So, imagine my reaction after hearing that Karl Lagerfeld attacked German Magazine, Brigitte, for choosing to only publish images of real women. Lagerfeld told Focus Magazine this:
“No one wants to see curvy women. You’ve got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly.”
Yeah, heartbroken. How could someone I admire and respect dismiss me (and my curves) as undesired on the runway and in fashion magazines?
Well, since Karl Lagerfeld is my gay husband in my head (though we’ve never met), I imagined writing him a letter and mailing it to Paris immediately after hearing the quote to express how it made me feel. This is how it would read:
My darling Karl,
You’re quoted in Focus Magazine as saying: “No one wants to see curvy women. You’ve got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly.”
What “curvy women” are you referring to? The women I know are avid fans of Chanel and all things feminine, awe-inspiring and beautiful in fashion. We are your consumers and followers. We drool over your advertisements in magazines, we spend our hard-earned money at your stores. Even more of us dedicate time writing, researching, discussing and studying your work and the fashion industry as a whole. And we DO want to see curvy women in our magazines and on the runway.
We are beautiful, curvy women of all sizes (who might I add exercise regularly and are in good shape!). Whether we’re petite or plus by fashion standards, we all have a shape that’s more voluptuous than the thin models that walk in runway shows. And our gorgeous, womanly curves aren’t the product of chips on the couch either; we credit great genes for it.
We appreciate—and spend a lot of money buying—classic, ladylike fashion like Chanel. You proudly accept our praises and our dollars, yet you dismiss us as unworthy of being represented on your runway.
Even worse, you do a disservice to the women you do choose to represent. Those who aren’t naturally thin (who make up the majority) may resort to unhealthy tactics to try to achieve your unattainable standard of beauty.
As someone who went from ballet school to the fashion industry, I’ve witnessed firsthand the dangerous extent some women will go to in order to fit the mold you’re creating. I am close friends with women who overcame battles with anorexia and bulimia.
I have to assume that you’ve never witnessed the effects of these conditions or you wouldn’t say something so irresponsible. I don’t have that luxury. I’ve watched my friend’s health deteriorate—to the point of fainting—knowing that it was of her own doing. I’ve felt helpless trying to save her because the more sickly, frail and thin she became, the more she felt beautiful, according to your standards. And when the body weakens, teeth rot, bones protrude and skin ages from an eating disorder, it’s not beautiful, it’s scary.
It perplexes me that a man who is such a visionary and creative force in the fashion industry could be so close-minded when it comes to body image. Well, here are two things you need to know:
(1) A “fat” woman eating chips on the couch is just as unhealthy as a thin woman who forces herself not to eat or vomits after every meal.
(2) Curvy does not mean obese. There are many of us with gorgeous, enviable, natural curves who are healthy (you may have seen a few: Beyonce Knowles, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Hudson, Beth Ditto, Salma Hayek, Queen Latifah, Lily Allen, Scarlett Johansson). We are as beautiful and sexy as anyone else—and EVERYONE wants to see US on the runway.
Curvy and fabulous,
Sound off: What do you think of Karl Lagerfeld’s comments? Do you agree that no one wants to see curvy women? Are magazines and runways that celebrate curvy women supporting obesity and unhealthy body types? Do you think there’s a link between Karl’s standard of beauty and anorexia and bulimia? Have you ever felt pressure to be thin to be considered beautiful? Do you think events like Full-Figured Fashion Week are helping to change the fashion industry’s obsession with thin models? Will it ever change? Discuss.
Photos: Rex Features; Getty Images.