Back in May, the Italian luxury plus-size brand Marina Rinaldi started a new campaign called Women Are Back. Dedicated to celebrating curves, femininity, and confidence, the project set out to fly 12 plus-size bloggers to Milan, where they would join forces with the Max Mara Fashion Group brand to form an epic collaboration. The ultimate result would be a video series and stunning portraiture. Among the women were Gabi Gregg of Gabifresh, Georgina Horne of Fuller Figure, Fuller Bust, Marie Denee of The Curvy Fashionista, plus-size model Katya Zharkova and Stephanie Zwicky of Le Blog de Big Beauty.
Each of the 12 bloggers was photographed by Riccardo Vimercati and ended up with breathtaking portraits that were showcased at the newest Marina Rinaldi store opening in Milan. Luckily, the images have finally been released to the public, and they seriously couldn’t be any more striking.
What is perhaps so amazing about this campaign is the quality, time, and dedication put into it. Marina Rinaldi and the troupe of international bloggers strongly invested in the promotion of body love and plus-size incorporation within the fashion industry — including in luxury brands like this one.
Georgina Horne, who has been blogging for two and a half years, says she felt “blessed, humbled and grateful” to have been selected for this kind of mission. To Horne, the campaign stood for deep, emotional, mental and physical empowerment:
'Women Are Back' is not meant to be a body shaming or snarking campaign. It’s not stating that women who are bigger are 'real" or anything else. It simply means that women who want to dress however they want, and not follow what all those size 'rules' dictate, are back. They’re back wearing leather, bodycons, patterns, short skirts and anything else they would like to be seen in.
She points out something crucial, and that’s that the campaign doesn’t set out to say all fuller-figured women are somehow better or more attractive — but instead, to show that all women are beautiful, and to return some of that lost strength to the plus-size women who’ve been told for ages that they are somehow less than everyone else. As Horne says, to show that “beauty isn’t a size.”
In fact, one of Horne’s personal goals is to show that body shaming toward anyone is wrong, be they a size two or a 22:
I want to stop women from thinking that women who are smaller/bigger than them are their enemies. Body snarking helps no one and women (and men) need to stop thinking that putting someone down lifts you up. It doesn't.
Marie Denee of The Curvy Fashionista says that whole experience was surreal. “I mean. DUDE. Milan. THAT is fancy,” she told me. Although ‘Women are Back’ is geared toward plus-size ladies, Denee believes that the ideology is something that all women should be able to relate to:
I see this as a celebration of women in their entirety — the beauty, the sensuality, the fashion that has often been denied to plus-size women.
The project aims to show that plus women can and should have available to them the high-end fashion that straight size women do, but it also wants to celebrate womanhood in a global, size-less kind of way. By showing that plus-size women can do high-fashion, ‘Women are Back’ is another stepping stone in the crusade for equality in fashion and size acceptance. It’s a step in showing that we’re all the same, and after all, isn't that the whole point of the size-acceptance movement?
Denee says that the shoot was an emotional experience:
Let me tell you, I cried a few times. A few of us did. We hugged it out, in disbelief that THIS was happening. That THEY (mainstream fashion) were paying attention to us. That WE were part of a campaign that was so amazingly done, so impactful, so cool.
As for the campaign’s ultimate goals, Horne says:
I hope the campaign can show women that size shouldn't be a barrier to happiness, fashion or health. We are so obsessed with getting fit and getting thin, that we sometimes need to reminder to celebrate our bodies as they are RIGHT NOW. Sure, I personally would love to be a bit less wobbly. Does it mean I should stop wearing bodycon dresses and leopard print and skinny jeans until then? Hell no!
We couldn’t have said it any better.