Over the past year, there has been a lot of controversy in fashion regarding the incredibly thin bodies of contemporary models, and the unattainable (and perhaps unhealthy) body image designers promote. I find it interesting that this is only now an issue; if one looks back through time, artists have always embraced an ideal body that few women actually possess. From the chubby, voluptuous females painted by Francois Boucher in the eighteenth century, to the hourglass corsets of the late nineteenth century, to the tall and thin glamazons of the 1930s, art and fashion have always manipulated the female body to create a perfect image that has no foundation in reality.
This tendancy of fashion and art manipulating the body is not necessarily a bad thing; I believe it simply goes hand in hand with the search for beauty. Every era has its ideal, and right now our cultural ideal seems to be a youthful, androgynous, ultra-thin form. It makes sense if you look at the clothing that is in style right now- fashion seems to be obsessed with a combination of both hard-edged menswear inspired styles, and a reinterpretation of the 1920s tubular garconne silhouette. The styles designers promote demand a skinny frame, but as fashion is constantly changing and reinventing itself it is unlikely that this ideal will be with us forever. The world of fashion, art, and beauty is far to fickle to be satisfied with one fantasy for too long.