Laurie Toby Edison

Photographer

Don ‘t Cry for Me, Fashionista

The last place we expected to find amazing work done with body image was the Paris high-fashion couturier runway shows.

But designer John Galliano has proved us wrong. His models range from under four feet tall to over seven feet tall. The weight range is equally wide, with both fat men and fat women represented. The age range could easily be sixty years. And this description doesn’t begin to do the show justice. (In case you don’t know, this is a world where even tiny variations are rare.)

See if you agree. Go to this report on Galliano’s spring show. The slide show is your best bet to see the work; don’t miss any of the slides.

We both feel like we have a lot to say about this, after we have a chance to read your comments and to think our own reactions through. We’re leaning towards saying that it’s fabulous.

What do you see?

(By the way, we took the title of this post from the phrase that Galliano used for his invitations and embroidered across some of the coats in the show.)

11 Responses to “Don ‘t Cry for Me, Fashionista”

  1. Irfon-Kim Ahmad Says:

    I have to say that the range of bodies was inspiring and wonderfully inclusive. Still, some of my biggest pet peeves about fashion are out in force. In particular, I wish that there would be some acceptance for the idea that it’s okay to be happy, interested and engaged. I really dislike the association between “cool” and “bored and disaffected.” Also, for a “ready to wear” collection, I would have appreciated some of the items being a lot more practical and significantly less makeup.

    But I suppose one step forward is better than none. :)

  2. Dan'l Says:

    one other point of note — some of the models he used are what would conventionally be called ugly, certainly by the standards of the runway. If this is a gimmick (which I fear it could be), it’s a very broad-based one.

  3. lisa Says:

    i liked it, and yet…

    it had the feel of a circus — the wild colors, the twins, the people who looked like acrobats. that somehow detracts for me — i would like to see more ordinary variety and less the feel of a sideshow. and i agree with If, bored and disaffected is off-putting.

    i’d love to hear what *fashion* people were saying about it.

  4. stef Says:

    I’m afraid my reaction was more that it came across as a freak show. A combination of the makeup and the bored/disaffected….and all that made me absolutely hate the clothes, although I suspect I might like some of the clothes if they were presented differently.

    Still I suppose I’d rather look at a freak show with people of all sizes than a freak show of people who are all the same size.

    Maybe I don’t follow the fashion industry enough to be as impressed as I would be otherwise.

  5. Nancy Lebovitz Says:

    I was moderately pleased. The clothes weren’t delightful, but they generally weren’t aggressively ugly and many of the outfits looked as though they could be worn in daily life without getting in the way.

    The other posters have a point about the models looking unhappy, but I didn’t get the impression that they were being mocked.

    It’s not what I’d like to see fashion doing, but other things I’ve seen have been so awful that this looked kind of good.

  6. Patsy Nevins Says:

    I was pleased with the size diversity, though there were not any really significantly fat people there, but I agree that it did remind me a lot of a circus or some kind of freak show. I hated the clothes, but I am not into high fashion, & I also wonder why high fashion finds it necessary for models to look bored or even half-dead & to be as much like mannequins as possible. I think the designer was trying to be more inclusive of different types of people & God knows there was greater diversity in size, age, & looks than one generally sees, but there is a lot about this which leaves me feeling uncomfortable. As for some of them being ugly, well…number one, most of us in the real world are not drop dead gorgeous & number two, I have seen some pictures of high fashion models WITHOUT the makeup, hair-styling, or as much airbrushing & retouching & computer enhancement as usual, & many highly-paid models are actually just ordinary-looking scrawny beanpoles & some are pretty close to being downright ugly. They basically take someone who is tall, skinny, & has what they consider “good bones” & make her look the way they want her to look &, by the time the makeup artists, photographers, & the computer experts get done, some of these models are unrecognizable to their own mothers.

  7. Lynne Murray Says:

    I won’t even pretend to understand the fashion urge, but a couple of things occurred to me looking at the wildly diverse models. Beautifully created clothing is rarely seen for body types outside the fashion norm. It’s interesting to see a gifted designer use an unusual body as the inspiration, instead of creating a fantasy garment first and then finding a minimal body. I also agree with Stef that there was a sort of Fellini 8-1/2 circus of body types theme. I’m not sure how I feel about that or what (if any) effect it might have in the long run.

    The other thing I thought of was a comment from Camryn Manheim responding to fans who admired her clothing on The Practice. She said it was specially created for her and cost thousands of dollars. I have seen people of various non-off-the-rack sizes who express themselves with color and line, and create lovely things for themselves to wear out of what they find almost literally in the street. But it’s interesting to see it done on such a high level.

  8. Lizzie Says:

    I liked it, but I like Galliano anyway.

    I agree that it’s kind of a freak show, circus thing. I mean, I don’t think he was doing it for body acceptance reasons, but to be different. I don’t know if that matters. The clothes are beautiful and suit the people they’re on, in every size, so it’s not just a matter of getting unusual looking people to wear clothes that are otherwise not unusual.

    I don’t see the models as bored/disaffected looking.

  9. Mary Kay Says:

    Wow! Clothes I could actually wear and enjoy! Only I’d want the black ruffled number in brilliant sapphire blue or maybe royal purple.

    I loved the whole idea, gimmick or not.

    MKK

  10. Laurie Says:

    Lizzie,

    As I said, I really loved the way the clothes worked on the people. I’m going to be blogging about size and dance at the “Bodies in Motion” performance and the parallels to dance fitting fat bodies is really interesting.

    Mary Kay,

    I’d love to see you in it.

    Personally, I went for the suit on the gray haired woman.

  11. jeanneb Says:

    hey there,
    the guys in dresses could still run, thier shoes were flat. And looked comfy, for the most part.
    those tight around the knees outfits on women give me the creeps.

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