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Collette Fitzpatrick: Chanel's plus-size ad is just a big con

Chanel has used a plus size model for its new campaign. Crystal Renn is almost 12 stone and size 14-16 -- and is now starring in a billboard and magazine ads.

So far, so curvy.

But Google the campaign and what you actually see is Crystal's head and shoulders. Not anything below. No plus-size bust, waist and bum. No extra weight around the middle. No less-than-perfect thighs. Give me a plus-size break, Chanel.

This must be one of the biggest fashion sell-outs this year. How utterly disingenuous to tell the world that you are using a plus-size model and then only show about a fifth of her body - almost the boniest part. And this new ad is a one-off; it's not part of their autumn/winter campaign.

The irony that Karl Lagerfeld is now part of the Chanel house doesn't escape us either. He was the designer who infamously said: "You've got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly."

It's also debatable whether or not Crystal is really representative of real women.

She's 5ft 9ins, and so 12 stone on her is not what it is on your average frame. And there's plenty of speculation that she's losing weight.

Sophie Dahl move over; here comes another plus size model who swears she's comfortable with her signature curves but then miraculously loses loads of weight.

Maybe you should continue your disappearing act Crystal, and then yourself and Karl could slag off all the mothers who comfort eat to mask the pain of not being able to afford Chanel ...

All this talk of college brings me back... heroic alcohol consumption and sexual indiscretions ... it's got to be a lot less mortifying and amateur than in my day

CAO offers are out this week so students are gearing up for three or four years of college life, aka two parts carousing, one part learning.

In my day (using this term is possibly the clearest signal that your timeworn students days smell a little of mothballs) there was no cyber attack on the CAO website as the internet wasn't even invented.

Though college in the last millennium didn't involve a plethora of technology to get on your iNerves, filthy bedsits, sexual indiscretion, pseudo philosophising, heroic alcohol consumption, Pot Noodle nutrition, Leonard Cohen adoration and, at the end, a qualification are still part of the curriculum.

To elaborate on the above, living in a filthy bedsit or damp flat was a rite of passage for scholars. My first flat was a basement dwelling in Grove Park in Rathmines. It was one of the first we viewed and the lack of central heating was a minor quibble on a warm viewing day in August.

Big mistake. Kingsize.

There was a Superser gas heater which you can view these days in the national museum. If you've lived once through an Irish winter without heating, it will be an experience you will never let happen again. Lying in bed with fog coming from your mouth is not the Readybreak way to start the day.

Heroic alcohol consumption and sexual indiscretion, just like for those of us in the workforce, are easy bedfellows. Wine was not the poison of choice, rather naggins of crude poison such as Mad Dog 20 20.

Sexual indiscretion today though must surely be less mortifying and amateur than it was for us thirtysomethings.

At least men and women know what they're getting when they jump into the nest. Long, hippy skirts and shapeless shirts like sleeping bags made the female form a guessing game in the 80s and 90s. Today body-con dressing means there's no false advertising.


My college days were punctuated more by a food rather than a sexual revolution. I tasted spaghetti bolognese and garlic for the first time and although there was no Aldi and Lidl, we had Yellow Pack and learned how to make a meal for 33p that lasted a fortnight.

Today's students don't have the patent out on pseudo philosophising. But ours generally occurred in the ad breaks of Dallas reruns on RTE 1, rather than during Keeping Up With The Kardashians on E!

Music snobbery, like today, is part of the international accent of student. Nina Simone tapes, carefully placed to look like they are casually lying beside your bed, are a crucial indicator of musical form.

Remember though, there is nothing as depressing as listening to Leonard Cohen or Nina Simone when the room temperature is five degrees. The warmth of the college library can mean even the most dedicated of layabouts get a First...