She asked, "What lead us to establish that thin is beautiful and that thinness is the aesthetic code we should follow? Why (has) the age of supermodels, who were beautiful and womanly, slowly started decreasing and we now have still undeveloped adolescents with no sign of curves?
Why is this considered beautiful? Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor and Sophia Loren today would appear in our Curvy channel and be defined shapely."
Sozzani has led petitions to close pro-anorexia and bulimia websites. At Harvard she said, "Trends change also regarding aesthetics, and today we accept such standards as the most normal thing. And this is a negative example."
She had, however, a second issue to address, that of "another eating disorder", obesity. She said, "The fashion industry is often pinpointed in connection with anorexia, though the food, and in particular the fast food industry is not equally linked to obesity" and claimed that "if you eat healthily you will not gain weight."
The speech (compete text here) is a bit all over the place, but her message is clear: lack of health education, powerful cultural imagery and the interests of certain industries have propelled a frightening propensity for unhealthful extremes on both ends of the spectrum.
Encouraged by her remarks, I browsed Italian Vogue's V Curvy, an online-only source of sumptuous styling for women who despair of achieving superthin-fifteen-year-old bodies. The healthy-looking plus-sized models resemble many of my friends and me (though of course younger). "Daily Suggestions" offers inspiration built around basics we own, and sharpens the eye for what you'd add.
|From Italian Vogue's "Daily Suggestions", Spring 2012|
There's plenty of politics here, too. Check out the fascinating work by Anna Utopia Giordano, "Must be Perfect". Giordano altered images of ten of the most famous Venuses to make them match today's super-skinny standards, demonstrating, as the site says, "the madness of size zero". Shown, Francesco Hayez' "Ballerina Carlotta Chabert as Venus", 1830.
I have worked with editors of fashion magazines; held to financial goals, they know which models sell, and those are usually the wispy teenaged ones. They might talk about "size diversity" and "showing our readers real women", but no one has taken action like Sozzani has.