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With the recent controversy on the ban of waif-like models at Madrid Fashion Week, top international plus-size models Liis Windischmann (whose print campaigns include Laura Plus, Talbot’s, Eddie Bauer and Reitmans) and Diane Pellini (with impressive fashion magazine exposure in Essence, Glamour and the now-defunct SHOP etc.) celebrate curvaceous beauty with the launch of their Fenomenal Calendar. Here, size-14 Liis graces the cover, while the other pages are dedicated to plus-size models from across the globe. Taking inspiration from elegant ’40s and ’50s pin-up girls, all things voluptuous are in, skinny out.
We sat down with both beauties to talk double-digits, envy and why Gisele is on her way out.
ELLE Canada: What inspired you to create this calendar?
Liis Windischmann: “I was inspired to create this calendar purely by frustration alone. The media constantly talks about the misrepresentation of plus-size women on the runways and yet nothing is being done. We hope that this calendar is one of the many projects we create that promotes the fact that beauty is found in various sizes!”
Diane Pellini: “Envy. I personally got tired of looking at print editorial with the standard thin model and thinking, ‘Whoa, if I had the kind of creative teams they get to work with, I could do this too!’ Liis and I want to create new role models for young girls. It’s not healthy to have one ideal body image represented in the media.”
EC: What are your thoughts on the Madrid Fashion Week debacle?
LW: “I think what happened has been a great wake-up call for the fashion world. Will things change overnight as a result? Doubtful. But at least conversation is being sparked on the subject. I work with beautiful, slim, healthy models and respect them very much, but there is no representation on the runways for models of various sizes. It doesn’t matter if the model is a size 4 or a size 14 — if she is healthy and beautiful, then kudos to her. I have been asked several times whether I would prefer to have the runways full of only plus-size/larger models and I say absolutely not. That is merely reverse discrimination. We need to stop defining women by size and simply accept that beauty comes in all forms.”
DP: “It was a blessing in disguise! I think it created a shock wave throughout the industry. In my opinion, fashion is something that should make you feel good, but how can it when there are so many restrictions involved!”
EC: What do you mean when you refer to women having a “Curvy Consciousness”?
DP: “Liis always likes to say that we are entering a curvy consciousness and she’s absolutely right. Women do not want to be overlooked or ignored anymore because they aren’t an “ideal” size — especially when 65 percent of them are over a size 12! They want to shop at cool, hip stores, too, and look at editorials in which a model actually represents who she is. Here’s our promise to them: Year after year, we will create projects that will reflect the need for high-end curvy fashion! It’s time to tip the scale in our favour.”
LW: “Flipping through magazines and seeing all the shoots with our much-smaller counterparts, I would always wonder why we didn’t have 1/100th of the opportunities. My goal is to educate the general public to make plus-size models household names just like the way Linda, Naomi, Christy and Gisele are!”
To purchase the calendar, please check out www.fenomenalcalendar.com