Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Meet Daphne Selfe, The World's Oldest Supermodel

This is Daphne Selfe. She has worked with a roster of names, including Dolce & Gabbana, Mario Testino and Rankin, and has been in ads for Nivea and Olay, in addition to starring in a Will Young video. And at age 83, Selfe is considered to be the world's oldest supermodel.

On the shot of her recreating the most iconic Madonna moment of conical bra and corset (made by Jean Paul Gaultier for the singer’s Blonde Ambition tour in 1990), Selfe describes it as ‘terribly unforgiving. I thought they might have done a bit of airbrushing!’ she says, jokingly. 'But, hey, what the hell, it was all for a good cause.’

The cause is Oxfam’s Big Bra Hunt. Apparently, the average woman in the UK owns nine bras, three of which she never wears. Oxfam hopes the photograph of Selfe, taken by legendary fashion photographer Perou (everyone on the shoot worked for no fee) will encourage women to donate bras, along with their clothes as women in developing countries also require undergarments.
Oxfam is sending its first batches of bras to Senegal, West Africa, where, traditionally, women ‘just flop around’, according to Sarah Farquhar, head of Oxfam Trading. ‘A good bra makes them feel more elegant.’

‘I’ve never had anything done to my face,’ Selfe confesses, pulling it this way and that. ‘Not that poison, not a facelift. I think it’s a waste of money. Anyway, I couldn’t afford it!’

Surely this sensational shot will see more models 'above a certain age' appearing on the front covers of mainstream magazines? Selfe says: ‘I met Nicholas Coleridge not long ago (Coleridge is the publisher of Vogue, Vanity Fair, Tatler and Easy Living). I asked him, “Will I ever get on the cover of Vogue?” And he said: “Darling, you just won’t sell.” ’

If this is the case, it's an incredible shame. Here we have a woman in her (early) eighties, looking just as supreme and sexy as the younger woman whose pose she was recreating. We think Selfe looks stellar; no wonder there was no need for airbrushing! There may be lines on her face and brown speckles on her arms, yet tall she stands because she has earned her stripes, as well as the title of 'world's oldest supermodel'.

And don't all supermodels get to appear on Vogue? Tell us what you think in the 'comments' below.

Read the full interview with Daphne Selfe here.
For details of Oxfam’s Big Bra Hunt, visit You can also take your bras to Sainsbury’s clothes banks.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Italian Vogue's Franca Sozzani's Speech On Eating Disorders

Recently at Harvard, Italian Vogue's Franca Sozzani delivered a speech surrounding the topic of thinness and the link it possesses with the fashion industry. During the speech, Sozzani recognised the change in the sizes of models: "Why the age of supermodels, who were beautiful and womanly, slowly started decreasing and we now have still undeveloped adolescents with no sign of curves?"

However, she highlights how fashion isn't the only thing playing a part in eating disorders as she points out that "negative family and social influences, the feeling of being subjected to too much pressure or too high expectations or, conversely, to parental neglect, being ridiculed over one’s body shape or feeling unable to reach one’s goals" can also have an affect on people's eating habits.

Whilst there is no denying that fashion plays a part in affecting people's ideals on beauty and the 'perfect' body, is it fair to deem it is as the sole reason?

You can read the full speech here on the website.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Philomena Kwao to be Britain's first black 'plus-size' supermodel?

Former Miss Ghana title holder Philomena Kwao has become the newest addition to the Models 1 family. The size 16 student from Kent is currently renowned for winning high street label Evans' modelling competition. 

The competition, run in conjunction with, resulted in Kwao being signed up to Excel-Models 1, the newest division of the agency created for the curvier model.

Kwao says: 'Healthier body attitudes and a backlash against REALLY skinny models have led to a fair few designers rethinking the models they send down catwalks, and magazines to appraise their approach in their fashion pages.'

Kwao will appear in May's issue of Cosmopolitan in a beach-inspired shoot for the publication. She endeavours to become Britain's first black supermodel and empower other females.

She has completed a BA in economics and is currently studying for her MSc in International Health Management at the Imperial College, London, proving that brains and beauty is not an oxymoron. We look forward to following her rise to the top.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

'Fat' Fashion - Bloggers Embrace Their 'Plus Size'

There is a new wave of style bloggers making an effort to prove that fat can also be fashionable. 'Fatshonista', 'fatosphere' and 'fatastic' are just a few of the words used to describe the increasingly popular online movement that celebrates fashion for the larger woman. Or 'fatshion', as they prefer to call it.

Helping to take the negative connotations out of the word 'fat' are women like Lesley Kinzel, a 35-year-old author who wears a US size 26 (UK size 30). Her blog, Two Whole Cakes, is soon to be turned into a book, and aims to empower plus-size women.
Lesley Kinzel

Ms Kinzel shares her style advice advice on the site, along with authors of similar blogs titled Fat Girls Like Nice Clothes TooCurves to Kill and Thicker Than your Average Girl, which all impart the same mantra: We're fat AND we're fabulous, and you should be too! 

Style secrets is not all these women want to share. With no desires to change their size, and with 60% of American women wearing size 14 (UK size 18) or higher, they want the public, and their plus-sized peers, to redefine the word 'fat', and most importantly, accept it. Ms Kinzel explained to CNN: "Learning to use the word 'fat' as a basic descriptor, stripping it of its negative baggage, was a huge part of my self-acceptance process. But I love the word 'fat' precisely because my candid and positive use of it often shocks means everyone who hears the word 'fat' from me is having to take a moment to think about what I mean by it, and to resist the knee-jerk assumption that I must mean something bad."

Ms Kinzel also believes that 'fat' women are not represented as beautiful and desirable in mainstream media.Describing her adolescent years, she says: "I didn't have many famous examples of positive fat-lady representation. I mean, there was Roseanne. I loved Roseanne, but not because she was beautiful - I loved her because she was smart and tough and didn't take crap from anyone." Kinzel continued: "If we wait for television and magazines to do this for us, we're going to be waiting a very long time. So we do it ourselves."

Jessica Kane, creator of Life and Style of Jessica and owner of Skorch Plus Size Style Magazine, agrees with Kinzel's sentiment. "Some girls might see themselves as curvy, while others see themselves as plus-sized. I do embrace the word 'fat' because I am. It's not mean or spiteful, but a fact," she says.

With her blog, Ms Kane took control of this message in a way that mainstream magazines are often afraid to, for fear of offending. "The majority of women need to be represented, and blogs like mine that thrive with hundreds of thousands of views a month show that there are women who want to see more. We need the thin girls next to the big girls as well as the brown girls next to the white girls. Diversity is key," Ms Kane says. We couldn't agree more! 

With blogging now often being described as "overrated", it's 'fatastic' to see it being injected with a new life, and one with such a positive message. However, writers such as Kinzel and Kane are not saying that being skinny or slim is 'wrong', they just want to get across that it's not the only 'right'. Neither beauty nor style comes in a certain size or shape and the time is more than ripe for this to be accepted in popular culture.

Are you feeling this latest fatshion trend? Tell us what you think in the comments section.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Made In Mexico: Creating A Bespoke Solution To Sizing Issues

The perplexity of differences in American and European clothing sizes has become an issue for customers in Mexico, with an increasing number being unable to find anything that fits their figures. It is reported that retailers in the country lose an annual total of $4 billion due to returned items. 

A survey reported on by Women's Wear Daily , was conducted in over 14 cities and several regions of the country in order to calculate averages in height and weight. Results have shown for example that the average Mexican female is aged 18-25 is 5ft2 and weighs 138lbs.

As a result, manufacturers will be able to see the types of bodies that they should be catering to, thus creating garments that would ensure a better fit. In fact, the survey is expected to do so well that an estimated $400 million will be saved by 2017, from a decrease in returns.

Do you think this is a good idea and should other countries follow suit?

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Too Young to Model?

Expect to see this girl on the next cover of a women's fashion magazine if modelling agencies get their way. Eleven year old Anais Gallagher, dubbed the new Kate Moss, has already been signed to Select Model Management and recently been shot by none other than Mario Testino. Her mother Meg Matthews tweeted his shots of her twice.  Select Model Management, the agency that answers for models such as Agyness Deyn and Daphne Groeneveld has snapped Gallagher up, and await her legal catwalk debut.

The now dubbed 'mini-model' was shot for a Paul Smith Junior campaign only last year, and is now being looked upon to model womenswear. There are murmurs of the 11 year old's 'over-sexualisation', and there are fears it may stir up the old 'toddlers in tiaras' debate.

Fashion is on a constant quest for youth, and indeed women should model for women. The 'mini-model' trend is expanding rapidly with 12 year old Kaia Gerber, the late Gianni Versace's muse, becoming one of the ones to watch. Mother and model Cindy Crawford has kept a watchful eye on her daughter, and has decided to put her career on hold for seven years, putting distance between her child Versace campaign and the catwalk to come.

Fashion's obsession with youth is as old as time, however the price it may cost those portraying it is a whole different story. What are your thoughts on the 'mini-model' trend?