daphnep: (big butt)
( Sep. 14th, 2011 11:10 pm)
Because the internet is my friend this evening, I present to you the earliest "Plus Sized" advertising in women's fashion, courtesy of Lane Bryant, the company that first brought us clothing to fit in larger sizes.

If you are not slender...

not slender

...or if you're downright stout...

stout


Read more )
Every couple of years I read a story in a magazine or on a fashion website. The story goes like this:

So-and-so was a fashion model, and her career was going great, and then she started to put on weight, and her agency said "Oh, NO, So-and-so! You have to lose weight, or we can't send you on shoots anymore!" And So-and-so either a) tries to lose the weight and cannot, or b) is possessed of a rebellious streak and decides she doesn't want to lose the weight, and so she finds another Kinder, Gentler Modeling Agency where they are happy with her body just the way it is, and they name her a "Plus Sized Model" and send her on shoots for clothing for Big, Beautiful Women, and then she lives happily ever after, the end.

The only problem is that I swear I have read that same story about every two years all of my adult life, and every single time So-and-so is given a new name, and every single time, the author of the article writes it as if this is radical, new turf that has never been traveled before.

Last winter I read the book Hungry, the memoir of Crystal Renn, the latest So-and-so, and the whole time I was reading it, I was wracking my brain going "Where was the first time I read this? Who was the model the first time around?"

The first time, you see, is the one that makes the impression. The first time, I was younger, and I went "Oh, Plus Sized Models, you say?" and paid attention. And now, ever after, I read it and go "yeah, right: radical as ever, every single time it happens, over and over again." It happened most often during the Mode Magazine years, with Emme/Kate Dillon and all those other model defectors.

It bothered me that I couldn't find the original version, although I know she, too, surely isn't the "original", she was just her year's So-and-so, and the story's been retold ever since "Plus Sized" modeling began.

But at last, I have found my original:

http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20112608,00.html


From People Magazine archives, 1992.



Her name is Laina Pecora. Google shows me only modeling comp cards from 1982 and 1983. After that, she drifted back into obscurity--I can't even find a photo shoot of her, modeling fashion. Just this--this one article, filed in the endless databank of my brain, the one that set the standard for the plus-sized princess story.

Now, I want two more things: 1) pictures of Laina Pecora actually being a plus-sized model, and 2) So-and-so plus-sized hero stories from before Laina Pecora, going all the way back, to when it was called the "Chubby" division, etc.
daphnep: (big butt)
( Dec. 7th, 2009 08:41 pm)
[livejournal.com profile] lxbean made a point in my last "Visual Literacy" post, in a comment she said "maybe we're getting to a point where we can be liberated from the tyranny of these photos as ideal. ...Maybe if we got there, we could just say "ooh, pretty [if unrealistic] picture!" Kind of like we might say about a picture of a unicorn: pretty -- not real, but pretty."

She was referencing another blog entry (over here: http://twobodysolution.wordpress.com/2009/10/18/the-emaciation-proclamation/#more-370)...and I think she and Professor Bean are both right. In fact, it's exactly how I read fashion magazines: as cool illustrations, having little to do with my life or the reality I live in. It's also why I advocate blogs like "Photoshop Disasters" and why I think everyone should know the boundaries of what photo editing software can do--so that everybody can appreciate the pretty unicorns, and stop looking around for horned ponies, or even wasting their time saving up hard-earned money for one of their own.

To me, most photos I see in fashion mags look rather like the old Steve Madden ads:

Maddens chickie

Remember those? They're creepy, because you know they're stretched and distorted but they're still humanoid, and even cute. But you'd never, ever say "Oh, I think I'll diet until my legs look like that!" Would you? It'd be preposterous.

But these ads are different from others only because Madden's ad company was cheeky in the extreme. They didn't use any special tools or techniques, just the same ones we've been looking at for decades, now. But they stretched it far enough that we didn't have to be visually savvy to see through it.

More distorted pictures here, cut for size and quantity. )
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