Models have been taking part in provocative photoshoots in the name of charity ever since the 1990s, when “supers” including Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford posed naked for PETA – proclaiming, famously, “We’d rather go naked than wear fur”.
Now one of this generation’s most prominent supermodels has stripped off to raise awareness of a disease that affects tens of thousands women in the UK every year.
Cara Delevingne has been announced as the face of the Gynaecological Cancer Fund’s latest #LadyGardenCampaign, designed to get women talking about their gynaecological health. In the UK, some 20,000 women are diagnosed with a gynaecological (ovarian, womb, cervical, vaginal or vulval) cancer every year; of these, more than 7,700 will die.
Often referred to as “silent killers”, gynaecological cancers are frequently diagnosed too late for treatment to be effective.
In the newly-released campaign shots, styled by her sister Poppy, Delevingne can be seen wearing nothing but strategically-placed paper flowers – and the Lady Garden hoodies, to be sold in Topshop from September.
The term “lady garden” is a common euphemism for female genitalia – a nod to the fact that women, in particular, are often not brought up to talk openly about gynaecological health.
The #LadyGardenCampaign’s mission statement is to “empower women everywhere to talk more openly – without shyness or shame.”
Last year’s Lady Garden campaign was supported by women including Alexa Chung, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Ellie Goulding. A survey later carried out by the Gynaecological Cancer Fund found that 81% of women were more conscious of their gynaecological health after the campaign, while almost 60% said they knew more about the symptoms of gynaecological cancers.
According to the Gynaecological Cancer Fund, the number of women diagnosed with the disease in future could be drastically reduced “if young women look out for the symptoms and are brave enough to talk about their bodies more”.
Delevingne wrote on Instagram that she was “thrilled to be helping raise awareness for a cause that is so important”.
And in an interview with the Sunday Times Style magazine, the supermodel spoke about the importance of women feeling able to talk about their vaginas.
“There’s a taboo surrounding vaginas and I just want to get rid of it. It’s part of our anatomy,” she said, adding: “I think everyone should be comfortable being naked because everyone’s body is beautiful, no matter how different they think they are.”
The Lady Garden Topshop collection, consisting of hoodies and joggers priced at £28 each, will be on sale on Topshop.com and in selected stores from 8 September. 30% of the price tag of every item sold will go straight to the Gynaecological Cancer Fund, to support research at London’s Royal Marsden Hospital.