Fashion is not just surface allure. To really create an impact it requires mood, depth and a sense of narrative.
Dawn and Helen agreed to do a film about big women with the South Bank Show in 1994 – directed by Margy Kinmouth. The film was intended to be a celebration of big women given their invisibility in modern media and was presented by Dawn.
Dawn: “There’s a long sequence where they’re photographing some large women to recreate old paintings, and the photographer is talking about why, perhaps, women used to be larger and now they’re not, and although he’s clearly trying to sound positive and inclusive, almost every word and every piece of body language seems to scream “why am I here having to look at these fatties?” He’s pretty awful, but I suppose he spends all of his time with skinny models, so he’s just not used to being with regular women.”
“Every photoshoot that they arrange, the photographer chooses to do a parody of the old masters. It’s almost as if they can’t imagine a large woman in any other situation than a bygone era. And when you hear the editorial team from Esquire magazine talking about the pictures, it’s frankly revolting. “Can you imagine going to bed with her?” Long pause. They talk about large women as if they are somehow a whole different, exotic species.”
Dawn preps for the Rubans re-construction above – and a still from the South Bank Show below.
Dawn in Esquire Magazine 1994 for the South Bank Show in another reconstruction of an Old Master. Doesn’t look too pleased does she?