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Plus-size models go mainstream: how 2014 saw a touch of reality on the catwalks


Candice Huffine

Candice Huffine


Candice Huffine

The fashion world has always attracted its fair share of controversy, but in 2014 it was the "plus-size" label that got us talking.

This year has seen the industry becoming more open to a diverse variety of body shapes, but there's also been criticism of body image portrayal.

It's been a great year for models with the emergence of a new crop of curvier girls starring in ad campaigns and editorial shoots.

Candice Huffine, Ashley Graham and Myla Dalbesio are just a few models who have racked up appearances this year.

Candice Huffine was the first model plus-size model to be featured in the legendary Pirelli calendar, she appeared alongside iconic models such as Adriana Lima, Raquel Zimmermann and Karen Elson.

In October, model Ashley Graham launched her own line of lingerie for retailer Navabi, especially created for women with larger busts.


#Fatkini was the hashtag trending over the summer which saw women of all shapes and sizes taking to social media to upload positive images.

Myla Dalbesio hit headlines last month when she was described as plus-size in an interview, but her inclusion in the new Calvin Klein lingerie campaign with no mention of her size is ultimately an industry success.

In a celebrated shoot Vogue published a lingerie story featuring women 'of all shapes and sizes'. The shoot featured Candice Huffine, Ashley Graham, Marquita Pring, Tara Lynn and Inga Eiriksdottir.

2014 also saw the launch of UK's first plus-size fashion magazine Slink, which hit newsstands in November attempting to fill a gap in the market for an inspirational publication for curvier woman.

However, it is The Pirelli Calendar girl Candice Huffine, who stars alongside 11 other supermodels, clad in latex for a fetish-themed shoot styled by Carine Roitfeld and photographed by Steven Meisel, who might become one of the faces of 2015.

The 30-year-old American model has been on the rise in recent years with appearances on publications like Vogue Italia and V Magazine, and campaigns for department stores such as Marks and Spencer and Nordstrom.

Now she's made her debut as the first official plus-size model to be featured in the calendar. She said: "Pirelli is an exciting piece of art in fashion that comes out only once a year. I've always looked up to it, not to actually be part of it but to stand among these incredible women.

"It was the ultimate experience for me… I couldn't have thought of a better first time for Pirelli for me."

Regardless, Huffine says of her size 16 figure, that it's never been a "thing". "The idea of my size or weight has never come up in the casting process or even the thought process."

To which British supermodel and musician Karen Elson (Miss September - 35) added: "This calendar is about women being women. We're all very different women here. I'm 35, almost 36, two children... It's a celebration of women, not necessarily about their size because we all come in a lot of shapes and sizes."

The 12 models vary in age, nationality, experience, shape and lifestyle. In order of the months they feature, they are: Adriana Lima (left), Natalia Vodianova, Joan Smalls, Candice Huffine, Carolyn Murphy, Anna Ewers, Cameron Russell, Sasha Luss, Karen Elson (far left, inset), Isabeli Fontana, Gigi Hadid and Raquel Zimmerman.

The celebrated fashion photographer Meisel brought together an impressive roster of supermodels in this year's calendar which is titled Calendar Girls 2015.


The shoot is styled by Roitfeld, who is former editor of Vogue Paris and founder of CR Fashion Book, with makeup by renowned makeup artist Pat McGrath.

Launched in 1964, Pirelli Calendar 2015 is the 42th edition, which was the first experience to many of those taking part in it and in which photographer Meisel joins the likes of Richard Avedon, Mario Testino, Nick Knight, Bruce Weber, Patrick Demarchelier and Annie Leibovitz.

>Emma Akbareian and Linda Sharkey