Diversity has been — and will continue to be — a hot topic during Fashion Month. This past New York Fashion Week was groundbreaking in terms of body diversity: It was the first time 90 plus-size models were cast, though it's important to note that a majority of that figure includes shows for plus-specific lines Torrid and Addition Elle. Excluding those presentations, the number of plus-size models is just 34, with brands like Michael Kors, Prabal Gurung, and Anna Sui casting a variety of sizes to showcase their lines.
This same move towards inclusivity, however, isn't as prominent at other fashion weeks, like Milan or Paris. In Europe, sizeism is still a major issue; just last month, luxury conglomerates LVMH and Kering joined forces on a commitment to ban female models below size 34 (US size 2) on the runway. Last season, just two plus-size models walked the entirety of Paris Fashion Week, both for H&M. And while that number hasn't increased by that much since February, this past week saw a new designer join the move towards a more diverse runway.
On Monday, Alexander McQueen's cast included two plus-size models for the first time ever: Eline Lykke, a Norwegian newcomer, and Betsy Teske, a Dutch model and law student in Amsterdam, were, according to Vogue, chosen by McQueen’s casting director Jess Hallett; the decision “was all about sisterhood and celebrating femininity.”
Lykke shared her excitement on Instagram, writing: “Thank you so much @alexandermcqueen for having me in your show at Paris Fashion week!! I’m so grateful and happy! And thank you for changing the game for Curvy models!!” Teske was equally as thrilled; she posted a runway shot of herself with the caption: “So I just walked for Alexander McQueen. 😱Thanks so much to the amazing team! Loved working with you!!!”
Blogger Susie Bubble also expressed her gratitude for Sarah Burton’s choice to include models of different sizes: "When "bigger-than sample size" casting works so beautifully with the clothing," she wrote on Instagram. "Sarah Burton 's @alexandermcqueen garden thrills/frills on @betsyteske." With so few Paris-based brands considering size diversity (save for McQueen and Gypsy Sport, the other designers on the calendar featured straight-size models only), this decision will hopefully open the door for more high-end labels do to the same. Because really, what's the point of clothing if we can't all enjoy it?