Crystal Renn’s Face—Not Body—Stars In New Chanel Campaign

Thanks to a few Photoshopping scandals and the still-hot debate about larger sizes in fashion, it’s nearly impossible to talk about Crystal Renn without talking body image. The plus-size/curvy/whatever-you-want-to-call-her model just landed this Chanel campaign, which shows only her face. For Renn, this work with the brand points to a positive shift in fashion aesthetics. She tells Fashionista, “I think the fashion industry is changing and is more open to a new ideal … It’s about a personality and a moment’s not about body size it’s about talent and effort…I hope the industry sees this [campaign] as an example of that.”For us, this image could represent conflicting ideas. We absolutely see her point, but also wonder how true this would hold for a spectator who didn’t recognize or know anything about Crystal Renn. Would they look at this ad and assume the body attached to the face has a typical model-skinny shape? For those aware of Renn’s symbolic status (including Chanel’s production team), does this photo avoid recognition of curves and “alternative” body types? Or would showing Renn from head-to-toe be an all too obvious and blatant attempt to position Chanel as a progressive leader in the industry, inevitably sparking the buzz-worthy “is this an authentic attempt?” dialogue. (In any case, that appears to be what we’re doing anyhow.) What do you think? [Fashionista]