Mad Men star Christina Hendricks sparks rush for breast implants
Demand for breast enlargement operations is rising sharply among British women, new figures will show.
Christina HendricksPhoto: GETTY
Adam Lusher 9:00AM GMT 30 Jan 2011
Plastic surgeons say the trend is due in part to the popularity of the television series Mad Men – and of Christina Hendricks, its voluptuous star.
Statistics to be released by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) on Monday are expected to show that the number of women having breast augmentations jumped by more than 10 per cent last year after stalling in 2009.
A BAAPS source suggested that Hendricks was influential in the increase, which means that for the first time more than 9,000 women a year in Britain are having surgery to boost their cleavage.
The source said: "You could argue that. Christina Hendricks is gorgeous, and the hourglass figure is definitely back in fashion. Let's just say that heroin chic isn't the big thing at the moment."
Breast augmentation has always been Britain's most popular plastic surgery procedure, but the growth in uptake suggests that hundreds of women are defying the economic downturn and instead cheering themselves up with enhancements.
The source said: "That kind of increase in arguably the worst period of the recession is impressive, especially as the growth in demand had slowed down before."
The BAAPS figures also confirm the seemingly inexorable rise of plastic surgery in Britain. The overall number of procedures carried out by BAAPS members has more than trebled in six years, from 10,738 in 2003 to more than 36,482 in 2009.
The 2010 figures are set to show a continued increase, although the BAAPS source suggested that some people were economising on features that were easily hidden.
"Some surgeons are saying that people are now targeting the areas that are visible; whereas things like prominent ears can be hidden by growing your hair over them."
In May, Miss Hendricks was voted "The Sexiest Woman Alive" by female readers of Esquire magazine. Two months later the size-14 actress, who plays the feisty secretary Joan Harris in Mad Men, was declared a role model by Lynne Featherstone, the Equalities Minister.
Criticising the "overexposure" of skinny models, which she said was causing a crisis in "body confidence" among young women, the Liberal Democrat minister declared: "Christina Hendricks is absolutely fabulous.
"We need more of these role models. There is such a sensation when there is a curvy role model. It shouldn't be so unusual."
The rush to emulate Hendricks appears to mark a remarkable change in attitudes. The actress herself admitted last year that she was made to feel "invisible" when she moved to Los Angeles and was told she was too big to win starring roles.
Everything changed when Mad Men, set in a glamorous 1960s Manhattan advertising agency, started to win rave reviews for what one critic called a potent mix of "cocktails and curves".
Hendricks, 35, now has fashion lines rushing to sign her up, and designers striving to recreate the look of the show with nipped-in waists, full circle skirts and tight-fitting shirts.
The Sunday Telegraph revealed last year how Janie Bryant, the costume designer for the show, which has been broadcast by the BBC, pushed the actresses' bodies into hourglass shapes by persuading them to wear girdles and longline bras, a cross between a bra and a corset.
When the antique and reproduction bras and garters started causing the actresses too much pain, assistants provided them with pads of moleskin to cushion their skin.
Hendricks herself offered some comfort to men who might now be too poor to participate in the previous cosmetic surgery trend, an 80 per cent rise in male breast reductions – or "man boob jobs" – as revealed inThe Sunday Telegraph last year.
She reassured male Esquire readers: "If we're in love with you, we love your body: your pot belly, everything. Even if you're insecure about something, we love your body. We embrace everything. Because it's you."
Judging by what she also told Esquire, however, women may wish to reconsider whether they really want breast enhancements to match the Hendricks cleavage.
"The men who constantly stare at our breasts," she said, "are never the men we're attracted to."