“Fashion Plus”: Pose and the Plus-Size Body in Vogue, 1986–1988 | Fashion Theory – FDSC
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“Fashion Plus”: Pose and the Plus-Size Body in Vogue, 1986–1988 | Fashion Theory

“Fashion Plus”: Pose and the Plus-Size Body in Vogue, 1986–1988 | Fashion Theory

Written by Lauren Downing Peters for Fashion Theory
Volume 21 (Issue 2), March 2017, pg. 175–199

Between 1986 and 1988, American Vogue ran a series of advertorials entitled “Fashion Plus.” Documenting the mid-1980s explosion of designer-led plus-size fashion, the series offers a rare glimpse into an overlooked moment in the history of large-size dress; however, it also stands as a singular foray into plus-size fashion for Vogue—a periodical that marginalizes representations of non-normative bodies.

While its mere inclusion within the pages of Vogueis historically significant, this article will shift its focus by examining the crucial role poseplayed in the advertorial’s postmodern “refashioning” of the fat female body. While interrogating the concept of fashioning as a process that occurs at the intersection of text, image, body and garment, this article also considers how an embodied vernacular of fashion posing transformed the fat female body, making it “fit” for the pages of Vogue.

Indeed, by striking identifiably “modelesque” poses, the models of “Fashion Plus” upset deeply entrenched norms of imaging the fat female body, while widening Vogue’s notoriously narrow definition of beauty. Framing the plus-size body as a product of postmodern notions of identity construction, this article also reflects upon the relationship between dress, discourse and the fleshy body in the construction of identity.

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