What do breast cancer survivors, pregnant women, plus size models, female skateboarders, dominatrices and burlesque artists have in common? They made up the diverse ensemble of models for this weekend’s Lingerie Fashion Week, celebrating the beauty in every body type.
Last week saw a massive backlash against Victoria’s Secret, after the company released a line of bras marketed as the “Perfect Body”–juxtaposed against images of women with the same extremely slender body type, airbrushed into gleaming impossibility. A campaign on change.org generated over 27,000 signatures before the slogan was quietly altered today to read, “A Body for Every Body.” The hashtag #iamperfect began trending as thousands of women reminded the company that there truly is no such thing as a “perfect body.”
The women at Lingerie Fashion Week think so too, as founder Lauren Rich states in a recent press release, “Lingerie is not one-size-fits-all, and neither are the women who wear it–on, and off, the runway.”
There’s a palpable sense of joy in the photos released from the runway, and the spectrum of creative inspiration–as well as diversity of body types–felt wildly playful and fun. Think Fifth Element-inspired “pregnant-models-turned-fembot warriors,” a BDSM-inspired line featuring dominatrices and bondage props, and a beautifully androgynous line from gender-neutral designers Play Out. And even “an extreme sports performance” by All Girl Skate Jam, a skateboarding brand whose mission is to encourage women’s participation in the male-dominated skateboard industry.
The event also managed to inspire for a good cause. On the final day of Fashion Week, the models proudly beaming from the runway were either breast cancer survivors or women currently battling the disease… with a portion of the ticket sales supporting the PinkChoseMe Foundation, dedicated to empowering the lives of women with breast cancer.
In a culture that often seems to celebrate only the young and “traditionally beautiful,” kudos are due to the event’s organizers for showcasing a spectrum of women of all shapes, colors, sizes, and ages–and, importantly, without skinny-shaming. Competitors, take notice: this is what body positivity looks like, and it looks incredibly beautiful.