By Jo Clements in The Mail Online, 16th February 2009
As cover girls go, she hardly fits the stereotype.
But 15-stone Beth Ditto showed no shyness as she posed naked for Love magazine.
Holding up a pink ruffled skirt to protect her modesty, the Gossip frontwoman struck a sultry pose for the magazine’s launch issue.
Editor-in-Chief Katie Grand promised the publication would be ‘very curvy’ and that ‘no one is a sample size in the whole issue’, and with Miss Ditto on the cover she seems to have kept her word to the extreme.
With red hair and black lips, the openly gay singer closed her eyes and pouted for her glamorous photoshoot.
Her tattoos, one of which reads ‘Mama’, are also clearly visible on her pale skin.
‘She says the wrong things. She looks the wrong way,’ Grand writes in her first editor’s letter.
‘Isn’t it confounding and amazing to have an iconic figure…who doesn’t have a 25-inch waist?
‘She is happy with who she is and the way she is.’
It is not the first time Miss Ditto, 27, has stripped off for a magazine photoshoot.
In 2007 she posed naked, with hairy armpits, on the cover of music magazine NME.
That same year she is said to have turned down a design deal with high street giant Topshop after criticising their ‘limited’ sizing policy. The singer, who called herself a ‘fat, feminist lesbian from Arkansas’, has previously lashed out at size zero celebs and blamed gay men in the fashion industry for the size zero trend. ‘If there’s anyone to blame for size zero, it’s not women,’ she said. ‘Blame gay men who work in the fashion industry who want these women as dolls. ‘Men don’t know what it feels like to be a woman and be expected to look a particular way. The Beckhams are part of the machine; Paris Hilton is part of the machine.’ Miss Ditto has been seen partying with model Kate Moss and can also count Keira Knightley as one of her celebrity fans. The Pirates of the Caribbean star claimed in a magazine interview that Miss Ditto has an ‘amazing body’. ‘When she was performing she started taking all her clothes off,’ Miss Knightley said. ‘I stood there watching her strip, thinking, “Oh my God, that woman is so sexy. She has the most amazing body”.’ Love magazine, which is published by Conde Nast, hits newsstands on February 19.
Does fashion's new love for curves go beyond Beth Ditto?
Hannah Pool, The Guardian, Thursday 19 February 2009
The first thing that one thinks when looking at Beth Ditto on the cover of Condé Nast's new fashion magazine Love is not, "I wonder who made that pink coat she's holding?"
Inside Ditto wears a black elastic Gareth Pugh string dress, and an orange feather Louis Vuitton skirt, and, well, not an awful lot else. In a shoot that seems to be celebrating her flesh, rather than giving her fab clothes to wear, what Ditto is wearing is almost an aside.
But if you look closer, you will see that both the feather skirt and the elastic dress have been made specially for Love magazine. This small print highlights the fact that, while fashion may be embracing Ditto as a style icon, there is still some way to go before this appreciation of one woman turns into the provision of decent clothes for the many. Designers are notorious for claiming that only a size zero will make their clothes look good, so did Love editor Katie Grand have trouble persuading them to dress Ditto? "No one said they didn't want Beth in their clothes. Donatella Versace wanted to do it and so did Chanel, but there wasn't enough time," says Grand.
Ditto is not the only woman with curves that normally reticent designers are keen to clothe these days. Earlier this month singer Adele was styled for the Grammys by US Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who put her in a black 1950s-style dress by Barbara Tfank. But does the fashion pack's acceptance of Ditto and Adele into their clique, and on to the cover of their magazines, actually mean anything? Or are they merely fig leaves, allowing fashion to give the impression it has put its house in order, while in reality little changes? The shoot that follows Ditto's features a model whose chest looks almost concave, signifying that it's back to fashion's version of "normal" pretty quickly.
Were Ditto to walk into a Louis Vuitton store, or that of any other high-end label, she'd be lucky to find a size 14 (she's probably closer to size 20). The high street doesn't do much better, with Zara, Mango and Topshop all stopping at a size 16. That's 16, as in the average dress size of a British woman.
Perhaps things will improve this summer when Ditto herself teams up with Evans to launch her own range, Ditto for Evans. Evans has long been considered a frumpy fashion outpost, but hopefully Ditto will inject some of her own sense of glamour and style into the collection. Is it too much to hope that clothes for curves could knock Kate Moss off her perch at Topshop?