The Great Debate: Karl Lagerfeld and V Magazine’s Size Issue

I am anxiously awaiting the day when plus size models appear in magazine editorials without looking like clowns.

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I would love to see more editorials featuring plus size women that aren’t nude, or are in “everyday” wear that isn’t so costumey. (Crystal Renn seems to be the one exception to this rule, but there are other amazing plus size models out there too.)

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NY Mag seems to have a similar opinion.

To be fair, this model is a woman who is also a burlesque dancer. So she wears stuff like this full time. I still have mixed feelings about her dressed in that particular outfit, being used as a representation of a plus size fashion model in an issue entirely devoted to “size”. Especially when the editorial she stars in was shot by “fatty hater” Karl Lagerfeld. There is no denying Karl is a fashion genius, but this photo shoot just screams publicity stunt.

I actually posted some photos from this shoot in online fashion community I’m a part of, and a lot of the women (and a few men!) had similar thoughts. These are some of their un-edited reactions:

“I feel like a lot of people in the fashion industry see models as a standard of beauty and perfection that can’t be reached by the general population, and by using plus size models in their editorials, photo shoots, etc they are opening up opportunities for people of a more realistic body shape and size to be glamorized and made up to be objects of desire, beauty, and wealth. however, with styling like the shoot above, it is sort of a mockery of these models, making them up to be an over the top type of persona rather than their size 0 counterparts. idk if i am articulating this all correctly, but i wrote a few articles on the issue of size and the fashion industry and overall it just makes me really offended. fashion tries to create this world of perfection and fantasy, and i feel that by using women who have very unattainable bodies they are keeping with the whole image. “plus size” or more so average women are seen as being everyday and not aiding in the surrealist world that fashion tries to create and that’s partially why i feel like they are shunned. IDK MAN i love fashion but i’ve lost so much interest over the past few years because of how much more i’ve been learning about these types of things”

“wtf is she wearing??? shit’s ugly.
size wank is so annoying, i don’t know why magazines can’t just use regular looking people and mix them together… like real life. i guess its different when its fashion because even if a model is plus-size she is proportionate and rarely over a size 12 BUT I DON’T KNOW WHY IT HAS TO BE DIFFERENT. women of every size can like and appreciate fashion and designers are stupid if they aren’t tapping into that market. sorry that i’m fat but that doesn’t mean i want to wear everything from talbots.”

“I’m a stylist’s assistant and basically the problem is this:
shoots for magazines are done 3-4 months in advance so we have to use samples from runway not clothes from stores, as we’re shooting a season ahead. Runway samples are obvs sample sized, because they’re made several months prior to the show so have to be all one size. This size is usually very small because the models that are walking shows at the moment are tiny. So the girls that we cast for the shoots also have to be tiny.
If you shoot a plus sized girl, you have to:
a) find clothes that are meant to be ~oversized~
b) make it work with something that is too small but is stretchy or adjustable
c) get something made (which isn’t usually an option unless you’re shooting with a celeb)
Denim companies usually make samples in a variety of sizes so that’s why a lot of plus size editorials have girls in jeans and no top or something.
Sometimes it’s possible to get samples from plus size companies, but when you’re shooting for certain publications you have to get as many advertisers in as possible, so it’s not always an option to use stuff from non-advertisers.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Idk, I think it’s a whole fashion infrastructure problem and not just that stylists hate fat people or something. I think designers are mostly at fault for using smaller and smaller girls to fit samples on. I don’t really know what the answer is. “

“it turns a plus size woman into nothing more than a body and a spectacle, where a small model is ~sexy and pretty and thin~ a plus size model can’t just be sexy and beautiful and living her life, it has to be BAM LOOK AT HER BODY! i guess modeling is about bodies but i feel like there’s such a focus on a plus size model being only her body.”


“I just feel like it was a weird model choice for Karl “I hate fatties” Lagerfeld to shoot for an issue devoted entirely to size appreciation. He’s ok with over the top “cartoon-ish” big women, but not the average American housewife (which he’s bashed). “

“…the argument for using thin models is so that the clothes will pop, but once you’re using plus size models, they create these personalities for them so the models stand out beyond the clothes. “

“i don’t think they would ever style a regular model this way.”

See the entire editorial here.

4 thoughts on “The Great Debate: Karl Lagerfeld and V Magazine’s Size Issue

  1. Honestly, I do not like any shots for this “size issue”. All the models are poorly styled (even Renn), and really size should not BE something that should be an issue.
    I am tired listening to both sides of this topic. Sample size small, model small. An average American woman weighs 160 lbs. Alot of women are inbetween. Should there be an issue devoted to women who are the average height of 5’4″?
    Karl used to be heavier, he lost weight. I see him as trying to make ammends or push boundaries with this shoot. Fashion can be fantasy, and Chanel elements are alive the photos and the lady looks amazing.❤

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  2. I agree with masibvo. Size should not be an “issue”. I applaud the German magazine Brigitte for coming out this month with their first “No Models” magazine, and plan to get a copy (I’m in Germany). THAT is for me a “plus size issue” becuase it features *many* sizes. Not just skinny, not just plus size, but ALL sizes. Just throwing plus size models into the fashion equation as a shoot here and there is not about size acceptance. Do a shoot with 5 different body types, and do it regulary, and then we are talking about “size issues”.

    The Brigitte TV ads running in Germany right now are very simple. They hired all kinds of women named Brigitte (a common name here) and have them stand in front of the camera before a white background and say “Hi, I’m Brigitte!”. Dead cheap from a production point of view and SO point on. They will come out winners out of the print media problems, and no doubt many magazines will follow suit.

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