‘Real’ Women Cast as Runway Models by Rick Owens, DKNY: And They Looked Amazing

rick owens

In the wake of Target’s cropped-out teen crotch, it’s nice to see some inspiring news in the fashion world. Rick Owens and DKNY cast, ahem, “real people” as runway models in recent fashion shows, and it totally worked.

Owens presented his fall 2014 collection in Paris with the help of a few pro models (Hanne Gaby Odiele and Alana Zimmer were in the show), but the real stars were the real people wearing Owens’ collection. It’s his second time doing this. His last showcase featured real women, most plus-sized, and they stomped around the runway fiercely, with grimaces and scowls on their faces. This collection focused on many older women. You know, the kind with wrinkles. And grey hair. Women who haven’t undergone plastic surgery. The grow-old-gracefully kind. And it was beautiful.

In New York, just a few weeks before Owens‘ show in Paris, Donna Karan celebrated her city with real New Yorkers on the catwalk.


And you know what?

It’s pretty hard to tell the difference.

Aside from the glaring fact that us real people aren’t typically as thin, tall or as young as runway models, when we’re all dressed up by professionals and taught how to work a runway, it totally works.

I’m guessing that even though she’s a professional model, seeing 62-year-old Jacky O’Shaughnessy model lingerie for American Apparel is as shocking as a grandma strutting the catwalk in couture. But refreshing it is. (At 42, I’ve recently started wondering what is “acceptable” lingerie to wear once I hit 60. I mean, those floor-length flannel nighties and bonnets? Sorry, but they just don’t really seem my speed, even though I’m an uncool mom, now.)

So, here’s the thing: Like Academy-award winning actress Lupita Nyong’o recently shared, too many women hold themselves up to impossible standards of beauty. Men too. Yes, some women do look like Hanne Gaby Odiele. She is beautiful, and we have no business criticizing her for her being tall or thin or beautiful. But many people aren’t built that way. They’re beautiful though. And it’s about time the fashion world started making room on the runway for all types of beauty. Let’s hope Owens and Karan make this a regular feature in all of their shows.

Find Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

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Images via Jezebel

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites OrganicAuthority.com and EcoSalon.com, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better. www.jillettinger.com.