If recent trends are an indication, the days of the waiflike supermodel are nearing an end. The recently concluded London fashion week was less notable for its clothes than for its use of more average-sized women walking down the catwalk. The London show witnessed Karl Lagerfield - who once infamously croaked that "no one wants to see fat women"- crooning the praises of Lara Stone, a stunning UK size 8, which is close to the heavyweight division of the fashion world.
More and more, the stars of the catwalk and magazine spreads are women with curves. From an aesthetic point of view, the models look healthier. Yet, for some, this is considered a travesty. When most people think of beauty, they think of Venus de Milo, not those hollow-eyed women in magazine ads who appear to be crying out for a home-cooked meal. But haute couture has never been about the model; it's about creating illusions that compel women to buy into the world of high fashion, as Mr Lagerfeld has said. As the houses of couture grapple with the economic downturn, and try to generate revenue rather than fantasy, more designers might ground themselves in this new reality.