1950s Vogue Model

Lesley is a 75 year old from Wilmslow, Cheshire and a previous Vogue model. I wanted to interview Lesley to gain a perspective of how the model industry used to be run, what size the models had to be and whether they were under the same pressure constraints as today’s counterparts.

Lesley commented that when she was a model in the 50s they ‘were a standard size 12 and never as thin as they are nowadays.’ Obviously a size 12 then is most probably different to a size 12 today, but it is a much more realistic figure than a 0.

The models of this time were naturally thin, they ate, did exercise and didn’t snack on chocolate and MacDonalds like today’s society. The dieting and anorexia issue’s didn’t seem to take place, Lesley only knew of one girl ‘who was always on a diet, she used to diet a lot, she just didn’t eat.’

At this time models were used to purely show off the clothes, they were ‘glorified coat-hangers’, ‘you shouldn’t be conscious of yourself, you should be conscious of what you are showing and showing it to the best advantage’ Lesley quoted. It seems today that a models job description has wavered, as I don’t believe they do their best to show off the clothes – yes, obviously they want more jobs, but I think that a lot of the models try and sell themselves, make everyone think they’re beautiful and the most important thing – not vice versa. It would be nice if we could go back to the idea, when the clothes were the most important thing and the only aspect in need of marketing!

Back then, Lesley spoke about how the model and fashion industry was a very ‘snobby’ one, all the top models married off to wealthy partners and if you worked at Vogue and Harper’s Bazar, you didn’t work for the other magazines such as Women’s Own etc. This may be an aspect that has improved in the industry’s old age but it is now a fact that the size debate was never as bad as it is today!

I hope the future holds a revival of this style of modelling, maybe not the snobby attitude but at least the idea that models are there to market clothes, look good and market them to society. Not sell themselves in the process – if they’re good at their job that will come naturally!

Pictures will follow….


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