Smiles return to the catwalk

Models are usually seen strutting down the catwalk with a moody pout on their lips, not a cheeky grin. Even actresses prefer to be photographed being sultry rather than smirking. Yet if recent fashion magazines are anything to go by, the smile is back.

Reese Witherspoon on the front cover of Elle and even supermodel Arizona Muse in February’s Tatler are both pictured smiling, instead of the usual mean and moody look beloved by most female celebrities in the 90s and Noughties.

Even the catwalk models are getting in on the act, with photographs from a recent Victoria’s Secret showing the scantily-glad girls having a good grin at their unusual situation. Of course, a lingerie catalogue is hardly high-end fashion, but it seems that consumers are enjoying seeing this new, cheerful side to female celebrities and models.

Smiling fashion models used to be the norm, but that went out of fashion in the late-1980s with the rise of the supermodel when the trend was for women to be little more than clothes hangers for designers and any display of emotion was seen as detracting from the outfits themselves.

British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman says she thinks it is important for fashion and celebrity magazines to play their part in cheering up normal women in what are tough financial times for everyone, adding that smiles are bound to sell more magazines than frowns no matter who is on the front cover.

¬†Designers too are beginning to see the virtues of allowing their models to grin if they want to; in the case of the giggling Victoria’s Secret models, it makes them seem more normal and like one of the girls, despite them having figures that most women can only dream of.

 Advertisers are also leading the way in the smiles stakes, with recent campaigns from Bottega Veneta and Bally featuring photographs of smiling rather than sulking models. Even Naomi Campbell, a model not exactly known for her sense of humour, took part in a very cheerful-looking photo shoot recently. Perhaps the fashion world has changed for the better.