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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Exceptions to the Rule

Let's talk about the exceptions to the rule. The debate over height in the modeling world is one that continues to rage on and will continue to do so for many years. The fashion industry believes in continuing the age old tradition of using tall models for everything from editorial work to runway shows.

For those who think the opposite, their favorite example to use is Kate Moss. Okay, we all know that Kate is the icon when it comes to short models. Whether you believe she's really 5'5" or 5'6" or 5'7", it goes without saying that she is definitely one of the lucky gals.

Why another has yet to come right on her heels to be the next exception to the rule is beyond me. I guess Kate Moss is the prime example of being at the right place at the right time. Will another eventually appear in the next few years? Even I can't attempt to answer that one.

In addition to providing Kate Moss as a reason why shorter models should be used in fashion, many other people are also quick to point out celebrities who have been used in everything from marketing campaigns to fashion shows.

Christina Aguilera, Scarlett Johansson, and Beyonce are just a small handful of shorter gals (most of them are between 5'1"-5'6") who are used to prove this point. But as much as I agree with the fact that the fashion industry needs to include shorter models as well as the taller ones, I have to be a jerk and point out a flaw in using such individuals as proof to the cause.

If it hasn't already become apparently obvious to you, these same celebrities are not models. They are not booking these huge campaigns and appearing on the runways because they are signed models who worked their way up or who were discovered and became "it" models overnight. They are there because of their celebrity status--not to prove that shorter models belong on the runway.

As much as the fashion industry is in love with tall models, they are not stupid. They won't hesitate to put a short celebrity on the runway or in an ad campaign because they know their face, name and celeb status will sell the product. And in the end, that's what this industry is all about: selling the product, brand, company, etc. to make money. That's what it all boils down to.

Am I glad to see the shorter celebs pursue these avenues? Of course! But I don't find it very accurate to turn to those particular cases to argue why the height for runway and editorial models should be more open. Kate Moss is so far the only legit example I am aware of that would apply to the debate.

Of course, there is also Devon Aoki, whose height is still being debated. Sources close to her say she is actually 5'4", while her agency at the time listed her as 5'5"-5'6". Who knows? But then again, she is a rare exception to the rule because Kate Moss was her mentor. You could be 4'11" but if you know Kate Moss, she could get you on any runway with the biggest designers.

So what's the point of this post? All I'm saying is that while it would be wonderful to see all heights represented in fashion and runway, we still have a long way to go. Don't confuse the success of an actress or singer in a modeling campaign and think that they are representing shorter models. These women are not models and were solely selected because of their star power.

It's great that there are exceptions to the rule but it's going to take more than that to make new rules. Definitely don't let the height barrier stop you but just realize that what happened to Kate and Devon has only happened in the past few years and no one has yet to join their ranks. That speaks volumes about the odds of one of us "shorties" making the runway cut.

I hope I see the day when models under 5'8" will grace the runway or when petite modeling gets the attention and recognition it deserves. Until then, we've got to make do with what we have and hope that there are a few more Kate Mosses hanging around to change the industry once again.


Anonymous said...

Kate Moss was not the only one. There are plenty more. Latisha Casta, and Yamalia Diaz (sp) are also five seven and they were both extremely successful models. Latisha even had a L'oreal Campaign, I know this because I saw her in a magazine representing their product a few times, and I think Yamalia had a contract, I am not sure but I do know she was with VS too.
She has also done plenty of catalog work. There are a few more, but you must be outstanding (to the fashion industry) in order to get away with height. There was also an Asian model who was discovered by I think it was Calvin Klein (I don't remember) and she was on a number of his campaigns. Its still a few. I don't really count ANTM girls because... I just don't lol. What I do know is there aren't enough shorter girls. The Asian woman was discovered by a designer so that took care of the reason for that. I think lauren Hutton from back then was only 5'7 too, and Twiggy was 5'6. I like different.

Well the thing about the fashion industry. They think that clothing looks better on taller people. I am tall but I disagree, greatly. I think clothing looks better on anyone as long as it fits their shape size, and they are wearing something according to their body. They must know how to dress.
But hey we are talking about an the Fashion Industry. They love rail thin UNHEALTHY looking models. They are extremely underweight. Apparently if they like girls with bones coming out of their hips its obvious they don't have their screws on tight. So we can't really expect this industry to get off the height crap. They have enough psychological problems already. LOL Get what I mean?

Anonymous said...

Oh and I heard that Devon Aoki has rich parents thats why she is an exception. I heard this, don't know if it was true. I am pretty sure you know who made that comment.

Anonymous said...

I think if you are shorter, you have to be EVEN thinner to create the same long leggy lines that the designers covet. For shorter girls to walk the runway would almost require an eating disorder.