Published May 13, 2010
There’s no denying that consumers are seeking a more realistic representation of women in the fashion industry. And with the recent surge of voluptuous stars and plus size models, it’s clear that women are anxious to see more curves.
But while leading lingerie company Victoria’s Secret claims to be a pioneer in promoting curvaceous women, in reality, most of their models are 5’11’’ and wear between a size zero and a size two. The lack of more realistic representations of women in their catalogs and runways begs the question, is Victoria’s Secret behind the times?
“Here at VS, we always embrace women’s curves and each individual’s shape and that’s why we have so many different types of swimsuits and bras to flatter each individual's body shape,” model Miranda Kerr told Pop Tarts while promoting the 5th Annual VS “What is Sexy” list at the label’s store in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Meanwhile fellow “Bombshell” Candice Swanepoel said that “VS embodies women with bums and boobs.”
“We’re trying to bring that back and I think its working! The whole industry is watching VS and it is definitely setting an example,” Swanepoel continued. “They see how beautiful the girls are …very curvaceous. It’s becoming sexier.”
To be fair, the VS beauties certainly aren’t the ultra-emaciated types that still roam the runways in the world of high fashion; however, there is a pretty big difference between the “curves” that the ultra-svelte Kerr and Swanepoel possess and the average American woman's curves, which are a size 14.
And it’s not as if other major companies and publications aren’t featuring more realistic representations of women.
Glamour magazine recently released a swimsuit cover featuring plus-sized beauty Crystal Renn alongside VS model Alessandra Ambrosio and Sports Illustrated cover girl Brooklyn Decker. Similarly, Vogue Italia just launched a new website with a section entitled “Vogue Curvy,” specifically dedicated to featuring full-figured models, and, at this year’s London Fashion Week, leading designer Mark Fast chose to send sized 14-16 models down the runway.
A rep from Victoria’s Secret was unavailable for comment.
But according to high-profile PR expert and model manager, Nadja Koglin, the term “curvy,” as Victoria’s Secret uses it, is quite deceptive.
“It seems some brands think as long as a woman wears a bra, she should be titled curvy. These days, models have been called "fat" for being a size 4,” Koglin said. “The word 'curves' is abused today and the consumer is starting to reject illusions, and demands reality from brands. Most women are neither 5'11 nor thin, and I predict that any brand that reflects a more "real" body type it will be rewarded by the consumer.”
The new crop of VS beauties partied it up at new Hollywood hotspot Drai’s in honor of the lingerie label’s the “What Is Sexy” list on May 11. And while there is no denying that the majority of this year’s list recipients, such as Olivia Wilde (Sexiest Actress), Carrie Underwood (Sexiest Legs) and Zoe Saldana (Sexiest Style) are all smokin’ hot – they are the epitome of Tinseltown tiny.
“Olivia Wilde and Zoe Saldana do deserve to be on Victoria Secret’s Sexy list but so do woman who are not a size zero. Gisele was considered a VS curvy model – but she was also a size zero,” said AP Fashion expert Natalie Rotman.
And celebrity stylist Phillip Bloch agrees its time for VS to give some prime placement to those with a little more to love.
“Victoria’s Secret's girls are so tiny and so thin. It's so interesting because they have a wide variety of ethnicities but considering this is a company that is based on body and lingerie, you'd think they'd have a bigger variety of body shapes,” Bloch said. “Where's the model with a little junk in her trunk? They have a very narrow vision and they need to expand.”
And even VS’s own highly-paid beauties would like to see the company include some much fuller figures.
“I would absolutely (like to see plus-sized models working for VS) because I think its beautiful,” British “Bombshell” Rosie Huntington-Whitely said, while Kerr agreed with a very strong “definitely.”
But while fellow VS starlet Doutzen Kroes fully supports the industry’s need to cater to plus-sized women, she also wants to make sure that naturally thin girls aren’t dissed either.
“I think it’s good when we show that curves are okay, but skinny models are fine too because there are skinny women all over the world," Kroes said. "We have to celebrate it all – athletic, curvy and skinny.”