’m aligned to the Beth Ditto school of fashion: “This is the number one thing: just because something makes you look thinner, that doesn’t mean it’s a good outfit.”

  13. 19 YDM 30 December, 2009 at 2:35 am

    I understand the point they’re making, and in my very picky opinion Renn is gorgeous by any standards, but if anyone posted pics of me as downright unflattering and cruelly lit as the last one, I would truly freak out.

    • 20 Frances 30 December, 2009 at 3:57 pm

      That last photo wasn’t printed in the magazine – I found it on Runway Revolution. I posted it because I think her body – her true body, untouched by photoshop – is beautiful. Not because I’m trying to make a point, but because I think the picture in and of itself is stunningly beautiful.

      There are pictures of me on the internet with visible cellulite. Hell, there’s a picture of me on this blog highlighting my very thick stretchmarks. These parts are not unflattering, they’re just parts.

  14. 21 runnergrl 2 January, 2010 at 1:42 am

    Call me strange–I know some may flame me, but I don’t find pudge to be healthy looking. Crystal is a beautiful woman….I’m not denying that. And everyone probably has some cellulite, even thin girls (I’m an endurance athlete and have a tad!) but that body style ‘just don’t look right’ to me.

    I know y’all are going to disagree, but I’d rather see a more fit body style than a larger one. It seems celebrating bigger bodies perhaps makes it easier to remain unfit. Just my thoughts, not trying to be mean.

    • 22 Frances 2 January, 2010 at 2:07 am

      I’ve no interest in flaming anyone so long as they’re being polite.

      The idea that celebrating bigger bodies normalises fatness is not a new idea. I see it mentioned every time a plus size model (or indeed, anyone large and in the public eye) is featured. But this makes absolutely no sense.

      If bigger bodies are being celebrated, this is certainly news to us. Now is the first time plus size models have ever been featured to such an extent. They are still not included regularly in fashion magazines; rather, the use of plus size models is a feature to be publicised (almost like an oddity). Fat people are still encouraged, if not patronised and insulted, to lose weight at almost every turn – by our family, our friends, our partners, complete strangers and the media. We have been ignored by designers and clothing stores for god knows how long and we have been treated as invisible by television shows and movies. And yet in spite of all this, we still exist. We are still fat.

      The exclusion of fat people from the public sphere has done nothing to reduce the number of fat people. So how will our inclusion in the public sphere make any difference? The only impact it will have is that more people may feel good about themselves. Positive body image is vital to good health, too.

      On that note, I’m not going to go into the fat and health thing in any detail. Fat does not automatically equate to unhealthiness. Fat people can be healthy, skinny people can be unhealthy. Junkfood Science, the Fat Nutritionist and Professor Linda Bacon – leading academic in the Health at Every Size movement – have written about this extensively.

  15. 23 runnergrl 2 January, 2010 at 9:35 am

    I know skinny people can be unhealthy, and some pudge does not automatically equate unhealthiness. A person’s weight is their choice and their business, but we have become a fatter nation in recent years. If people are happy like that, okay. But many are not. And it is a result of convenience foods, sedentary jobs, etc.

    I’m all about good body image–provided it is not at the expense of making people feel so good they do not wish to help themselves be fit. Does that make sense? Sometimes things don’t come out right in text ya know?

    I suspect my tastes are a result of my peers….I am an athlete, was a model (nothing big, just enough to get used to that ‘small’ body type) and train for marathons. I’m a size 2/4 at 5’8″. To me, that is normal. And I don’t look unhealthy, just lean. Or perhaps that’s my perception–maybe some folk think I look terrible! Anyway, didn’t try to disrespect– guess I’m just not used to seeing larger models.

    • 24 Linda 3 January, 2010 at 12:35 am

      I just have to say that I am 5 ft 8 inches tall and at one time weighed a mere 105 lbs. Almost everyone (except for a few men who had a thing for emaciated women) told me I was too thin! I gained some weight (ended up at 140); went from a size 4 to a size 8-10 and I felt better than I had in years. Now the problem is that I’ve gained even more. That comes with the sedentary job someone posted before. It really doesn’t matter your weight-it’s how healthy you feel when you “wear” the weight. I am working on getting “healthier”, toning up and not worrying about actual weight. No matter your weight, again it’s “inside” and how you feel. Larger CAN be beautiful-and tiny, especially considering your total proportions, can just look plain sick.

  16. 25 Hokmen Nitkein Chainik 4 January, 2010 at 8:30 am

    To me, what is most beautiful, whether in man or woman, is that which looks most alive. A body that reflects love and enjoyment of itself–of movement, of food, of hard work, of the pleasure of being alive–is the one that is most attractive. A face that shows intelligence, humor, interest, depth, delight; a body that looks like someone who 1) moves and uses it, and 2) EATS…that’s the best.

  17. 27 Hokmen Nitkein Chainik 4 January, 2010 at 8:35 am

    One more note: between Crystal and the skinny gal – -Crystal is far sexier. Her ampleness is an absolute turn-on.

  18. 28 Ellie 5 January, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    I disagree with your statement that it “refutes all arguments” that clothes look better on skinnier models. It is true that these clothes look amazing on Crystal Renn. Many styles of clothing look great on curvy women. However, many clothes do not, especially the bizarre architectural pieces many designers love to show. To those who disagree – who among you hasn’t looked in the mirror and said “this clothing isn’t right for me, it isn’t very flattering” while it looked great on a skinny girl in the dressing room over? In my experience, that happens more often than the other way around.

    This shoot proves that designers can’t argue that all their clothing requires skinny models. However, it does not prove that all clothing looks as good on curvy models.

  19. 29 Sary 2 March, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Amazing how a plus size can look so natural, you mean to say curves,a chub bulge! goodness me what next, good to see.

  20. 30 Shiz 9 February, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    Why don’t we extend the debate and question why fashion photographers don’t often choose to work with seemingly unattractive faces? Would we be having the same argument if crystal renn wasn’t so pretty? Being in the photography industry myself, this is one of the many questions that challenge and baffle me every day.

    • 31 Frances 10 February, 2011 at 9:46 pm

      Absolutely! I wrote this post at the beginning of my blog, and I don’t post about plus size models now for a reason. They still fit a very specific ideal. I want to see total diversity – diverse bodies, genders, races, ages…

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