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The non-controversy over Calvin Klein's "plus-sized" model

Are we being too sensitive to Calvin Klein's new underwear campaign?

By Jamie Khoo | Published: 11 Nov 2014

Is this a big deal?
Photo: Calvin Klein

While we at ELLE are always ready to question brands who perpetuate unrealistic body standards, the latest furore over the issue may have more to do with the public being too eager to get their knickers in a twist before knowing all the facts.

Calvin Klein's new "Perfectly Fit" underwear ads feature model Myla Dalbesio, who has described herself as "bigger" than the campaign's other models, Lara Stone, Jourdan Dunn and Ji Hye Park.

But that wasn't the problem.

The storm started when, in an interview with Myla last week, ELLE US brought up the fact that "Dalbesio [is] what the fashion industry would – still, surprisingly – call 'plus size.'"

But read on and you'll see that Myla responds directly to the issue by saying, "It’s not like [Calvin Klein] released this campaign and were like ‘Whoa, look, there’s this plus-size girl in our campaign.’ They released me in this campaign with everyone else; there’s no distinction. It’s not a separate section for plus size girls.”

But things blew up on the internet anyway, with angry tweets being fired off at Calvin Klein misinformedly berating them for labelling the size-10 model plus-sized.

As Myla pointed out, Calvin Klein didn't create the campaign as a comment on plus-sized bodies. Rather, a spokesperson from the brand has said in a statement: "The Perfectly Fit line was created to celebrate and cater to the needs of different women, and these images are intended to communicate that our new line is more inclusive and available in several silhouettes in an extensive range of sizes."

At the same time, Myla, who has battled fad diets and bulimia in the past, described the campaign as "such a great feeling." She said "no one even batted an eye" about her size during the shoot, but was focused on just taking a good shot.

This isn't the first time Myla's body has been discussed. She has also spoken about body image, modelling and beauty standards in other interviews, and participated in "The What's Underneath" project by StyleLikeU.

The moral of the story: read to the end of an article before morphing into a troll. If the haters had, they'd realise there was no furore to react to. Only a girl, in her underwear, learning to feel good about herself. Just like the rest of us.


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