Filippa Hamilton-Palmstierna for David Lawrence Resort 2014

Ten out of 10

Frockwriter has blogged a number of campaigns from Sydney-based apparel company Webster Holdings Pty Ltd, which owns the David Lawrence, Jigsaw and Marcs brands.

The imagery is usually sharp and the model casting, invariably interesting. Emma Balfour for David Lawrence. Julia Nobis, Broed Dilleward, Jack Vanderhart, Nicole Pollard and Rachel Rutt for Marcs. Rose Smith, Jacquetta Wheeler and Imogen Morris-Clarke for Jigsaw.

For the Resort 2014 campaign of its slightly older-skewed David Lawrence brand, the company has tapped 28 year-old Swedish/French beauty Filippa Hamilton-Palmstierna.

Although the name may not mean a great deal to most people, the latter’s 2009 Photoshop controversy would probably ring a bell.

First broken on the Photoshop Disasters blog in September that year, after a grotesquely-retouched image of Hamilton-Palmstiera was spotted in an outdoor campaign for Ralph Lauren’s Blue Label in Japan, the story swiftly travelled online and it is still widely-regarded as one of the greatest Photoshop controversies of recent years.

After initially demanding that both Photoshop Disasters and Boing Boing remove their posts on the grounds of copyright infringement – because covering up the evidence and shooting the messenger is always better than dealing with criticism, right? – Ralph Lauren issued a statement the following month acknowledging responsibility for the “very distorted” image and vowing to ensure the company’s artwork best reflects the brand in future.

Four days later, another absurdly over-retouched Ralph Lauren Blue Label image of yet another model, Valentina Zelyeava, that had been spotted in an outdoor campaign in Sydney, also made it to the Photoshop Disasters blog.

On the same day, Hamilton-Palmstierna went on the record on The New York Daily News, claiming that she had in fact been fired by Ralph Lauren back in April that year, for being “overweight”.

“They fired me because they said I was overweight and I couldn’t fit in their clothes anymore” Hamilton-Palmstierna told the paper. While Ralph Lauren’s position, as per a statement tendered to the paper, was that Hamilton-Palmstierna’s relationship with the company ended “as a result of her inability to meet the obligations under her contract with us.”

In a separate interview with NBC’s Today show, Hamilton-Palmstierna – a 5’10”, 120lb size 4 [174cm, 54kg, Australian size 8]- claimed she had not gained any weight in the eight years she had worked with the company. Yes that’s right, eight years. Hamilton-Palmstierna had been a contract model with Ralph Lauren from virtually the nanosecond she was scouted at the age of 15, scoring the Ralph Lauren ‘Romance’ fragrance campaign in 2001, shot by Bruce Weber.

Whether Hamilton-Palmstierna had filled out as she matured, or whether Ralph Lauren reduced its sample size, is a moot point.

Interviewed for the same segment, Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Kate White told Today:

“It really starts with the sample clothes. They’ve downsized. They’re now like a 2 or a 4. In some degree it relates to the Kate [Moss] era. Before then, supermodels like Cindy Crawford and Christie Brinkley — they were really curvy. But they got skinnier and skinnier. The clothes got smaller. So it creates this cycle where you have to fit in the clothes to get the job, and then the models get smaller and that’s who we have to use in the fashion stories” – Kate White, Cosmopolitan

Good to see Hamilton-Palmstierna back modelling. The David Lawrence campaign follows a successful run as a face for Swedish fast fashion giant H&M and a few other campaigns.

But it has to be said that since the Ralph Lauren controversy, the high fashion jobs have been few and far between for the former British, French and Italian Vogue cover girl and Pirelli calendar star – whose most recent runway sortie, according to’s model database, was September 2006.

Hamilton-Palmstiera would not have had any issues fitting into David Lawrence’s samples.

According to Webster Holdings’ marketing manager Michael Bragg, every brand in the company’s stable samples in size 10. Always has done, apparently. In terms of the size ranges manufactured by the company, with the exception of the younger-skewed Marcs brand, which makes from size 4-14, both David Lawrence and Jigsaw manufacture from size 6-16.

When Frockwriter first enquired about the Resort 2014 shots, Bragg seemed genuinely unaware of Hamilton-Palmstierna’s background.

“We booked her because she’s beautiful” Bragg told Frockwriter.

News of Webster Holdings’ size 10 samples is interesting, in light of widespread claims that most Australian designers sample in a size 6-8. Model-turned-blogger and photographer Zanita Morgan – who, like Frockwriter, is also a part of the Fellt network – recently mentioned via comments in this post about new face Ali Cromarty, that she experienced quite some difficulty as a size 10 model fitting into Australian designer samples.

Noted Morgan, “There’s simply no way I was ever going to fit my size 10 ass into a Dion Lee sample”. 

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