No one denies that skinny models have stolen the catwalk away from the voluptuous girls of the 90′s. Gemma Ward (above), is no Claudia Schiffer. The question is: should the industry place limitations on waifish catwalkers?
With the pret-a-porter fashion week hitting Paris in 4 days, debate is heating up again in the pages of today’s issue of Le Monde.
France tried to play off the growing debate on skinny models that arose after Spain banned underweight girls from their fashion week. After receiving complaints on ultra-skinny models, and following the deaths of some girls to anorexia, Madrid ordered limits on Body Mass Indexes. Several fashion syndicate’s have followed suit. New York and Paris have not. Didier Grumbach, king of French fashion, said the industry has no responsibility to portray healthy models.
Arguments against banning the ultra-skinny come from designers and stylists, such as Martine de Menton, who says, “After the top-models of the 1980′s– Claudia Schiffer or Linda Evangelista– whom we looked at more than the clothes they were presenting, designers started looking for more anonymous and androgynous body types.”
“We must inform people, but above all not regulate the sector more than it already is,” said Didier Grumbach, head of the Federation francaise de la Couture. “Regulation is something that weighs down the atmosphere.”
PetiteBrigitte’s verdict: If Grumbach is so worried about ‘weighing down the atmosphere,’ perhaps he should be more concerned over the death of 21 year-old Brazillian model Ana Carolina Reston(below), who died last year of anorexia. Or maybe he should read the studies on how young girl’s body images are linked to what they see in the media. As the models get younger, the media more pervasive, and the industry more powerful, the real victims of this trend will be the models who sell the clothes, and the girl’s who emulate them. The ultra-skinnies are doing more harm than good (to themselves, and to society). Give them a meal, let the designers have a momentary hissy, and let the runways reflect healthy images of women. We’ll still buy the clothes.
Incidentally– Bravo to Victoria Beckham, who just banned size 0 models from her new line of clothes. Mildly hypocritical since she herself is a size 0, but at least she’s sending a positive message.
Update (March 30): France will not ban skinny models from Paris catwalks but will introduce a voluntary charter to make the fashion industry more aware of the health risks of being very thin, the Health Ministry said on Friday.
“The idea of it is not regulation like the Spanish have done … but to promote a strong campaign of awareness and information in the fashion industry,” he added.
See this for more.
Update part 2 (May 20):
A group of investigators have told the fashion world to grow up and do something about unhealthy models. Backed by the British Fashion Council, the statements come in response to growing disquiet about the risks of modelling to young women desperate to meet the industry’s waif-like norm. The deaths of a Uruguayan model, Luisel Ramos, 22, and her sister, Eliana, 18, within months of each other last year fuelled the debate. Luisel died of heart failure after starving herself for days before a fashion show and Eliana died of a heart attack. In November, the death of Ana Carolina Reston, a Brazilian model aged 21 who lived on a diet of apples and tomatoes, sparked worldwide concern.