Model 'exposes' controversial designer's body-shaming environment during fashion show fitting: 'This is insane to me'
Controversial German fashion designer Philipp Plein is in hot water again after a model accused him and his staff of body-shaming her during a recent fitting.
Brazilian model Gizele Oliveira took to TikTok to “expose” Plein in a three-part series. In it, Oliveria claimed that Plein showed up super late — leaving some models standing around for over three hours — and kept Oliveria waiting for what was supposed to be a 30-minute fitting.
The 29-year-old model has been in the fashion industry since 2013. She’s posed for editorials in Vogue Mexico, Vogue Brazil, Vogue India and Elle France and in campaigns for H&M and MAC Cosmetics. In 2017 and 2018, she walked in the Victoria’s Secret fashion show.
No stranger to runway shows or fittings, Oliveira said that she made it clear to the staff that she was a size 4 as soon as she got there. For decades, the average dress size in the U.S. has been a size 14 or size 16.
But by the time Plein showed up, Oliveira said she was put in a dress that was too small and couldn’t even properly close all the way. After Plein looked at her, Oliveira said she was told by a staff member that she should leave.
“They were like, ‘Oh, no, it’s not going to work, all the dresses are the same size,'” Oliveira recalled. When Oliveira reminded the staff member that she had told everyone she was a size 4 when she initially showed up to the fitting, she was told, “Yeah, there’s nothing we can do, so you’re good to go.”
In a follow-up video, Oliveira explained that even without her saying anything to the staff, her agency had sent through her measurements and photos before the fitting too.
“[My booker said,] ‘Oh, they knew your size, they knew that you were a size 4, they knew all your measurements, they knew how you look right now,'” Oliveira said.
Oliveira speculated that Plein’s team may have been looking at her photos from the 2018 Victoria’s Secret fashion show. At the time, Oliveira was 25 years old.
“My body is not the same now,” she continued. “My body has changed, things are different. I have accepted my body the way it is right now … I am much healthier right now.”
Oliveira added that she had already been confirmed to walk in the Plein show and wanted to still get paid for the time she spent waiting around for Plein to show up. But ultimately her greatest frustration was dealing with an established fashion brand’s having only sizes 0 to 2 for models.
“It’s 2023,” Oliveira said she told one of Plein’s employees. “How come you guys don’t have other sizes?”
Oliveira added that she was up only one size from when she walked for Victoria’s Secret. Despite her accomplishments, experience in the industry and social media following, she felt like what ultimately mattered to the designer was what size she was in that exact moment.
“In the end, they just said sorry and that they were going to pay me [and] basically [said] ‘don’t say anything,'” Oliveira said. “But I am here saying [something] because I can’t believe that 12 years after I started modeling I have to hear stuff like that, like, ‘Oh, you’re too big for the clothes’ when I am a size 4.”
In the last few years, Plein has been accused of almost everything. In 2017, Fashion United asked readers if Plein was “the most hated man in fashion.” In 2019, Plein was accused of body-shaming a Fashionista reporter on his Instagram Stories after she wrote a negative review of his show. The following year, critics slammed Plein’s tribute to Kobe Bryant after the designer incorporated a gold helicopter into the background of his show. Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others died in a helicopter crash a month prior.
More recently, Plein had a discrimination lawsuit filed against him for alleged workplace homophobia, which he called “baseless and defamatory.”
“This is insane to me that models have to go through this every day,” Oliveira concluded in her final TikTok. “I don’t need anyone to tell me every day of my life, ‘Oh, you gained weight, you’re not good enough.”’
Current and former models took to the comments to share similar horror stories of being body-shamed while on a job.
“Went to a fitting, they knew I was a size 4, tried on the garment, didn’t fit. They EMBARRASSED me. Got mad at me,” one person wrote. “This happened 7 years ago and I’ll never forget it.”
“Been there! Thank you for sharing,” another said. “My old agent wanted me to be a 0-2 when i was a 4- dropped her!!!”
“Been there done that,” someone added. “Same stuff would happen to me allll the time. I’ve left fittings in tears … So sorry you went through it.”
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