Waif  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Waif literally means a homeless, forsaken or orphaned child, similar to a ragamuffin or urchin. In recent popular culture, the term has been used to described an almost unhealthily thin person, usually a woman. The 'waif look' was first used to describe the 1960s model Twiggy, who had large round eyes and a very thin body. The "gamine" look of the 1950s, associated with actresses like Audrey Hepburn, Leslie Caron and Jean Seberg, was, to some extent, a precursor.

The term "waif" was seemingly ubiquitous in the 1990s, with heroin chic fashion and models like Kate Moss and Jaime King on the runways and in advertisements. Actresses like Ally McBeal star Calista Flockhart, Winona Ryder and singer Celine Dion have all been pinned with the term.

Although the heroin chic look has gone out of fashion, it is still apparently popular in Hollywood. For example, Wonderbra model Eva Herzigova has dealt with negative criticism over her new waif-like figure.

Fashion

In fashion and related popular culture, the term "waif" is commonly used to describe an incredibly thin person, usually a woman.

"The waif look" was used in the 1960s to describe thin, large-eyed models such as Twiggy and Dorothee Bis. The "gamine" look of the 1950s, associated with actresses like Audrey Hepburn (who starved as teenager during the Dutch famine of 1944), Leslie Caron and Jean Seberg, was, to some extent, a precursor.

The term "waif" was seemingly ubiquitous in the 1990s, with heroin chic fashion and models like Kate Moss and Jaime King on the runways and in advertisements. Actresses like Ally McBeal star Calista Flockhart, Winona Ryder, recently the British actress Keira Knightley and singer Celine Dion have all been pinned with the term.

Although the heroin chic look has gone out of fashion, it still holds some popularity in Hollywood. For example, Wonderbra model Eva Herzigova was criticized over her waif-like figure. Daily Mirror columnist Sue Carroll wrote: {{cquote|Had Eva Herzigova climbed out of a coffin at a New York fashion show this week, her appearance could hardly have been more shocking. The supermodel, looking like a throwback to the 'heroin chic' era of waif-like undernourished models, was an X-ray of her old self, skeletally thin with greasy hair, blue lips, a cold sore and sunken eyes. Even a Wonderbra couldn't rescue the legendary 'Hello Boys' boobs, shrunk now to oblivion.

In 2006, Madrid's fashion week turned away underweight models, based on their body mass index, after protests that eating disorders develop among young girls and women trying to copy their rail-thin looks.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Waif" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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