Dec 22nd 2009 By Teresa Wu
Lara Stone, Size 4 Model -- Nothing to Celebrate Here
It's hard for us average-bodied folk to sympathize with the body-image struggle of someone who is 5-foot-10 with a 24-inch waist, but that's just what Vogue is asking us to do in a January article glorifying Lara Stone, size-4 model.
Could Vogue simply be riding the coattails of the magazine industry's plus-size fever, or is this a legitimate issue of acceptance?
In the face of plummeting ad and single-copy sales, every mag is doing what it can to refresh its image. At least with Glamour's celebratory buzz about plus-size Lizzie Miller, the model in question was actually a size 10. (Whereas we're not sure we could make a fat roll form on Lara if we tried.) The Vogue article cites the embarrassing situations Lara has encountered because of her size: "Worse than being called fat is a gaggle of stylists whispering in a corner after you've been trying on clothes for 10 minutes."
Compared to other models, Lara does have some curves -- and while we guess having actual protrusions from your chest in a sea of of women with the figures of prepubescent boys must be challenging, it looks like her career is chugging on. She's landing work with Givenchy, Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs. Let's put it this way: If somebody's still throwing money at you to pose in silky underthings, I think it's safe to say your "extra" curvature does not appear to be a major roadblock in your career.
Lara's struggle with her size might have made a semi-interesting story if there weren't plenty of successful size-4 ladies already walking the runways. With measurements of 35-26.5-36
, supermodel Gisele Bündchen of Victoria's Secret fame actually has a couple of inches on Lara in all departments. That hasn't stopped her from landing contracts with Louis Vuitton or Dolce and Gabbana. And did we mention Gisele's the highest-paid model in the world?
Moreover, can we truly rally behind a model with curves if she would actually still rather ... well, be skinny? Lara says, "People still tell me I'm fat, but when I look in the mirror, that's not what I see." Yet her history of dieting, exercise and pills doesn't have us convinced of that; at one point, she turned to alcohol to get through the day. Not exactly a paragon of shapely body confidence.
Stories like this one only serve to cement our frustrations about the fashion industry's self-congratulatory nature when it comes to hiring models who barely crack the stick-skinny standard. We'll start clinking our glasses together when someone who actually resembles the average woman finds herself in a glossy Versace spread. Bottom line is this: If the industry is taking progressive steps toward showcasing models who aren't waif-thin, we're all for it. But we're not throwing any parties just yet.
Our essay on Glamour's Lizzie Miller sparked a lot of dialogue, many of you saying that you want your models to be pencil-thin. What do you think about Lara Stone? Also, check out the slightly different opinion of our friends at StyleList.com.
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