Tuesday, September 12, 2006

about damned time

Skinny models wearing thin in fashion shocker

By Andrew Hay

The world's first ban on overly thin models at a top-level fashion show in Madrid has caused outrage among modeling agencies and raised the prospect of restrictions at other venues.

Madrid's fashion week has turned away underweight models after protests that girls and young women were trying to copy their rail-thin looks and developing eating disorders.

Organizers say they want to project an image of beauty and health, rather than a waif-like, or heroin chic look.

But Cathy Gould, of New York's Elite modeling agency, said the fashion industry was being used as a scapegoat for illnesses like anorexia and bulimia.

"I think its outrageous, I understand they want to set this tone of healthy beautiful women, but what about discrimination against the model and what about the freedom of the designer," said Gould, Elite's North America director, adding that the move could harm careers of naturally "gazelle-like" models.

Madrid's regional government, which sponsors the show and imposed restrictions, said it did not blame designers and models for anorexia. It said the fashion industry had a responsibility to portray healthy body images.

"Fashion is a mirror and many teenagers imitate what they see on the catwalk," said regional official Concha Guerra.

The mayor of Milan, Italy, Letizia Moratti, told an Italian newspaper this week she would seek a similar ban for her city's show unless it could find a solution to "sick" looking models.


The Madrid show is using the body mass index or BMI -- based on weight and height -- to measure models. It has turned away 30 percent of women who took part in the previous event. Medics will be on hand at the September 18-22 show to check models.

"The restrictions could be quite a shock to the fashion world at the beginning, but I'm sure it's important as far as health is concerned," said Leonor Perez Pita, director of Madrid's show, also known as the Pasarela Cibeles.

A spokeswoman for the Association of Fashion Designers of Spain, which represents those at Madrid fashion week, said the group supported restrictions and its concern was the quality of collections, not the size of models.

Eating disorder activists said many Spanish model agencies and designers oppose the ban and they had doubts whether the new rules would be followed.

"If they don't go along with it the next step is to seek legislation, just like with tobacco," said Carmen Gonzalez of Spain's Association in Defense of Attention for Anorexia and Bulimia, which has campaigned for restrictions since the 1990s.


Peacechick Mary said...

Hooray! We are getting someplace. This is definitely a stroke of sanity on someone's part. Good news, Betmo.

Sarah said...

Sadly, this will never happen in mega fashion cities, such as New York City and Paris. Many designers are such snobs, they refuse to design clothing for "normal" women. Plus, they don't want "their" clothing on women with a shape. My favorite model (you know who) is rail thin, but at least she has nice hips and a pleasant face. Plus, I know she eats plenty.

There is a fabulous model named Crystal Renn. She was a victim of an eating diorder. She fought back and went up to a size 12. She is now a "plus-sized" model who has done a runway show for Jean Paul Gaultier (big time designer in France) and an advertisment for Dolce and Gabbana (big time designers from Italy). She also appeared in Vogue magazine, even though the editor-in-chief has a deep prejudice against women who are not super skinny.

There is such a stigma in the fashion world when it comes to women who are not extremely thin. Spain was very brave to take on these actions.

betmo said...

once again- europe must lead the way. if enough countries start banding together- we can see 'normal' sized models again. christie brinkley, cindy crawford, etc- all very beautiful women with curves.

Obob said...

I like my woman looking like a woman, hence my wife. That did not mean to be as sexist as it came out. Okay, I'll put my shoe back in my mouth.

Frederick said...

Who the hell likes looking at those bony things anyways?

thepoetryman said...

It's about time someone, no matter how minimal, spoke up about the thinning business of the runway biz...When ribs and spines protrude out the skin and through the clothing it is most reasonable to begin eating again!

Sarah said...

"christie brinkley, cindy crawford, etc- all very beautiful women with curves."

Definitely - we need the era of "supermodels" again! It's worth mentioning that these models have longer careers too. Most girls on the catwalk now will be forgotten in five years unless they become established for something other than their body shape.

EAPrez said...

I had to thank you for making me laugh out loud.....it was your title that did it...about damned time.

shawn (aka blogstud) said...

Interesting post, betmo. I do hope it catches on here as well.

It just cannot be healthy for most people to be that skinny.

dawn said...

you know I work up the block from fashion week in bryant park. I can not tell you how skinny these girls are in person. On the whole in this country I don't know what happened but i don't remeber more than maybe 1 friend who might have been a size 6 now girls are -0 How about the woman out there when did girls get that skinny

Pete's Blog said...

The fashion industry periodicly criticizes skinny models, but does nothing about it past a few headlines.

I think the criticism has more to do with backhand advertising for the industry, certain models and fashion shows. It has nothing to do with concern for 13 year old girls who become skinnier to copy models.


UngkapanSemangatBebas said...

I agree with you guys who would rather see the real supermodels such as Cindy, Claudia, Linda, Christy, Stephanie, Tatjana, Yasmeen, Helena, etc back in the business than see these bony models...even Kate Moss has better body than these bony (not-so-super)models