I follow fashion news as scrupulously as humanly possible for my job during the day, but every now and then, out of personal interest on an evening when there’s nothing good on Bravo, I do a Google News search for — get ready for what you know is coming — Kate Middleton. And in every recent search, one of the top subjects on the page is about — get ready for something else you know is coming — her weight. But of course: it’s the fusion of the most fascinating woman of the moment, the duchess, with one of the most fascinating topics of our time, female body issues. I’ve written extensively on both on the The Cut; the other day I started to think about how easy it is to forget that what is in fashion now — which is very, very thin — did not used to be in fashion at all!
Do you remember Cindy Crawford’s body?
A famous photo by an unknown photographer, 1990:
Or Helena Christensen:
And now, we have Freha Beja:
And Anja Rubik:
I want to emphasize I’m not calling any of these women out for being the “right” or “wrong” size, or to suggest that our modern-day supermodels are riddled with issues and eating disorders while the supermodels of the nineties were all healthy and issue-free. Evidently, each model’s incredible success in an incredibly tough business ought to show they were all the “right” size for the time. It fascinates me how the image of beauty has changed so much, and it saddens me that the bodies that were once the “most beautiful” have such a small place in fashion now. Now it’s either very thin or plus-size — you very seldom see Cindy Crawford in her flag bikini, or, in other words, that size somewhere in the middle.
Christensen recently said of her success in the nineties: “No one ever came up to me and said, ‘you need to reshape your body, to lose weight, or to be more outgoing, or less outgoing.’ We were just allowed to be us.” To bring this post back to where it all started, I hope Kate Middleton is just allowed to be her. I get that sense looking at her, but I also wonder if her apparent weight loss is a product of being super-stressed out, perhaps so much so that her appetite has simply dwindled, or that she’s just burning through all her calories faster than Katy Perry can find another terrifying use for a bedazzler. And that stress is probably a result of learning the new way of being her — the accepted royal way the palace is teaching her in princess camp, or whatever she’s going through. But I do hope she can just be her at the end of the day. All women deserve that.