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Jean Paul Gaultier uses Inès de la Fressange to take some people for a ride
At the recent Spring/Summer 2009 Paris Fashion Week, Jean Paul Gaultier had 51-year-old former high-fashion model, Inès de la Fressange, model one of his designs on the runway.
Gaultier had the following to say on employing Inès de la Fressange
Fashion models are not just 14-year-olds.
There are no [age] barriers to beauty.
Gaultier even said that Inès de la Fressange embodied the sexuality demanded of his Spanish themed show.
In a Time magazine interview, de la Fressange said
I think he wanted to show that he is working for women, he is at their service, if you like. I like the fact that he didn’t try to disguise me or make fun of me in some way, by making me wear black nail polish like the other models.
Some people just don’t get it.
Jean Paul Gaultier sent 51-year-old model Inès de la Fressange down his runway in Paris, proving yet again that he puts his money where his mouth is when it comes to highlighting beauty that falls outside the industry standard.
Amadei and Mysko then pointed out that Gaultier hired a morbidly obese model, Velvet D’Amour, a few years back. They acknowledge that some people thought that Gaultier’s choice of D’Amour was a cynical response to the voices against employing ultra-thin fashion models, but went with D’Amour’s interpretation –
PG has been clear on the statement he was making--that beauty takes many forms... There were some who viewed my appearance as ‘farcical’, or token, but when would any appearance of a genuinely fat person NOT be viewed as such? People of size are utterly banned from any mainstream media (other then the headless, junk food munching, obese [people] witnessed on the evening news every night). There are few, if any, references of inclusion beyond ridicule. – Velvet D’Amour (read her interview by Amadei and Mysko: part 1, part2)
Here is the reality. If Gaultier had any intentions of making a statement against ultra-thin models, he would have chosen models with normal, healthy body weights and stuck with it. Seeing young adult attractive women with a body mass index of 19-21 on the runway would shatter any pathetic excuse the fashion industry has come up with regarding a need for ultra thin models (see examples in Table 2 here). Body mass index is the height in meters divided by the square of the weight in kilograms; most people in Western societies, both men and women, find an optimally attractive BMI in women to be close to 20, biased more toward the 20-21 range rather than the 19-20 range.
Choosing morbidly obese Velvet D’Amour made no statement whatsoever against the use of very thin models because most people in Western societies find obesity unattractive.
And now Gaultier takes a stab at age. Again, all he had to do was pick fresh/unknown attractive models in the age range 20–25 and with a healthy body weight, and exclusively use them for his show. This would destroy any justification that the fashion industry has put forth regarding using 14-year-old girls for modeling clothes aimed at adult women, among whom the young adults are underrepresented because they are less likely to have disposable income for more expensive fashion merchandize than older women.
But Gaultier went for a 51-year-old woman. Most people in Western societies find adult women at their peak attractiveness in the early- to mid-twenties, and employing middle-aged women as models will do nothing to change it.
My argument is not that obese or middle-aged women should not be employed as fashion models. There are surely large numbers of both kinds of women who would not mind looking at how their own bodies would appear in the clothes or other fashion merchandize they are thinking of buying. But I wish to draw attention to what Gaultier and other industry homosexuals are doing: faking concern and understanding.
Gaultier has not made an obese model a staple of his fashion show and neither will he regularly employ middle-aged women.
Amadei and Mysko asked Velvet D’Amour, “How would you define healthy beauty, and what do you think is the industry's biggest obstacle to getting there?” D’Amour replied –
The biggest obstacle to the promotion of healthy beauty within the fashion industry is the dependence fashion has on advertising. Since magazines are dependent on the advertisers to exist, this beholds them to adhering to what has become the yawningly boring average--thin, white, tall and young. The reason being is that ads are so costly that they fear taking risks and as such, the vision of beauty is preserved as not only unattainable (to promote the use of the materials being sold) but also staid, since they are afraid to rock the boat and want only what sells.
No wonder she let herself be ridiculed by Gaultier and the fashion industry, like Beth Ditto. Thinness doesn’t sell, and advertisers are not the culprits until they happen to be male homosexual fashion designers who like the looks of boys in their early adolescence, which is the reason why they pick female models that come close to this look.