6 Jun

I came across this interesting article stating why Black models aren’t popular on the runway.PLEASE! Don’t shot the messenger…. this is the “the reason” why we don’t see that many black models on the runway.

This comment was made by Stefano Pilati, Creative Director of Yves Saint Laurent:

“In the ’70s, to have black models in Paris and Europe was sort of a message of having an open mind,” Pilati says. “We were definitely less used to races crossing lines. It was definitely something coming from America.”
Saint Laurent “was very sensitive to that. It was helping to add exoticism to the collection and to embrace the multicultural aspect of the work.”

Why aren’t there more black models working today? “To me, it is a matter of proportions and the bodies I choose. My fit model was a black model,” he says. “When I wanted to translate what I put on her, it was a disaster. It would need 13 times more work in the atelier to modify it to put on a more Caucasian anatomy.

“Sometimes, it’s not your choice. You can’t find “black models” that are beautiful and with the right proportions. I prefer them with lean proportions with no big hips.”

When I began to read this article it really pissed me off the way he says thing portioning to a “black women” anatomy is hurtful and tasteless. This is a reason why I focus so much on plus size fashion because no one else seems to care. Now black women with hips aren’t able to walk on the runway because we make your job a little bit more difficult …. so what,that’s your job….. And it’s a damn shame that the creative designer of Yves Saint Laurent is stating this deragoratory statement. I could go on for day about this. Let me know if you agree with it statement or it’s just a bunch of bull!!!

Truly Curvaceous



  1. monika June 6, 2007 at 3:28 pm #

    well it is kind deragoratory, but i i agree with his statement. black women do have big hips, and very perky butts(lol!). that’s not common in other races and designers have to make their clothes fit everyone…

  2. Seraphine June 6, 2007 at 5:14 pm #

    It isn’t the fashion model that has the flaw, it’s the fashion house.

  3. Terry June 6, 2007 at 6:36 pm #

    Whoever made the first comment must be a skinny chick that has no body. It’s not right when I see a runway show I want to see someone that look like me. Not a stick walking with clothes. Clothes are suppose fit and look good not hang off of you. And black women aren’t the only with hips and butts what about hispanic chicks. The fashion industry is full of SHIT!!!! Thanks for the great post!!!

    Terry J

  4. Frasypoo June 6, 2007 at 10:10 pm #

    That was nonsense!
    I realise that curves would be a problem but who are they designing for ?A hangar ?What about the Ethiopian model(is she Ethiopian?)Alek Wek …. or Iman,Naomi Campbell there are so many women who are Black and are successful models so I would say it is color related rather than size.
    Also hoping you would do a post on Velvet d’Amour.

  5. trulycurvaceous June 6, 2007 at 10:51 pm #

    I totally agree with you Frasypoo and Seraphine. I really don’t think size has anything to do with it .. it’s more about the color. Beautiful women come in all different sizes and shapes.

    From experience, in school when I was doing my final collection there was only 1 size 12 dress form. But there was a ton size 4-8. You are taught that being skinny = fashion. That’s why the models are sooo skinny, the reasoning for that is the models are suppose to be like “hangers”. The clothes are what are important. And I think that’s crap, it just an excuse. Yes, I agree that the clothes are important but the person in it is what we see. And if that person we see isn’t what we see when you walking down the street, then it’s fantasy it’s no longer reality,

    I will definitely do some research on Velvet d’ Amour and write something about it.. Thanks for the comments

    Truly Curvaceous 🙂

  6. Dope!!! June 7, 2007 at 2:06 am #

    You know… times like this is what makes it hard for me. I read this article and I was outraged. I believe everyone has the right to their opinion but why would anyone single out a specific race to idemnify the underlying racism that is in the fashion industry? It is this exact reason why women have insecurity no matter what they look like. If they’re skinny they’re not skinny enough and if they are thick, they see themselves are enormous. If women loved themselves enough to demand more the industry would have no choice but to change! Great post… it is so refreshing to see beautiful, confident, women who love themselves and don’t let the “industry” define who they are and how they should look!


  7. sharife June 15, 2007 at 9:51 pm #

    first of all, tom ford was a better fit for ysl than this latest designer is,creatively
    i girls rule!,alright!,trace magazine
    doesn’t put out the issue year after year for nothing.just like white models black models
    come in different shapes and sizes as well,
    it depends on who the model has to cater to.let me
    also add that there are alot of white women who can’t model couture because their proportions are to big,for example there is a very succesful white
    model named angella lindval who does well in nyc
    doing sportswear ect.,but she does not get booked to do couture,however there is this black woman from philly who has been modeling since the mid 90’s, her name is debrah shaw and she almost does nothing but “high-end” elegant couture in paris,and some say that to be that size is natural for her.often times when it comes to
    european fashion the requirements are so extreme,
    alot of those girls go below there natural body weight in order to become a size “0” just to fit those runway samples.
    there are so many bad ass black girls that have
    torn up the runways in all fashion capitals,including the past and present.
    you have iman of coarse,alek wek,jessica white,
    clara benjamin,jaunell,nadine,saleta ebanks.
    fashion is a racist buisness,that’s the sad truth.
    we as black people don’t realize that when we
    spend big money on those labels,it doesn’t mean
    that the designers are going to pay tribute to
    it’s black clientele by booking black models
    for the runways or or not we spend money,it’s there feeling that they will always have there white consumer and for the most part that’s who they fill as though they need to pay homage too.i once heard an editor from essence magazine say in an interviewe that we need
    to create our own avenues,and i agree.


  8. sharife June 19, 2007 at 6:27 pm #

    in response to a forum on entitled
    “race and the runway”,i have to say this,i feel
    very passionately as alot of people do in feeling
    that the fashion industry is is very
    important though to be specific in pointing
    out where the problems lie.while their are several designers who don’t book black girls
    and various other groups,at the same time
    you have some designers who do pay homage to
    the diverse world that we live in and it’s
    clientele.ralph lauren for example,i have nothing bad to say about him,he has represented the entire
    rainbow at one point or another in both his campaigns and his runway presentations.on the
    other hand you have labels such as jil sanders,
    prada,lanvin,balenciaga, who have have not once
    put a black girl on the’s important for us to be specific in what we say so that the argument is valid, and not just rambling or only
    one’s opinion but rather a statement that holds
    alot of don’t get me wrong black girls have come a very long way in this industry as far as commercial print adds are concerned,besides that where the big money is.revlon,cover girl
    maybeline,nars,and recently estee’ lauder,macy’s,
    banana republic,nautica,the gap,these advertisers
    are giving a nod to is my observvation and probably others that the problem
    and lack of diversity lies in the runway presentations and hip cool editorials such as
    10,numero’,34,sometimes italian vogue,oyster,flair.there are some very influential
    black people within the industry who could probably make a difference such as make-up artist
    pat mcgrath,fashion editor andre leon talley,and
    robin ghivan from the washington post whom by the way has spoken out about the issue and has conducted some interviews that sparked some controversy,but change doesn’t happen i have said before and will say it again,black people and people of various other groups,spend your money where you are being do anything other than that would
    present that we are just dumb or blind to what’s
    in front of us.

  9. km July 1, 2007 at 4:58 am #

    sad as it is, designers do have requirements for the sizes/proportions of the models, and although personally i dont agree with this itself, i dont think that Stefano pilati was making a direct shot at black models/woman in particular, just stating that due to genetic predispositions, black women tend to be “curvier,”. he was making these comments as an observation, not saying he wouldnt put a black woman in his shows even if she was of the right proportions.

  10. sharife July 5, 2007 at 8:05 pm #

    hi km,my views are not directed specifically
    only to stefano pilati, but rather to the
    entire fashion/marketing industry on a grand
    scale.just like any other industry, you cant’
    deny that fashion has prejudice as well.look
    at the numbers on the the number
    of european/causasian models to the number of
    other groups,the numbers are typically like
    20 white girls and 1 or 2 girls of color.i only
    mean this typically,because for example i just
    watched a recent runway show from heatherette,
    i think it was either spring o7 or fall 07,
    but the point is i saw about 4 different black girls come down the runway,and i said y’all
    rock.we need diversity.i don’t want to
    stay on the ugly topic of prejudice for to long
    about an otherwise beautiful industry.i mean
    obviously we all dig fashion, or else no one
    would be hear blogging.tell me km, what’s your
    perspective on fashion and the you
    dig fashion photography? personally i like
    thierry le goues,and steven meisel’s work,
    they are both very romantic and thought provoking.

  11. nyprdiva August 4, 2007 at 2:10 am #

    I remember reading this a while back. Are we really the ones who are flawed or is it an industry who chooses to look through cracked rose colored glasses?

  12. ricky September 7, 2007 at 8:11 am #

    the target market matters more than the models themselves. when i buy a clothe i would like to see myself in it looking fabulous not reminded of the fact that am skinny. I mean that is the reason some of these models turn anorexic.

  13. Brownbaby September 13, 2007 at 9:10 pm #

    Stumbled on this article today and again I find myself frustrated and angry about the perception of beauty. Black women are beautiful and the message continues to be that we are not….and yet the size of our lips, hips and butt is sought out through cosmetic surgery. One poster stated that we should become more knowledgable about designers that use women of color to model that products and spend our dollars accordingly. I agree! I have never been driven by trends, but do appreciate well designed clothing, I have always attempted to spend dollars with those that support diversity. The Ebony Fashion Fair is a wonderful example of beautiful Black models, wearing high fashion, hips and all…….Eunice W. Johnson of Johnson’s Publishing Co. Kicked down alot of doors to show that Black Women can be captivating on high fashion runways and in all forms of modeling.

  14. FallDeuces October 26, 2007 at 3:11 pm #

    Trust me…. Go to http://WWW.FALLDEUCES.BLOGSPOT.COM



  15. Acthpa November 9, 2007 at 2:53 pm #

    I found your article while browsing Google for Naomi Campbell and I think it’s really sad. I am Causasian (and I’m not specially the slimmer girl you can find) and I know a lot of black girls and I remember a discussion we had about the hips and butt. And Anta, my friend from Ivory Coast, mentioned how a woman was appreciated in her country because she had “curves”, curves that are completely different from the West fashion “curves”; those are non-existent. Yes, there are some beautiful black models, but their “curves” follow the white standard. When designers will decide that fashion includes “curves”, and they will come to that sooner or later, we will have more black women. Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT saying black women have big butt and hips. And to that guy in the article, there are millions of companies that offer millions of sizes and curves, so why doesn’t he shows the example, I don’t think time and money are the problem in his case…

  16. cangirl April 24, 2008 at 12:27 am #

    The fashion world, and its standards of beauty, are driven by homosexual men who are incapable of tolerating the slightest curve on woman. Unfortunately, these people set the standard of beauty and a lot of people and related industries (magazines, tv, advertising, film) buy into it. What people need to do is define their own ideas of beauty. To hell with what is dictated upon you.
    Ironically, I am a black woman with a very similar figure to your average runway model. There are some black women who are built this way naturally, Iman, Naomi Campbell etc. So for this “creative director” to complain about the hip vs. waist ratio in blacks is a cop out. It’s not a size issue, its a colour issue. They just don’t consider dark skin beautiful.
    So that’s two strikes against many black women: 1- dark skin, 2- curves. I’d bet anything our hair texture would be the next target of assault. We, as women, shouldn’t have to measure ourselves against any criteria, rules or standards of beauty but our own. To hell with the “creative directors” and the magazines! Black women be confident that you are beautiful because you are, just the way you were born.

  17. rantersparadise July 14, 2008 at 11:49 pm #

    So sad.

  18. lil mocca September 13, 2008 at 7:05 am #

    u ppl don’t know shit black ppl hav got curvs and buts but so hav other ppl of other
    skin colourAAAAAHHRG i’m gonna shit myself u designers r doin me head in y don’t just make it for all fuckin sizes .you’s are all stupid no wonder y ppl tend to not eat i’m tellin ya if victoria beckham dies or even kate moss(i don’t even like her) dies i’m gonna fuckin haunt ya n kill ya all ya fuckin shit pple… 4 all those ppl who r not so skinny n r readin show more dignity so ppl know wat ur made of

    p.s i love fat ppl so ther!!!!!!

  19. Datgtgurl September 26, 2008 at 6:26 pm #

    stick skinny is not cute you just look unhealthy what do they have to say about Heidi klum who has a nice figure which is a german woman with curves and a butt

  20. Aisha October 12, 2008 at 11:01 pm #

    The reason there are no black models in the fashion world is because fashion feeds the stigma that black women can not afford the self-proclaimed luxury of haute couture. There are plenty of black women who “fit their criteria” as to what beauty is, but fashion has never really catered to diversified beauty. They only want extremely emaciated Eastern European/Australian teenagers.

  21. Jasmine November 17, 2008 at 4:17 pm #

    Well how I see it is you have woman of every race that present different body types there are black woman tall and skinny short and skinny and white woman hispanic asian…….This is why I grew up with a freakin eatin disorder because of men like that that doesnt realise how there words hurt

  22. blunts December 2, 2008 at 4:06 pm #

    If the guy doesn’t want to do more work than he has to, I don’t blame him. Who wants to work harder to acheive the same result? Especially if your busy anyway, like the head of an enormous fashion company. Also, telling a designer to put clothes on a certain ethnicity would be like telling an artist to paint on a different media, like a canvas painter trying fresco. Its up to the artist to be an artist.
    People often misconstrue art and artists. An artist DOES NOT MAKE ART FOR CONSUMERS! They make it for themselves, if people like it enough to buy it then so be it, but I doubt that a painter makes a picture while wondering if it is “multi-consumer friendly”, or who will buy his art. They just care that they have that outlet and the FREEDOM (which is a hot issue with blacks, so you should understand better than some yuppie assed white bread) to make art the way THEY want it.
    Chew on that for a minute

  23. Manonymous December 5, 2008 at 2:43 am #

    Wow. I thought we were past all of this. Apparently I was mistaken.

  24. Indie December 26, 2008 at 12:28 am #

    I just wanted to throw numbers so that maybe people might look at it differently. I believe 13% of US population is black. So, statistically, it does make sense to see only 1 black model for every 10 models out there. I am by no means implying anything racist. I am East Indian and of color but math is one of my passions and I thought to look this matter up.

  25. AngryHonkey March 13, 2009 at 1:04 pm #

    Too wide hips?????? My furry white A$$!!!! Saddest excuse ever They are só inherently racist that they completely forget that the women who will be able buy their clothes are made up of at least 20 to 25% affluent BLACK(or asian, or whatever darker-than-white shade) women all over the world…… Those white-centric designers should take one good hard look in the mirror and ask themselfes if hanging on to their racist narrow-minded vision is worth losing a quarter of the market…(+ brilliant, lively colours and structures look much better on coloured women than on the andogynous scary-skinny shapeless way too young, eastern-european models)

  26. big and tall July 10, 2009 at 5:55 am #

    Very interesting ….

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