Fuller figured bloggers are the somewhat unlikely stars of a new advertising campaign for luxury fashion label Marina Rinaldi.
The high-end Italian brand invited 12 of the most influential plus-size women on the web to pose for a series of glossy images, usually reserved for size zero models.
"We wanted to focus on the brands fashion credentials not just that we cater for larger-sized women, "said Mrs Lynne Webber, managing director, Marina Rinaldi. " We were after authenticity. Real bodies, real lives - women who don't view size as style hurdle".
Enter the curvy-girl blog squad. Women with more killer curves than a box set of Mad Men. Globally popular for their style expertise the group was assembled from Europe, Russia, Turkey and the US then flown to Milan for the three-day glamour shoot. Each blogger was commissioned to style their own photograph choosing everything from wardrobe to hair and make-up.
Gabi Gregg from Detroit is the 25-year-old voice behind the well-liked GabiFresh.com. The loud and humorous former journalism student rejects the notion that women should dress for "body type", preferring to create new rules for women her size.
"I'm used to expensive, designer clothes just not fitting me. When I put all these beautiful things on it literally made me cry because for once they did," she said. "It's sad that an experience which is so normal for most women is such a rarity for someone who is size 18 (and above)".
Marina Rinaldi is indeed a rare island on Planet Fashion. The brand, which is part of the Max Mara group, is one of the only high-end labels in the world that designs specifically for larger women stocking sizes from 12-28 in Australia. Championed by Hollywood's curvier stars including Melissa McCarthy, Christina Hendricks and Adele, its success lies in a commitment the same on-trend, quality tailoring that's applauded in their mainstream brands.
"To me, fashion should not have sizes and not be limited by a number in a jacket" said French blogger Stephanie Zwicky from leblogdebigbeauty.com, who also features in the campaign. "I'm not an activist, I just think all women should be given the opportunity to wear beautiful things - not just thin ones".
According to figures compiled by the Bloomberg news service using data from the World Health Organisation, the average New Zealand woman weighs approximately 74 kilograms and is between a size 14 and 16. While many mass fashion brands now cater for larger sizes, contemporary New Zealand and Australian labels lag behind, routinely finishing at size 14 and even 12. "It's a real missed opportunity," said Penny McCarthy, fashion director, the (sydney) magazine. "There's an absolute need for quality, fashionable clothes for women with curves". Marina Rinaldi has three stores in Australia, two in Sydney and one in Melbourne, with plans for further expansion.
"I think it would be great and should be 'normal' to show a reality of different sizes in fashion magazines," said Swedish stylist Edith Dohem of stylehasnosize.com who believes the "Women Are Back" campaign only highlights the lack of diversity in advertising images. "Every women is beautiful, no matter what her size. Who knows ... maybe soon."
- Sydney Morning Herald
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