Weighty Decisions in Fashion Design

by Kristin Marino
Fashion School Review Columnist

October 18, 2006

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The recent ban of ultra-thin models on the runways of Madrid ruffled a lot of couture feathers. The reason for the ban was in part to discourage models from becoming dangerously and life-threateningly thin. Some fashion design critics say the ban was meant to drum up publicity for Madrid Fashion Week, which doesn't enjoy the same prestige as New York or Paris Fashion Week.

Fat Chance
Sorry to steal your thunder, Madrid. As usual, Paris takes the clothing design cake for outrageous catwalk antics. The star of fall 2006 Paris Fashion Week was Velvet D'Amour, the 290 pound model who strutted the catwalk at John Paul Gaultier. She's also modeled for fashion designer John Galliano and she was in the February 2006 issue of clothing design bible French Vogue. But what was John Paul Gaultier trying to prove by featuring an obese model on his fashion runway?

Does Size Matter?
Maybe Gaultier was taking the bold stand, at least in the clothing design world, that size doesn't matter. He may have even been going a bit further and wanted to make the point that big is just as beautiful as small. Due to the fact that the other clothing models in the show were waifish, it's doubtful that this was his design message. It's also doubtful that Gaultier cares much about how overweight people are perceived.

Try This On for Size
It's more likely that Gaultier was killing two birds with one stone. He might have been saying (in a French accent), "Oh, so you don't like skinny girls on the catwalk? Well, try this on for size. You ban skinny girls, this is what you get." And more importantly for Gaultier, he was guaranteed plenty of free publicity as he celebrates 30 years in fashion design.


About the Author
Kristin Marino is obsessed with haute couture, even though she lives in Reno, Nevada, where you can't even get Gucci or Louis Vuitton, let alone Jimmy Choo. She has a Bachelor of Art in English Composition from the University of Nevada.

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