Now, as Sydney and Melbourne get ready to launch their fashion weeks, there's a commitment to 'get real', and move away from the tall and super skinny trend.
In fact, the mayors of both cities, Clover Moore and Robert Doyle, have turned fashion into political footballs. According them, it's time to put curves back on the catwalk.
Rather than size zero, agents are looking for models size eight to ten, claiming that's a size that more accurately reflects the average body shape.More stories from Today Tonight
According to the Director of Melbourne Scene Models, Eugene Loane, a new look has hit town. “It's gone from the ‘heroin-chic’ look to a more healthy look now.”
Loane sees demand as the force driving the change. “The look for last fashion week was a little bit thinner. The fashion week before that was a bit more buxom - it just depends on the times in society,” he said.
Bella Models is an agency which specialises in ‘real sized’ women. “The average-sized Australian woman is a size fourteen,” Bella Models’ Chelsea Bonner said.
For Bonner, the ‘real’ trend is about models with an athletic build. “These days it is really more about health, and customers and readers all want to read about how to be healthier, not skinnier. I think that is really the message.”
Perhaps like fashion itself, what's old is simply new again. In the 50s it was all about curves, as a full bodied size twelve Marilyn Munroe became the ultimate pin-up girl.
Then in the 60s we swung back to super-skinny with Twiggy - a look that came back with Kate Moss in the 90s, and is often referred to as ‘heroin chic’.
“Heroin chic is so over, it's absolutely yesterday. Women do not want to look like that anymore. They want to embrace their curves. The trend in fashion is to move away from the heroin chic look that we had in the past, towards the more ‘glamazon’ sort of look - the Victoria's Secret models like Gisele and Adriana Lima,” Bonner explained.
So maybe all of this is just part of the fashion cycle?
Jackie Frank, Editor of Marie Claire Magazine believes it could just be a carefully orchestrated tactic by struggling retailers to make women feel more comfortable, ultimately leading them to buy more.“I think it’s a fantastic media stunt to say ‘we're going to get out there and we're going to represent all shapes and sizes’. Well hey, they're saying they've got a size eight - that's not representing all shapes and sizes,” she said.
Frank believes if the industry really wants to reflect ‘real Aussie bodies’ they should go all the way.
“I think if they want to represent all shapes and sizes, don't go eight to ten, go the whole gamut. Go from six to a sixteen, and put the different sizes on the runway.
“This is something that has gone on through the ages, and as different role models appear in different sizes and different shapes - from Marilyn Monroe, to Kate Moss, to Giselle. It changes all the time, and women really need to concentrate on the best they can be, rather than looking at a particular look and trying to achieve that,” Frank concluded.
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