英语学习杂志 2015-06-11 17:18





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By Caroline Evans

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In the early 20th century, the first professional fashion models were called “living mannequins”. They took their name from their 19th-century predecessors , the display mannequins used by dressmakers. The term suggested that these early models were no more than animated dolls, and this was born out in reality. Uniform in their mechanical modelling styles and standardised body shapes, they stared glassily ahead, paying no attention to onlookers. One critic in 1910 described their “industrial smiles”. Forbidden to speak unless spoken to, when asked by the client, “What is your name?” the living mannequin would answer not with her own name but that of the so-called model dress she wore: Pleasures of Love, or The First Yes, perhaps. Resembling both a talking dress and the inanimate mannequin she mimicked, the fashion model cut a disturbing and uncanny figure in the luxurious couture salons of Paris.

Among the first women to go uncorseted in the early 1900s, fashion models were slender and supple, but nowhere near as thin as today’s models. The fashionable ideal remained statuesque until 1910-14 when it became tall and willowy, in tandem with the burgeoning craze for dance and sport. The new, slimmer silhouette was spearheaded by professional models whose narrow skirts and flimsy fabrics put the body on display in novel ways. Then as now, both journalists and the public complained that models bore no relation to ordinary women. The British designer Lucile advertised in an American newspaper for “the thinnest model in the world” to drape in heavy fabrics. She found “Arjamand”, described by Lucile’s assistant as “a slender, swaying reed, so thin, I often feared, as I watched her pace the long rooms in the divinely draped brocaded gowns, she would bend, then break, and dissolve into a graceful, luxurious heap upon the floor”. Far from it: Arjamand so hated being thin that she was on a constant diet to gain weight.

In 1920s, New York, the uptown retail stores employed svelte models while the downtown wholesalers used fuller-figured ones, especially to model fashions for “stouts”. As with display dummies, the first fashion models represented a range of body shapes and sizes, but these were standardised to correspond with the increasing standardisation of mass-produced clothing sizes. In Paris, Coco Chanel chose models in her own, slender, image, even fitting the fuller-figured ones with a whale-boned brassiere to flatten their bosoms. The fashion for extremely thin and androgynous models lasted from 1924–8, peaking in 1926. After that, the press announced that “boyish form is passé”, spurning the stick-thin flapper. One Paris newspaper contained an apocryphal account of 200 mannequins who had lost their jobs because they were too thin. But, in reality, the slender ideal was well established by the late 1920s and has varied only slightly in the intervening decades. (In fact, the first calls for a slenderised body came not from fashion designers but from doctors who attempted to make a medical case for dieting from before the first world war.)

By the 1920s fashion writers were generally advocating a slimmer figure. Presaging today’s fashion for a lean and youthful physique, the Countess de Noailles wrote in 1926, “our epoch favours the appearance of permanent youth”.

Clearly, the debates about models’ bodies and their influence on the rest of the population have been raging for more than a hundred years. In all this time, while it has often been asserted that skinny models are the cause of extreme dieting and exercise in pursuit of a slim, toned, and youthful-looking body—and in recent decades whether models’ bodies inspire eating disorders—there is little hard data to support the claim, and we still await a definitive, scientific study. There is unarguably a relationship, but whether it is causal is moot. As the fashion sociologist Agnès Rocamora says, “While images of thin women may well influence us to desire certain clothes, and even thin bodies, whether that translates into actual eating disorders is another issue. I don’t know if it’s ever possible to substantiate .”


1. mannequin: 人体模型,时装模特。

2. predecessor: 前辈。

3. animated: 活的,有生命的;be born out: 诞生,实现。

4. glassily: (眼睛等)无表情地,无生气地。

5. resemble: 类似,像;inanimate: 无生气的;mimic: 模仿;cut a figure: 崭露头角,出风头;uncanny: 神秘的;couture salon: 时装沙龙。

6. uncorseted: 未穿紧身褡的;slender: 细长的,苗条的;supple: 灵活的;nowhere near: 远不及。

7. statuesque: 高大匀称的,修长优美的;willowy: 苗条的,婀娜的;in tandem with: 与……同时进行;burgeoning: 迅速发展的。

8. slimmer: slim的比较级,更苗条的,更修长的;silhouette: 轮廓;spearhead: 带领,带头;flimsy: 轻而薄的;put sth. on display: 展示某物;novel: 新奇的,异常的。

9. bear no relation to: 与……完全不相称。

10. advertise for: 登广告征求;drape: (用布)装饰,遮盖。

11. 她找到了亚珠曼德,露西尔的助理形容道:(她就像)一根细长、飘摇的芦苇,那么瘦,看着她身着优美的垂褶锦缎礼服在长长的房厅里缓行,我总怕她会被压弯,折断,然后融化在地,变成一堆优雅奢华之物。swaying: 摇摆的;reed: 芦苇;divinely: 极好地;drape: 使(悬挂物、衣服等)呈褶状;brocaded: 织成锦缎的;gown: 礼服;dissolve into: 融化成;heap: 堆。

12. svelte: 苗条的;wholesaler: 批发商;fuller-figured: 体型更丰满的;stout: 矮胖的人,这里加了引号,是指相对于那些苗条纤细的模特而言。

13. 与人体模型一样,最初的时装模特展现了各种各样的体型和尺寸,但这些体型和尺寸都为了迎合大规模服装生产标准化的盛行而统一了。as with: 正如;dummy: (陈列服装用的)人体模型;correspond with: 符合,一致。

14. brassiere: 胸衣。

15. androgynous:雌雄同体的,这里指中性的。

16. passé: <法>过时的,落伍的;spurn: 摒弃,冷落;flapper: (20世纪20年代后期穿短裙、留短发、思想被认为十分现代的)时髦女子。

17. apocryphal: 不足凭信的,可疑的。

18. intervening: 介于中间的。

19. presage: 预言;physique: 体格,体形;the Countess de Noailles: 诺瓦耶伯爵夫人,即安娜·德·诺阿伊(Anna de Noailles,1876—1933),罗马尼亚-法国作家,著有小说,自传与诗集;epoch: 时代,时期。

20. 长久以来,人们都宣称瘦骨嶙峋的模特是为了追求身形苗条、健美和显得年轻而极度节食和锻炼的诱因,但这一论断却并无有力的证据支撑。在近几十年里,模特的身材究竟有没有引发饮食紊乱,我们还需等待明确的科学研究。in all this time: 在这么长的时间;assert: 宣称,声称;toned: 强健的;definitive: 决定性的,明确的。

21. causal: 因果关系的,有原因的;moot: 有讨论余地的,未决的。

22. substantiate: 证实。

(来源:英语学习杂志 编辑:丹妮)



















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