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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Well done!! I am actually posting something around the size 0 issue every Monday (http://www.metropolitanmum.co.uk/category/malnourished-monday/). Would you mind if I borrowed your pictures and linked back to you? It would be great to show the now and then effect.

xxx Deborah

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It would be great if the whole fashion world could become something I could relate to and feel real engagement with.

It declares itself with its models to have nothing to do with me or reality and therefore amounts to no more than sometimes beautiful pictures.

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No ads actually spring to mind, but I am not sure I can completely agree that lingerie models are horibly skinny, they do seem to have far more flesh than fashion models, but they are not as curvy as the models in your lovely Next pictures that is for sure.
There does seem to be a momemtum building (if only in the cyber world) towards some larger,cuvier and fleshier models which is very encouraging…

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Well said.

It's all gone down the Victoria Secret route though!

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One of the many reasons why I adore sifting through old magazines, catalogues and adverts. It always amazes me how the perception of beauty and image can change over a short space of time.

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I KNOW! When you did the first post, I was struck by the very same thing!

However, if I may be selfish here, I consider myself to be a Real Woman, yet my body type is more akin to Kate Moss's than it is to these curvy beauties. I'm grateful that Kate Moss broadened the aesthetic of what a sexy woman can look like.

I think we should think in terms of VARIETY rather than this shape being better than that shape and imposing some dictatorial standard of beauty on everyone.

Just an aside: There has been a lot of stuff in the NY times and on Public Radio about plus-size models recently. On the one hand, this is a good thing. On the other, it's kind of strange that it's happening in the Fattest Nation in the World. I'm not sure how deep/relevant this connection is, but it's interesting.

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Yes! Yes! A million times Yes!
Bring back the models that actually fit into their clothing!

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Wow, wow, wow. These woman look so beautiful and real. It makes me really sad to think that at least I grew up with this. And an era when supermodels were strong, powerful women. And I struggle with my self image.

What on earth are the youth of today going to grow into? What will be their concept of normal?!

Reply

really beautiful photos, LLG. i know this is sacrilege but i have never been able to see the beauty in/of Kate Moss. bring on the sophia lorens and madhubala's (indian actress from my mum's generation) of our world! ps why why why did kate winsley slim down so much? i LOVED her in sense and sensibility.

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Hooray for real voluptuous women!

I think Bravissimo in the UK do a fairly good job of using more realistically sized women.

🙂

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