STYLE

Australia's 'Big And Beautiful' Runway Show Sparks Weight Debate (PHOTOS)

08/25/2011 12:23 pm ET | Updated Oct 25, 2011

The media has been making a sizable effort to embrace curvy models lately.

And MTV, known for glorifying the lives of the young and skinny, is set to debut a realty new series about an twenty-something moving to L.A. to pursue fashion -- and unlike Lauren Conrad, she weighs 324 pounds.

But a "Big is Beautiful" runway show at Sydney's Fashion Festival yesterday has critics arguing that the fashion industry's campaign for curves has taken an unhealthy turn in the opposite direction, the Daily Mail reports.

Robyn Lawley (Vogue Australia's first plus-size cover girl) opened the show, looking lovely in an asymmetrical black number. But other models, strutting the catwalk in looks spanning sizes 16 to 24, appeared alarmingly overweight, not simply "curvy."

The Daily Mail quotes Australian journalist Damian Woolbough, who took offense to the choice of models:

"There is a place for women of all sizes in the fashion media, as seen by the positive response to a plus-size shoot with Lawley in this month's Vogue Australia, but obese models send just as irresponsible a message about the need for healthy eating and exercise as models with protruding clavicles and ribcages."

Meanwhile, the National Obesity Forum counters that images of skeletal models do far more damage.

Fortunately, Harper's Bazaar's Edwina McCann was on hand to put things in perspective. She tells the Sydney Morning Herald, "I think the consumer is quite happy to accept the fact that a model, like an Olympic swimmer, is usually an exceptional beauty and doesn't look like the rest of us."

Where do you stand -- is plus-size fashion always a good thing? How big is too big?

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