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Jill Kortleve: Redefining Beauty Standards on the Runway

Jill Kortleve

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Jill Megan Kortleve, a prominent Dutch “midsize” model, has become a trailblazer in an industry often defined by rigid beauty standards. Breaking barriers and challenging norms, Kortleve’s journey from Alexander McQueen to Versace has not only marked a significant shift in the fashion landscape but has also positioned her as a symbol of inclusivity.

A Watershed Moment at Chanel

In the spring of 2000, Jill Kortleve made history by becoming the first non-“straight size” model to walk for Chanel since the iconic Crystal Renn a decade prior. This groundbreaking moment sent ripples through the fashion world, signaling a transformative shift towards more inclusive casting. Kortleve’s presence on the Chanel runway represented a much-needed change, and her words echoed a sentiment shared by many in the industry.

“There’s a much needed change happening on the runway, and I’m proud and feel grateful to be a part of it,” Kortleve expressed at the time. “I truly hope that in the future I get to see and work with many more models who used to not fit the briefing.”

Bridging the Gap: Chanel’s Haute Couture

In July 2022, Jill Kortleve once again caught the spotlight when Chanel, the epitome of French luxury, cast her as the “bride” for its autumn haute couture show. This move garnered widespread attention and underscored Chanel’s commitment to diversity. The subsequent couture season continued this trend as Kortleve remained the sole midsize model cast by Chanel for its show. The industry took note, recognizing that Kortleve’s presence was not just a one-time occurrence but a conscious effort by a major fashion house to redefine norms.

The New York Times Profile: A Turning Point

In February 2023, Jill Kortleve achieved another milestone in her career when The New York Times dedicated a major profile to her. This in-depth feature not only highlighted her remarkable journey but also shed light on the broader conversation surrounding body inclusivity and representation in the fashion industry. Kortleve’s story became a focal point for discussions on breaking down barriers and promoting a more diverse and accepting runway culture.

Vogue Covers: A Testament to Success

Beyond the runway, Jill Kortleve’s influence has extended to the covers of several editions of Vogue. Notably, the April 2023 issue of British Vogue positioned her among the “New Supers,” alongside plus-size models Paloma Elsesser and Precious Lee. This recognition not only celebrates Kortleve’s individual success but also marks a collective acknowledgment of a new era in modeling where diversity is not just accepted but celebrated.

Shaping the Future

Jill Kortleve’s journey is more than a personal triumph; it is a catalyst for change within the fashion industry. As she continues to challenge the status quo, her presence on runways and magazine covers serves as an inspiration for aspiring models and a reminder that beauty knows no size. Kortleve’s impact is not confined to the glamour of fashion; it is a step towards a more inclusive and accepting future for an industry that has long been in need of a paradigm shift.


In conclusion, Jill Kortleve’s remarkable career is a testament to the power of breaking barriers and challenging conventional norms. Her journey from being the first midsize model at Chanel to gracing the covers of prestigious magazines reflects a changing tide in the fashion world. As Kortleve continues to make waves, she becomes not only a representation of diversity but a guiding light for an industry undergoing a profound transformation. In the narrative of fashion, Jill Kortleve stands as a pioneer, reminding everyone that the runway is open to all, regardless of size or background.


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