New Model, Same as the Old Model

Doillon Taking issue with The New York Times' style section is futile work but it has been a long holiday weekend (I do have to return to work tomorrow to a possibly empty office because I’m not one of those people who saves vacation days to spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s with my family) and free time abounds.

The Damsel is In Distress” discusses “mannish jackets, leggings and ripped hose, all worn in a decidedly unstudied way by off-duty models and fashion insiders.” Adherents to this look include editor Carine Roitfeld, model Agyness Deyn and actresses like Selma Blair (Scarlett Johansson is the antitheses, which I get but the slide show is all backwards lumping Zooey Deschanel into the tough camp when she’s completely girly and using Rhianna as an example of the old-fashioned feminine look when it’s anything but). At least the author is acknowledging this is a small group, and it’s not exactly brand new, but because it’s been written about in a high circulation periodical, it is now time for the mainstream to emulate.

They’re talking about toughness, hard angles and androgyny as if it were about the clothing. Every single example they give is a A-cupped woman with narrow hips. It’s no more than women playing up this body type with fashion. How could this possibly work on someone who 5’2” with an hourglass figure, no matter how little she ate?

"'I’m not a soft girl,' added Ms. Chiu, who prefers the more rugged glamour of a leather jacket and skinny jeans. 'I want to be sexy on one hand, but I also want to be tough, and I don’t want to show off my body.'"

Soft as a look, as a concept is one thing but how do you not show off your body if you have a juicy rump or big bust? (And by the way, they quote five people with Asian surnames, which uh, is kind of telling.) These cannot be hidden by leather jackets and skinny jeans. Long, lean lines are not a clothing choice.

I don’t dislike the style, as many of the commenters do, i.e. I want my ladies to look like ladies, dammit! No, not at all. I just don’t see how it is achievable for most.

Then again, it’s not really meant to be. We’re living in a time when Vogue thinks they’re celebrating diversity by detailing the struggles of a “curvy” size 4 model. "People still tell me I’m fat, but when I look in the mirror, that’s not what I see."

Lou Doillon photo Eric Ryan/Getty Images via NYT

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