Calvin Klein has chosen a model with a healthy figure to be part of the brand's new "Perfectly Fit" underwear campaign. Let's say it all together now: Finally.
However, there has been controversy surrounding the terminology used to describe Myla Dalbesio's first campaign for the brand's iconic underwear line. While Dalbesio may be classified as "plus-size" in the wider fashion community, she's really a healthy—and average in the U.S.—size 10.
Critics took to social media to decry the use of "plus-size" when referring to Dalbesio, which, as noted by New York Times' writer Vanessa Friedman, the brand never did. A Calvin Klein spokesperson released a statement following the controversy, explaining that the line caters to "the needs of different women" and was intended to be "more inclusive."
"It's kind of confusing because I'm a bigger girl," Dalbesio told Elle in a recent interview that may have initiated the strong reaction. "I'm not the biggest girl on the market but I'm definitely bigger than all the girls [Calvin Klein] has ever worked with, so that is really intimidating."
Dalbesio added there were no size-related divisions made during the photo-shoot or visually in the actual campaign.
"[Calvin Klein] released me in this campaign with everyone else; there's no distinction. It's not a separate section for plus-size girls," she said.
Dalbesio's inclusion in the "Perfectly Fit" promotion is a decided turn for the brand, whose previous campaigns have featured the super-slim figures of Kate Moss, Natalia Vodianova and Christy Turlington. Supermodels Lara Stone and Jourdan Dunn are also featured in the "Perfectly Fit" campaign.
Back in 2010, the fashion industry went through a fleeting phase when models of varying sizes were used more frequently in high fashion campaigns and sent down runways of major fashion houses. Dalbesio noted that particular moment—one in which model Crystal Renn fronted a campaign for Chanel—as a missed turning point for the industry.
Fortunately, the tides seem to be changing again. Women have been blowing the whistle on major retailers for promoting unhealthy body ideals, including a recent outcry against Victoria's Secret for a model-laden "Perfect Body" promotion. (The lingerie giant discreetly changed the tagline on its website following the backlash.) Topshop also came under fire on social media for featuring ultra-thin mannequins in its stores.
Dalbesio, who reportedly overcame a period of Adderall abuse and crash dieting, now fully embraces her natural figure. And it may be that confidence that is landing her significant campaigns.
Myla has released a statement describing the recent dialogue regarding her participation in the campaign as a welcome one.
"I love that by opening this discussion, I can also (hopefully) open some doors for other models, friends of mine, that have always straddled the line between straight size and plus. True body diversity doesn't mean only sizes 0's and 2's then jumping to size 16 and up. There is a middle ground," she said.
Her full statement is available at Elle.