It wasn’t just the fashion in the 1988 Next Directory that I wanted to write about: to a 21st century eye these underwear spreads from 1988 look more like real people stories than fashion layouts shot on models.

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That’s because many models back then were bigger. And especially the girls who modelled lingerie: it was accepted that lingerie models should be a different shape to the editorial & runway girls.

Then two things happened. Firstly the 90s when Kate Moss and the xylophone-ribbed eastern European show ponies started to make an impact on the modelling industry as a whole and models across the board started to shrink, and secondly, lingerie started to become a fashion led business as brands like Myla & Agent Provocateur entered the market and started to shoot their campaigns on fashion models.

When’s the last time you saw an underwear model who looked like this? The basque on this girl from the 1988 Next Directory is actually cinching her in, as opposed to hanging off her.

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I’m not convinced that photographing bras & knickers on models who have no curves is the best way to flog underwear. It certainly doesn’t make me hotfoot it to the nearest knicker purveyor.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing if underwear retailers showed us their collections on a combination of slender AND curvy women?

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24 comments

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It's almost as much a mess as the economy: after two decades of heroin chic, we now have utterly distorted our own self-images. It's sobering when you see a model who's NOT on the brink of emaciation and catch yourself thinking that she's not terribly slender.

One catalog that puts it right out there is Cyberswim. They sell all sizes of suits, and use actual plus-sized models for the plus-sized pages in the book and online. By plus-sized I mean women who could probably stand to lose a few, not someone who's a size 8 and just looks enormous next to a size 0.

Here's an example.

It's endearing and refreshing, and as a matter of fact, useful for those who might actually wonder what the suit would like like on themselves instead of on a praying mantis.

Well done LLG!

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yes, yes, yes! I completly agree with you, we need "bigger" models in the industry, since women come in all different sizes and it is nice to actually see how something looks on someone who is "real."

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this was also before breast implants became de rigeur for all lingerie models so that the desired shape was a lollipop stick with stick on bowls in DD size a la porn cartoons. Women with real breasts were generally curvier – and sexier.

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That would be very refreshing to show slender and curver girls in ads. That is the way the world looks. xo Mish

http://www.themishdish.blogspot.com

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Couldn't agree more – the current crop of models, where the lingerie hangs off their bodies, rather than enticing me to buy it, makes me want to run for the hills in Fruit of the Loom.

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Bravo! It`s very frustrating to go thru the Victoria`s Secret catalogue because NONE of it will look the same on my un-airbrushed body!

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it's all about proportion- that model in the basque looks far better in it than a skinny minny type. Some people are just tiny but they should still be womanly and tiny if that is their natural size shouldn't they really. I would LOVE to see a selection of shapes within reason but I don't think it will happen

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Oh yes!

I especially love seeing "shapewear" sold to me on models with their ribs showing. Really helps me establish it's potential effectiveness!

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I agree with you. Moreover I think that they should choose slender AND rounder models in the whole system: let's face it, not always what suits the first is the best choice for the second!
But I think people are starting to realize this, I'm confident.

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You know I'd forgotten this fact. Which is quite dreadful because I've become 'accepting' of what we have now. Bring these gals back it looks radical compared to now!

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