Waif? What waif? These girls got curves. Or so I decided with my friends at Mr Porter. I recently wrote a story for them that explained why boobs and a bubbly personality seem chic again. Here is the story, and perhaps just as importantly, here are Karlie, Candice, Joan, Kate and even Gisele with some other of fashion’s feisty females in never before seen pictures from my archives.
The return of the curvy, girlier model is not a new phenomenon. When the Victoria’s Secret poster girl Ms Adriana Lima turned up in a Prada show a few seasons ago, it was clear that chicks with boobs and butts were making a comeback. But last month, during the Jean Paul Gaultier show at Paris Fashion Week, something happened that made me welcome with open arms the return of a 1990s obsession with girl power: Ms Karlie Kloss stood on a runway, Voguing. Celebrating her athletic curves (regrettably, she was not in a cone-shaped bra) and Madonna’s own brand of sex-fuelled female empowerment (which I think Ms Miley Cyrus may have taken notes on), she framed her face with her angular appendages before stomping down the runway. The crowd went wild.
Long live Ms Kate Moss, but I’m happy that the waif silhouette is dead. Ms Kloss was on the cover of Italian Vogue in December 2011 for an editorial shoot by Mr Steven Meisel titled “Body by Kloss.” My favorite shot of her was the one in which she wore little more than a hat and killer heels. Not that Ms Kloss is the only top model who knows that powerful shapes – which, for the record, are much different than untoned, jiggly extra pounds – are both fashionable and fun to look at nowadays. Another one of my favorite vixen models? Ms Joan Smalls, the Puerto Rican stunner and face of Estée Lauder who is just as sexy as she is saucy. I’ve always thought that Ms Daria Werbowy had the best rack in the business. And don’t even get me started on Ms Candice Swanepoel, the South African Victoria’s Secret Angel whose body is a rock hard hourglass. And believe me when I say it’s rock hard: there’s a video on YouTube in which she and her trainer show me how to get the perfect Angel body before the lingerie company’s annual fashion show extravaganza.
Cindy, Claudia, Naomi, Stephanie: all these girls had the sorts of bodies that looked as if they were sculpted by gods. (Not following me? Those girls’ last names are Crawford, Schiffer, Campbell and Seymour, respectively. Start Googling.) These were the original supermodels, and there wasn’t a waif among them. So, we are left to wonder why fashion has returned to their curvy aesthetic. Some say that in these troubling times we are nostalgic for a more comfortable era. And what was more comfortable than Ms Crawford in a Pepsi ad in the 1990s? I wrote an article for Harper’s Bazaar a few years ago that fashion’s new obsession with sexed-up clothes was a result of the economy: sex always sells. And it’s free.
But recently, I had another thought: as more and more straight men become more aware of the fashion industry (oh yes, the metrosexual is here to stay), their influence has seeped into it. This isn’t solely a gay man’s gig any more, and we need to think about the sort of girl that men find sexy. Meaning: most guys probably don’t want to ponder over 14-year-old girls who are so skinny they have facial hair. For example, my favorite girl I met while in Paris this season was Ms Andreea Diaconu, a Romanian with curves and an even better attitude. She’s smiley, sexy, tells a good joke. She’s the sort of girl that I wanted to immediately set up all my straight guy friends with because I thought she was so awesome. (But don’t get your hopes up. Turns out she has a boyfriend. And he’s a doctor.)
We can thank one woman for the fashion world’s return to the bodacious body in the post-grunge era: Ms Gisele Bündchen. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with the Brazilian bombshell? Let me tell you what it’s like: she talks a million miles a minute and you just sit there and listen and act like you understand, even if you don’t. Because she’s just that gorgeous. Her body moves and her lips open and close and her perfect hair gets flipped back and forth. But who cares? You’re talking to a goddess. She’s paved a curvy path for the rest of the world’s saucy vixens.
Which brings me to you, Ms Kate Upton. At the party for Ms Carine Roitfeld’s documentary, Mademoiselle C, in New York in September, a few friends and I found ourselves pushing away chairs to create a dance floor in the the Pool Room at The Four Seasons. At one point, when Mr Kanye West and Ms Roitfeld had sequestered themselves into the corner, the crowds parted and in came Ms Upton, the newest of the world’s sexy supermodels. Yes, she looks like Ms Marilyn Monroe. But what I didn’t know is that she can dance like Ms Jennifer Beals, or whatever the woman in Flashdance was called. She sashayed toward us and she shimmied and shaked, and, for a minute, the whole world stopped.
Captions, from top: Candice Swanepoel running around Boston; me and the super curvy Kate Upton; a gaggle of curly girls in Peru; me and Gisele; Joan Smalls and Lily Donaldson at fashion week in Paris; Candice and another girl who knows about curves, Kim Kardashian; the super sweet Andreea Diaconu; Gisele, with a pregnancy curve – and still radiant; Karlie Kloss in Paris; me seduced by Joan