“No one wants to see curvy women”

There goes Karl Lagerfeld, running his mouth again.

“No one wants to see curvy women,” Lagerfeld was quoted as saying on the website of news magazine Focus on Sunday.

“You’ve got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly,” he added.

The world of fashion is about “dreams and illusions”…

I get that much of Karl’s anti-fat outlook probably has to do with the fact that Karl used to be a fatty. Not only that, when he was a fatty he had ACTUAL FACIAL EXPRESSIONS.

Proof fat people are jolly.

So maybe he’s not some twatty body fascist. Maybe he’s still navigating the body acceptance journey. Poor little dear. Karl, if you need it, there’s a hug waiting for you in my now ample bosom.

I agree with him on one point. Runway shows are, for the most part, about “dreams and illusions”. Even I, from my casual flirting with fashion (read: I look at pictures of fashion shows every so often when avoiding work), can see that the catwalk relies heavily on the theatrical. But I fail to see how this is exclusively the domain of the skinny model.

Crystal Renn in the finale dress for Jean-Paul Gaultier prêt-à-porter S/S06

Johanna Dray for John Galliano, S/S06

Velvet d’Amour for Jean-Paul Gaultier, S/S07

See? Fierce as shit, hips and all.

While runway shows look amazing, they don’t exactly translate to the street very well. Which is where Brigitte comes in.

[Lagerfeld dismissed] as “absurd” the debate prompted by Brigitte magazine which said it would no longer feature professional models on its pages.

Brigitte, one of Germany’s top women’s magazines, said last week it would only publish photographs of “real women” after readers complained they could not identify with the models depicted.

The magazine’s editor-in-chief Andreas Lebert told The Guardian last week that he was sick of having to retouch photos of underweight models.

“For years we have had to use Photoshop to fatten the girls up,” he said. “Especially their thighs and decolletage. But this is disturbing and perverse, and what has it got to do with our real reader?”

He said he would invite German women to put themselves forward as models for the magazine. According to The Guardian he is likely to extend an invitation to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The magazine will stop using professional models from 2010.

There is a reason why blogs like The Sartorialist and all the fatshion blogs out there are so popular – we want to see how trends translate onto a real body. Professional models take very nice photographs, but someone like me with a body like mine is not exactly inspired to try out, say, the jumpsuit when shown a photo like this:

Carmen Kass in Spanish Vogue, May 2009

But put it on a body like this:

via Fat Girls Like Nice Clothes Too

Or even a body like this:

via Le Blog de Betty

And you’re more likely to get my money.

This is not about banning skinny models from catwalks or only allowing fat(ter) women in magazines. This is about allowing consumers to relate to fashion in a more meaningful way through a wider spectrum of bodies. The validation women will get for their body shapes is just gravy. From a cold, hard, financial standpoint, it makes sense for fashion magazines, advertisers and clothing brands to get on board the Everyday Woman train.

Oh, and Karl?

Article source: Sydney Morning Herald
Picture source: Fat Girls Like Nice Clothes Too!
Picture source: Le Blog de Betty


32 Responses to ““No one wants to see curvy women””

  1. 1 Ms Constantine 13 October, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Great points! It’s totally not just about having bigger woman modelling clothes. It’s about having women that you can relate to. Women that don’t live in the world of fashion. That aren’t professional models.

    Models like Crystal Renn are amazing and I’m so glad they’re around, but they’re still models. And when something looks amazing on her I don’t expect to be able to pull it off myself.

    Also, TRex FTW! And those chips look yum.

  2. 5 Natalie 13 October, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    hahaha best post EVER Frances!

  3. 6 Kath 13 October, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    LOVE IT!!

    Nobody wants to hear that Lagerfeld douchebag crapping on anymore.

  4. 7 Maree 13 October, 2009 at 11:01 pm


    Maybe Karl’s sunnies are distorting his perception!
    thanks for putting this up 🙂

  5. 8 Sun 13 October, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    Somebody needs to force feed Karl until he looks like a fois gras goose.
    The offer’s still on the table, come to Texas, and I will cook you the most fabulous meals to go with your fabulous self!

  6. 11 Patsy Nevins 14 October, 2009 at 12:11 am

    Great post, Frances, & excellent points. I do want to see ‘curvy women’ modeling & I do want to see what clothes might actually look like on me. Even the gorgeous professional plus size models like Crystal Renn, lovely as they are, do not show me how the clothes will look on ME, since I look no more like Crystal than I do like the models in Vogue.

    And very nice Doritos shot…yes indeed, we are sitting here eating bags of chips while we bitch about the scrawny models…because we are bitter & jealous, of course, but too lazy to whip ourselves into the appropriate size & shape. Therefore, we should be consigned to stay alone inside & wrap ourselves in bedsheets until we get our act together & are ready to starve & exercise compulsively (been there, done that a large part of my life) in order to conform.

  7. 12 Miriam Heddy 14 October, 2009 at 1:42 am

    The fantasy is that I could afford a dress that costs several thousand dollars.

    Also, Lagerfield and Louboutin should go find another planet on which to live.

  8. 13 Bianca 14 October, 2009 at 1:51 am

    Yeah, Karl can kiss my fat ass.

  9. 14 Joy 14 October, 2009 at 2:02 am

    I completely agree with everything you’ve written (though I do wish that Brigitte was taking picture from women over a size 12), and it seems clear to me that Lagerfeld has some serious issues with his own body that get projected onto the women he wants showing his clothing.

    • 15 Frances 14 October, 2009 at 9:36 am

      I didn’t know about the size 12 limit for Brigitte – that is interesting (in a disappointing sort of way). Though I have to say I’m not surprised. There are a few Australian magazines that feature everyday women for some of their fashion pages (Shop Til You Drop and Cosmopolitan are the ones that spring to mind) and I’m fairly sure they have a size 14/16 limit.

      At least it’s a foot in the door, even if it is one toe at a time.

  10. 16 Me 14 October, 2009 at 2:39 am

    Doritos and softened cream cheese…


  11. 17 Josee 14 October, 2009 at 3:18 am

    I’m soooo happy that there are blogs like this out here!!! Thank You 🙂

  12. 18 Michelle 14 October, 2009 at 3:48 am

    God yes. Karl Lagerfeld is just a cranky old carb-deprived fart. I haven’t been able to take anything he’s said seriously in ages, talented designer or no. Did you see the interview where, in Coco Chanel’s ‘persona’, he said “I was never ugly enough for feminism”? ugh.

  13. 19 Mulberry 14 October, 2009 at 3:48 am

    “You’ve got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly,” he added.

    And I’m sure you have thin models with their lettuce leaves for dinner saying that fat women are ugly.

    Big deal.

    Can I have some “dreams and illusions” too? I’ll start either the dream that there’s a great selection of clothes and shoes in my size and the illusion that I have the money to pay for it all.

  14. 20 Jennifer 14 October, 2009 at 4:36 am

    Dude, I wish I had time to sit on the couch and eat chips all day. I don’t even have kids. If I am not busy designing, casting models, sourcing overseas, and otherwise running around like a chicken with its head cut off and still make time for the gym, then yeah, maybe I’d have time to be lazy. LOL.

  15. 21 Priscila 14 October, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    I think that was is “beautiful” and what “people wanna see” is very relative.The type of model should match the magazine public.
    For some reason there is a lot of girls here talking about skinny like the evil…
    Crystal Renn is pretty and sexy , but Velvet d’Amou?I can only ask myself : Is this a battle between obesity and anorexia?
    Curvy and obesity are not the same to me, obesity is a serious disease that should not be encourage just like anorexia.
    I, particularly, love skinny models, and don’t think they should be banned from catwalks and magazines, but also, I would not mind to see curvy girls modeling. This whole BMI limit to modeling is just ridiculous, people under “normal” BMI can be health and eat fine.
    Karl goes wrong when thinks that know what everybody wants to see. But he surely knows what his clients want ….
    Ps. Sorry for the eventually misspellings,and the whole bad english 🙂

    • 22 Frances 14 October, 2009 at 12:39 pm

      A few points:

      Velvet d’Amour is also pretty and sexy, actually. As you said, beauty is relative.

      I actually don’t have many commenters talking about skinny being “evil”, because I think that outlook is bullshit. Our bodies are what they are, and no one should dictate what a woman should look like.

      People over the ‘normal’ BMI can be equally healthy – if you’re willing to accept that ‘underweight’ people can be healthy, why not ‘overweight’? Both fail the energy in/energy out idea to weight.

      Obesity is not a disease, it is a BMI category (I encourage you to read about Health at Every Size). Merely allowing people who fit into the ‘obese’ category will not encourage people to get fat. If that were true, there would be no fat people in the world – lord knows we’ve been excluded from catwalks, runways and fashion spreads for decades.

  16. 23 Deena 16 October, 2009 at 12:52 am

    Oh how I love you Frances!
    A dead ringer for Karl Lagerfeld walked into the office earlier today. It took all my willpower to not run up to him with my camera and squeal “OMG you look just like Karl Lagerfeld!” Thankfully he didn’t balk at my morbid obesity and there was no fan.

  17. 24 Wren 17 October, 2009 at 5:31 am

    Your posts make me happy! Finding a new favorite fatshion blog makes me happy! Seeing Karl get the finger….well, that’s just priceless.

  18. 25 Lois 24 October, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    I’ve always been a fan of plus-size models! There’s a great site with many images of Crystal and other plus-size models here:


    They’re all gorgeous.

    The site’s forum also has thought-provoking discussions about body image and the media.

  19. 26 KateF 27 October, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    Frances, I friggin’ love you more and more everyday! You are tops mate (best bogun impersonation there)

    I’m torn up about the Karl comments, not because I agree with him for a moment, I think he’s a fucking man-o-rexic tosspot, but I’m very glad he said what he said.


    Because at least he’s fucking finally admitted what most of those misogynistic designers don’t have the the guts to own up to, that they hate women.

    I love designers who crap on about being all about about “feminine designs” and then designing clothes for a B-cup body and stopping at a small size 12.

    I love fuckwits like Wayne Perry who says that he loves women and then he designs trash for skinny size 12s and then, to top it off bashes and stalks his wife.

    And let’s not even start with Calvin Klein !

    Karl’s finally admitted that he hates women, fullstop. Otherwise he wouldn’t be bullying them into torturing themselves with starvation and exercise to maintain impossibly slim figures.

    He’s wrong wrong wrong to such a degree that I want to slap him back to the 19th century, but at least we finally truly know where he stands.

    He’s not designing for me or for anyone I know, and least we can stop dreaming that he ever was.

  20. 27 La BellaDonna 5 November, 2009 at 9:55 am

    That’s PART of the truth from dear Karl. The REAL truth is that KARL doesn’t like to see WOMEN.

    Period. End of statement.

    He’d really be happiest doing what some other designers HAVE done in the past: draped their women’s clothes on MALE bodies. Yes, the reason why some of those clothes fit so badly, even on some of our thinner sisters, is because THEY WERE FITTED ON MEN’S BODIES.

    An inability to design clothes for women’s curves of ANY size, large, small, or in-between doesn’t make them “high fashion” designs or their designers, high fashion designers. It means their designers are INEPT and INCOMPETENT designers. The father of haute couture, Charles Worth, was designing fabulous clothes for the exaggerated curves of the 19th century. Why was it possible to construct fabulous clothes THEN, but not now? All the advances in modern technology seem to have produced designers who are LESS able.

    Learn your JOBS, folks. I can design for those curved bodies, why can’t YOU?

  21. 28 Librarian 6 November, 2009 at 10:59 am

    Brigitte: The editor said categorically that he wasn’t going to use larger models, so boo to him. I think his approach is flawed, but let’s let his declining subscription rate show him the error of his ways!

    Karl the Klown: There’s a hot mag cover on my blog featuring a size 12 model wearing Chanel so that’s my personal bird-flip to the Kaiser.

    Avantgarde cover

    I remember he said he decided to lose weight so he could wear Hedi Slimane’s suits for Dior Homme…that were cut so small and skinny that already-tiny celeb WOMEN (Nic Kidman, et al) were having to starve to fit into. Cuckoo, thy name is Karl. You want a body the same size as a woman??

    I once found a copy of his diet book out on the street in Brooklyn and I took it for a laugh because I knew how f*cked up it would be. I was right. Dude is SCARY!

  22. 29 highstreetgirl 7 January, 2010 at 6:49 am

    wait im confused, are you calling betty from ‘le blog de betty’ fat? that girl has an amazing lean and athletic body, she would pull off that jumpsuit brilliantly

    • 30 Frances 7 January, 2010 at 12:00 pm

      No no no – that’s why I said “or even a body like this”. Betty is nowhere near fat. I used her as an example of an everyday person that I take fashion inspiration from. I like fashion editorials, but I don’t relate to them as much as I relate to ‘ordinary’ people interpreting trends in their own way – even if they look nothing like me.

  23. 31 Erin 23 December, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Fashion models weren’t so bad before Twiggy came along. If you watch the old movies from the 40’s and 50’s, curves were what was sexy. Look at Marilyn Monroe! Definily NOT a stick figure.

  1. 1 Body image, mothers, classism, fashion, Karl Lagerfield, and social inclusion « Sustainable Cities and Transport Trackback on 3 November, 2009 at 2:37 am
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