Skinny Models: Debate continues as Pret-a-Porter looms…

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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.

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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.

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33 thoughts on “Skinny Models: Debate continues as Pret-a-Porter looms…

  1. John says:

    To me, skinny models are so beautiful. I love petite! Not anorexic or sickly, but very-very-petite. I would hate it if regulators banned skinny models.

  2. Rabbit says:

    You’re sick in the head if you think above size 6 is fat.. It’s called being a WOMAN and having CURVES and being HEALTHY (mind and body)

  3. Kimberley says:

    “size 0 and 6 is perfect anything abov is fat urrrgg.”
    that is possibly the biggest piece of bullshit i have ever heard in my life. There is nothing perfect about having the waist size of 7year old girl when youre an adult or a teenager or anything!

    curves are sexy and female and beautiful! its what sets us apart from looking like boys! marilyn monroe was a size 12 – was she fat?? no.

    urgh.

  4. Bonnie says:

    That picture of Gemma is from when she was 16 and just starting. She has filled out a lot now that she’s in her 20s.. but is still flat-chested. We can’t all be Claudia Schiffer.

    I’m healthy, I eat well, I am a 22-year-old woman and I have a BMI of 16. I’m not ‘normal’.. but I do exist. And there’s nothing wrong with my body. I happen to like having a 23″ waist, it looks lovely. I am trying to gain, but it’s just not happening for me right now.. I will be excited to have more curves, but I still like the way I look now. And so does my BF.

  5. cathy says:

    i think fat or skinny.both beautiful. as long as they eat healthy.n.amount of exercise.too skinny is not good, but size6-up, they still look beautiful..

  6. Estelle Lewis says:

    Agree that fat models would look repulsive on the cat walk but a model who is more ‘woman sized’ would surely attract more buyers ~ or are all rich women skinny? I notice that Victoria Beckham, bless her, even though she has a stunning shape, didn’t want to be flat chested and now has a pair of ‘tennis balls’ stuck on her chest (why do false tits look so HARD).
    I’d love to be thinner, I am trying, I’ll never be a 6, 8, 10 and would happily settle for a 12 or 14 (I’m 63 ~ thin at my age looks haggard. Meanwhile, ladies may I suggest that HEALTH is the key word here, it’s no good being a size zero if its making you ill, and I don’t think they make fashionable shrouds!

  7. katie says:

    I think that too thin models should be banned as well. The media feeds into many of today’s anorexic and bulemic tendencies in society. Something needs to be done. The status quo is not always the best.

  8. Blondie says:

    I think that skinny models are stunning, and they show the clothes to the best cuz they can just hang off them, i think anything bigger would just look weird on the catwalk. I would love to drop 2 sizes to an american 0! i also think banning skinny models is unfair, if BMI’s of under 18.5 are ‘underweight’ its ridicularse, as my BMI is around this, even though im smallish and a healthy size 8, if i was taller like a models height it would be well under 18.5, but that wouldn’t make me unhealthy or too thin!

  9. robyn says:

    I reccon there’s nothing wrong with a bit of skinnyness, long as the person is not starving themselves to tears. I reccon petite is beautiful! I also don’t think that a flat chest is a bad thing? It makes you appear more delicate and dainty if you are, and that’s good!

  10. ABBIE. says:

    URM I DO REALLY LIKE THIN MODELS.
    BUT TRYING TO BE SOMETHiiNG YOUR NOT.
    ISNT GOOD.
    PEOPLE SHOULD RESPECT THERE CURVES.
    AND BE GREATFUL.
    BECUASE MOST PEOPLE DO FIND THAT ATTRACTIVE.
    IM A VERY SKINNY PERSON MYSELF.
    ITS NOT THAT GOOD.
    AND I HAVENT BECOME SKINNY ON PERPOSE.
    IM YOUNG AND PETIE.
    ITS UP TO THE PERSON THEMSELVES TO DECIDE.
    BUT I THINK ITS BETTER FOR THE PERSON TO HAVE WHAT THEY HAVE.
    BECUASE AFTER ALL, ITS NOT AMAZING TO BE SKINNY :)

    X

  11. Darksequencer says:

    It´s not a question for me – Models have to be ultra skinny. And if only skinny born girls would become a Model, we never had any problems with eating disorders. And by the way, what is so wrong with an anorexic model? You would say – it´s not healthy. Yes thats right, but here on earth there are much more unhealty jobs then the fashion business and you earn not even a tenth of that a model gets. So what is the performance a model gets payed for??? – Her skinnyness!!!
    But women with curves on the catwalk look better!!!
    Do they sell girls or fashion? If a Models has big tits, I wouldn`t see the design of her clothes any more – so we need androgyn looking Skinnies.

  12. krista (size 0 !!) says:

    skinny is sexy get over it. so-called “curves” are not. the term is used only to dampen the rudeness of calling someone fat. seriously, weight is a choice and is achieved through will power (or lack of). im not telling everyone to starve themselves but at least work out and eat healthy! there is no excuse for being fat. and being big boned is different. big boned women/men can still be thin and healthy. o and about marilyn being a 12.. sizes are different now lady my mom has the same measurements and weight as she did in college and used to be a 14. now she is a 4. these days that would be pretty close to what marilyn was :) just so ya know.

  13. Darksequencer says:

    I love those discussions because they are always pointing out the small problem as a Big one.
    Volks I got one question: every year we have tousands of dead people resulting from beeing too fat and only a few die from anorexic eating disorders. And you are telling me it is time to save those few and this is more important than saving those thousands. Is this any kind of fuzzy-animal thing…oh yes those skinny model dolls look much more pretty then those fat wales, let´s save them!???
    I don`t get it,sorry.
    And what is very important and we shouldn´t forget, you can be skinny and you can have a normal weight in the same time. You need muscles!
    Nobody would say that gorillas are sqitty or too skinny.
    And it never woks trying to be somebody you are not…don´t try to be a model, if you aren´t one. Every day on the street I could`t try to be ca race car driver, but I won´t survive it very long.

  14. Lindsay says:

    Once upon a time, being called “skinny” was an insult. It meant you were from the lower class and sickly and especially undesirable as a wife. Now, it is the most emaciated of women who are given top-paying jobs to promote the world’s biggest fashions, and who make it onto Maxim’s Hottest list. I am not old-fashioned, by any means. I’m only 21. I understand that social perceptions of beauty change. But I cannot be supportive of standards that cause danger to a woman’s self esteem and to her health. The fact is that these women are not naturally this way. No woman is. To all of the young women who have written that they prefer Gemma Ward’s skeletal frame to Claudia Schiffer (who is already VERY thin), keep this in mind: there is a difference between being naturally thin and forcefully-emaciated. If you do not eat three good meals a day; if your hair has become too thin and falls out when you brush it; if you are tired all the time; if you are constantly thinking about how to avoid the next meal; if you become irritated when someone mentions food to you; if you think that picture of the dead anorexic model is “normal;” if any or all of these are true for you, you have an eating disorder. This has nothing to do with what is beautiful or what isn’t. It has to do with YOU, and your perceptions. You can get help for this, so that you can live your life and stop being fixated on something of so little importance. I think you are all probably very beautiful, but I would guess you are also at least 10 pounds underweight by medical standards. Remember this: women should not be proud to be able to shop in the children’s section of a department store. You can be strong and beautiful and free of these worries! This will sound repetitive, but the first step is realizing you ahve food issues. The next is telling someone you trust so you can get the help you need. I believe in you! Now go get ‘em!

  15. beautyispain says:

    i think these underweight models are gorgeous!
    We are all owners of our own body, if we want to starve ourselves so be it.
    It goes beyond what most people think. Its a mental issue. For those of you who dont have it, be so thankfull. Be lucky you dont have to hate yourself second of every minute of everyday. I support these skinny models, let them do whatever they want.

    starve on.

    xox.

  16. steph says:

    i think its quite tragic that so many women are just caving in to society – the only reason people want to be skinny is because it is pushed in our faces constantly! through magazines, TV, the net..if it was constant curvy girls then people would want to be like that.
    men dont even like skinny girls, the things that makes us women are our boobs, arse and hips…how can i skinny annorexic girl have any chance of carrying a baby if she wanted to have children?
    it just seems like people you see are if the two extremes – either too skinny or too fat – what happened to normal sized people? all these girls that desire to be skinny really need a reality check to how horrible it is. you are going to have no chance of a social life or a relationship, and if you have A bf or friends who think its acceptable for u to starve urself then they are no good for you

  17. Aishwarya Rai says:

    Interesting discussion. And well said Lindsay.

    My vitals are 34′ 23′ 34′ on a 5’7 frame and so I’m considered to have a perfect figure by many. I eat three meals a day and have never dieted a day in my life, and I’m totally healthy. Some people are just naturally thin and you can’t blame them for that, I think thats the case with many models. I personally find that looking at slim, lean people with toned bodies is pleasing to the eye, but people who are a bit heavier a.k.a normal weight and healthy also look good….they have this glow of health and radiance and that’s attractive.

    I personally don’t find overweight people physically attractive. But that is their choice if they wish to stay that way, and I respect that. I wonder sometimes, why do fat people fight so hard and make such an effort to defend their rights to remain overweight? If they put half as much effor into eating healthy and exercising, it would be a wiser and more rewarding decision for them. No offense.

  18. i think that slimmer models on the catwalk look far better than fat ones i also think that no model on a catwalk for fashion week should be bigger than a size 10, but with skinny models you have to look beyond there apperence and into their health some models are eating tissue and cotten wool because it contains no calories i think models shoub be slim & skinny but not anorexic & ill.

  19. Darksequencer says:

    Not ill ! – Yes that´s a right word.
    And we shouldn´t think about any models to be banned from the catwalk – this wouldn´t make it any better, it would get worse. When the too skinny ones start to cheat…maybe even with heavy weight breast and ass implants…or they start drinking 10 liters before weight check.
    How many would die then????
    The BMI can´t help thats only politics.
    The real problem is: We urgently should get back to self-controlled actions, away from being remote-controlled by media.

  20. Babiie says:

    WELL HERE’S THE DEAL. I, FOR ONE, AM VERY SKINNY. I’M NOT HAPPY THAT I’M SKINNY BUT I AM. I WOULD KILL TO GAIN A FEW MORE POUNDS. MAYBE FIT INTO A SIZE 1-2 VERY TIGHTLY. AND I AM ALSO PRETTY TALL. BUT I AM NOT ANOREXIC SKINNY. THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT SKINNY, BUT THEY STOP EATING, OR COME UPON EATING DISORDERS JUST TO GET SKINNY NEED TO GET A LIFE. LOOSING WEIGHT IS FINE, EVERYONE WOULD LIKE TO LOOSE SOME WEIGHT SOMETIMES, BUT DON’T LOOSE YOUR ENTIRE BODY WHILE DOING SO. YOU MIGHT SEE SOMEONE SKINNY AND SAY, “WOW, SHE IS SO SKINNY. DOESN’T SHE EAT?” BUT DON’T BLAME THAT PERSON, BECAUSE IT’S NOT THEIR FAULT. i FOR ONE SHOULD KNOW. I EAT 5 TIMES MORE THAN ALL MY FRIENDS, ALWAYS. AND YET, I’M SKINNIER THAN ALL OF THEM. SO THE BOTTOM LINE ISM JUST BECAUSE YOU SEE SOMETHING ON THE CAT-WALK DOESN’T MEAN YOU HAVE TO BE LIKE THEM. JUST LEAVE THE WOMEN ON THE CAT-WALK DO WHAT THEY HAVE TO. DON’T TRY TO CHANGE ANYONE, THEY NEED TO CHANGE THERE SELVES. IF SOMEONE WAS EATING SHIT ON THE CAT-WALK, WOULD YOU DO IT? EXACTLY. I’M SORRY. I KNOW THAT THIS WAS A LONG COMMENT. BUT IT REALLY AGGRAVATED ME TO SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE COMMENTING, BECAUSE THEY DON’T HAVE A CLUE WHAT IT IS LIKE FOR SKINNY PEOPLE.

  21. Victoria says:

    Wow, most of you people are retards. What is the debate here, that most of those girls are starving themselves to death, and the industry supports this behavior. There are many ppl who are naturally thin, and that’s fine, but the majority of people can’t be that thin without health risks. I agree with Spain, they are trying to make the industry more accountable. There are plus size models to show that type of clothing, and they wouldn’t be in the same shows, so there is no debate there. Seriously, are most of these comments made by adults? I’d hate to think people are really that dense. :|

  22. kittycats74 says:

    I don’t think we should ban skinny models.
    But it’s horrible that we live in a society where anorexia has taken over the fashion industry. The bad thing is, models are willing to go through with it.

    However, we need to keep in mind that many models are NATURALLY skinny.
    That includes me. I don’t think there has ever been a point in my life where my bmi was over 17.5
    And trust me, I definitly do not have an eating disorder. I take in more calories than everyone I know, about 4,000 calories a day. I never feel full! But my mom is naturally skinny, so I think I have her blessed genetics.

  23. chelsea120691 says:

    I agree with kittycats74 we shouldn’t ban people because they are skinny. I am 5’7 and 100 pounds…NATURALLY! I don’t starve myself so why should I have my job taken away because that is the way God made me? What people do with their own bodies is their own choice. No one should have a say in what they can or can’t do based on the outward appearance.And Victoria the industry doesn’t support that behavior. Unless you are a model, you wouldn’t know this so I will gladly inform you. The “industry” supports beauty, not how you get that way. If you are naturally blessed or stick your finger down your throat, they don’t care! It’s none of their business. All they care about is if they can get money off of you and it all depends on what you are selling, sure thick girls can’t walk in high fashion couture but skinny models couldn’t walk for a store that only sells plus sizes. its all about the product. if a model starves herself to literal death, it’s HER fault not the industries’. I’m also agreeing with Babiie people who aren’t natural “stick figures” or “skeletors” don’t know what it’s like to go to high school and have people make fun of you BECAUSE your skinny. People need to be left to make their own decisions this is America and we are free to do what we want, whether other people like it or not. They can’t ban us for that!
    -Chelsea Simo`ne

  24. skinniwannabe says:

    omg i wish i was size zero am a 10 n FAT wow these girlzz are well skinni i would die 2 luk lyke that bt am on my way i make my self sick i don eat and i excersize so much bt n it’ll work while mi dad dunt no cnt wait 2 luk lyke that u girls r stunnazz

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