How stout women were left out of high fashion: An early twentieth-century perspective | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 5, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2050-0726
  • E-ISSN: 2050-0734



Karl Lagerfeld, head designer and creative director of Chanel, made headlines in 2013 when he made comments against fat women on the French television show Le Grand 8 by saying ‘no one wants to see curvy women on the runway’. Excluding plus-size women from high fashion has occurred since the infancy of stoutwear manufacturing (an earlier term used for plus-size) near the start of the twentieth century. It is important to note that stoutwear manufacturers created ready-towear designs for middle-class women, but designers did not make or promote highfashion designs in vast quantities for upper-class women. Stout society women and couture clients were certainly consuming high fashion, but high-fashion advertising, commentary and editorials were not inclusive of stout women. In fact, many high-fashion designers stressed the importance and need to be slender. This article uses primary sources from Vogue, Women’s Wear Daily, Good Housekeeping and Harper’s Bazaar to analyse the commentary during the introduction and emergence of women’s ready-to-wear and the exclusion of high fashion for stout women by designers.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): high fashion; Lane Bryant; obesity; plus-sized; ready-to-wear; stout
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