Curves are back


The landing by Daisy 'curvy-for-a-model' Lowe of a big spring-summer campaign is evidence of a shift back to a healthier model physique

A NEW SEASON means new styles in the glossy world of international fashion. And this season Brit girl Daisy Lowe is having what the industry calls a moment.

Why, you ask? Lowe, known on fashion blogs as "curvy-for-a-model" Daisy, is front-page news, having secured the spring-summer Marc by Marc Jacobs campaign, which is being shot by Steven Meisel.

The glossy brunette is luscious-looking and - shock, horror - has breasts. According to her stats, Daisy Lowe has a 25in waist and 35in hips.

On planet fashion, this new model physique is front-page news. But this celebration of curves is more about her lustre than her vital statistics. Lowe looks as rich as a gourmet meal and as well groomed as any of the racehorses at Coolmore Stud.

"The present 'curvy girl' mood has more to do with current trends for tailoring and the accenting of the waist and grooming," explains Rebecca Morgan of Morgan The Agency. "It has very little to do with actual body shape."

She has a point. Some of the hype is pure optics. This season the designers need a physique with form, something on which to hang the structured tailoring and architectural shoulders of their looks. The silhouette is simply too strong for a size zero to carry. It's a look that needs personality, too, something Lowe seems to have in spades.

She's not alone. Irish models too are in expansive form. "Mixing of races and more intercultural breeding has changed the overall shape of the model pool," observes Morgan. "Girls are getting taller and models now have boobs. Better nutrition also plays a part."

"Their feet are getting longer and their hips narrower," adds Julian Fallon of 1st Option Models.

This year's international Ford Models Supermodel Search saw 15 Irish female finalists compete for a lucrative contract and a trip to New york. They included the wide-eyed Leaving Cert student Aisling Finnegan, from Rathcoole. She's 18, a brunette and a curvy-for-a-model size 11. "I never thought I had the physique for this industry," she admits. "I think I'm very versatile but couture and runway is very limited. Runway girls are sizes six to eight."

Katie Ford, chief executive of Ford Models and the main judge of the competition, was also in situ. Several years ago Ford told me that Irish models were curvy but for all the wrong reasons. She said they were unconditioned, that they didn't exercise and they drank too much beer. "This time around there were more girls who look like they exercised," she notes.

"I think there's a mix of body shapes, some very thin, some fuller, like the Supermodels were," she continues. Naomi and all the others are designer size, which is a UK size six.

Model-turned-writer Sophie Dahl was one-time a unique thing in fashion, a plus-size girl who could work in the mainstream. Then she lost weight and with the shedding of pounds she lost her unique selling point. "No one twisted her arm," says Morgan. "But it's difficult to stay big when you get big press-wise," she says.

"What's big right now is a very rich and luscious look," says Katie Ford. And Daisy Lowe epitomises that, with her cat-that-got-the-cream lushness - low-fat cream of course.

But fashion is fickle so don't start tucking into the Maltesers bucket just yet. "The economic situation is going to change that mood," Ford says.