I dreamed I made an iconic ad in my Maiden­form bra

The Sunday Post (Inverness) - - NEWS -

This land­mark ad from 1963 was hailed by in­dus­try ex­perts as a wa­ter­shed in how women were sold their un­der­wear. Run­ning first in the pages of Life mag­a­zine, The im­age of a glamorous woman ca­su­ally shooting pool in her bra was cre­ated by Man­hat­tan copy­writer Kitty D’alessio, who would later be­come pres­i­dent of Chanel and was one of a se­ries of ad­verts in Maiden­form’s “I Dreamed” cam­paign. The cam­paign – show­ing women in their Maiden­form bra, break­ing sex­ual stereo­types – was so suc­cess­ful it ran for 20 years. In­dus­try ex­pert Bob Hoff­man said: “It was a silly con­cept – silly and mildly scan­dalous. The silli­ness

was for­given by the ‘dream’ con­trivance. The scan­dalous­ness was a lit­tle more sub­tle. It wasn’t the first time Amer­ica saw a model in a bra – but it may have been the first time we saw a model in a bra in a so­cial sit­u­a­tion. What made the cam­paign so pow­er­ful was ex­actly this jux­ta­po­si­tion of

in­con­gruities.” curvier, too. The aver­age woman in the UK now wears a size 16 in cloth­ing and has a 34-inch waist – six decades ago, she wore a size 12 and mea­sured just 28 inches.

Icons of the 1950s, such as Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe, who were con­sid­ered beau­ti­ful for their curves, now rep­re­sent a more ac­cu­rate size and shape for women, and the fash­ion in­dus­try has seen de­mand grow for more in­clu­sive cloth­ing as we have be­come big­ger.

A 2017 re­port from PWC found the UK’S plus-size mar­ket is now worth an es­ti­mated £6.6 bil­lion, and is out­per­form­ing the over­all wom­enswear and menswear cloth­ing mar­ket.

In the next five years, it is also pre­dicted to grow by a fur­ther 5% to 6%.

While brands and de­sign­ers still have a long way to go, Dr Sue Thomas, as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor in fash­ion at He­riot-watt Univer­sity, be­lieves the in­dus­try is chang­ing.

She said: “When you look back at peo­ple like Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe, she was very much con­sid­ered a sexy woman.

“But in ti­tles like Vogue, you would still see mod­els like Twiggy. So, fash­ion and re­al­ity haven’t al­ways nec­es­sar­ily over­lapped – there has al­ways been the idolised ver­sion.

“Now peo­ple are de­sign­ing with a bet­ter so­cial com­pre­hen­sion. Within the in­dus­try there has been sev­eral moves about mak­ing siz­ing more ac­cu­rate and more real­is­tic – whether or not it’s been na­tion­wide or even univer­sal is an­other mat­ter.”

So­cial me­dia has played a large part in en­cour­ag­ing de­sign­ers to change their siz­ing. On In­sta­gram #Bodypos­i­tive ap­pears on 7.5 mil­lion posts and #Plussizefash­ion has been used

4.8 mil­lion times.

Dr Thomas said: “There’s now a grow­ing sen­si­tiv­ity to creat­ing stan­dard­ised sizes, and so­cial me­dia has def­i­nitely played a part in this, es­pe­cially through body pos­i­tivism. There are a lot of in­flu­encers who are all about the body pos­i­tive mes­sage as op­posed to nam­ing and shaming. “How quickly and well or­gan­ised the in­dus­try is at recog­nis­ing this varies.”

She added: “Peo­ple want to wear fash­ion­able cloth­ing no mat­ter their size or age – they want the red car­pet look. If they see a striking dress on their per­sonal icon, they want to look like them.

“And so there is a mar­ket for mak­ing ‘event and oc­ca­sion’ cloth­ing in all sizes. If some­one wants to wear it, that should be an op­tion.”

Iconic Maiden­form ads from 1963, left, and 1961, above

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