Candice Swanepoel, the South African Angel — featured on the left from a runway a while back and on the right (sandwiched between Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio) from a current Victoria’s Secret swimwear launch – caused concern this past week because of her much-thinner physique. Perhaps more importantly for Swanepoel, this dramatic change could result in the loss of her Angel wings. According to a Victoria’s Secret “insider”:
Like all Angels, Swanepoel, 22, is expected to be “healthy and muscular. There is a really clear criteria for both Angels and the catalogue. Their career path is Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue then to Angel, it’s the highest paying contract there is, period. The image is about being voluptuous, it’s not fat, but it’s curvy. But if you start to look skinny and ‘editorial print-like’ like fashion mag models, like undernourished, it gives the image the company does not want. Their shopper is older, their target is the Macy’s shopper. These are …
Weight and clothing size seem to be issues that we cannot get away from, both here on Zelda Lily and in reality. Looking back through recent posts — and reading the intelligent and well thought-out comments provided by you — gives a lot of food for thought, but very few hard and fast conclusions.
The sad truth is that, wherever on the spectrum she falls, almost every woman struggles with her weight. The spectrum extremes are morbidly obese through anorexic; both are medical terms since these two deadly conditions have detrimental effects that should be avoided at all costs.
Thankfully, most women fall elsewhere on the spectrum. It’s a good thing, too, since being too far over on either end of the weight loss spectrum puts you at serious risk for a variety of dangerous medical conditions, and judgement from peers, both of which can result in ill effects for the person in question, like it or not.
Last spring, for example, there was something of a blow-up between Lane Bryant and Victoria’s Secret. Lane Bryant, a plus-size clothing store (although they regularly use models that barely meet the “plus-size” threshold, perpetuating the idealism of the women selling their clothes, albeit on a larger scale), released an ad for a new bra that was refused by several news networks … news networks that were all too happy to air ads from Victoria’s Secret.
Victoria’s Secret models are ridiculously skinny, and the message sent out by the company’s ads, shows, and catalogues is that this is how normal women should strive to look. It’s sickening! And the fact that networks are willing to allow Victoria’s Secret ads on the air but not Lane Bryant’s lingerie offerings is a completely unacceptable double standard.
The reason that this lingerie feud was declared a draw is because normal-sized, healthy women are by and large (haha) ignored. As numerous wise commenters pointed out, you can be a small clothing size but need a bigger bra size that isn’t targeted by Victoria’s Secret. You can be technically plus-sized but don’t look it, so you’re treated rudely by salespeople at both Lane Bryant and Abercrombie and Fitch.
Family-friendly retailer (and creator of a large portion of my wardrobe when I was in high school) The Gap is also playing a dangerous game with the recent ad tagline “Put some pants on, because we can’t all look good in shorts.”
Over the past couple of years, Crystal Renn has revolutionized the world of plus-sized modeling. She is perhaps one of the first big “names” in the plus-sized industry, due to her her appearances in a number of major fashion magazines (Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Elle) and by walking some runways for top designers like Jean-Paul Gaultier and Karl Lagerfeld. Renn also released her first book, Hungry, in which she detailed her struggles as a “straight-sized” model, her battles with anorexia and her decision to venture into the world of “plus sizes,” famously gaining seventy pounds and preaching self-acceptance at any size along the way.
Renn’s message and image seem to have struck a chord in North America, especially when plus-sized women and plus-sized brands are still having a hard time reaching the mainstream.
So when pictures were released this past week from a “Fashion for Passion” campaign of Renn looking decidedly waif-like, even emaciated, many of her fans were worried that the model had returned to the world of straight sizes, and was betraying her declaration that she was happier at her higher weight.