Fashion, health & beauty in real life get along? Spain banned skinny models in 2006. So does Germany's Brigitte
It’s nice to see that Spain is living up to its promise to make sure that the younger generation of Spanish women not kill themselves in an attempt to be thin. Five skinny models kicked out of Spain’s Cibeles. One of the rejected models had only reached a ratio of 16, the equivalent of being 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing less than 110 pounds, said Dr. Susana Monereo, of Madrid Getafe hospital’s endocrinology and nutrition department, who along with two other doctors was in charge of assessing the models.
When the Spanish capital Madrid decided to replace the thin beauty ideal with that of curvy "real" women, it was the kind of move that millions of women around the world appeared to have silently waited for. Madrid's measures to ban very skinny fashion models and to promote healthy images of beauty and eating habits have sparked widespread international interest, a spokesman for the regional government says. "Media from as far as South Korea, Australia, the US and Argentina have contacted us," the spokesman told the DPA. A decision by Madrid's top fashion show to exclude very thin models has been imitated by shows in Milan, London, New York and the Spanish cities of Barcelona and Valencia, though they have not adopted rules as strict as those in Madrid, he explained.
"We are pioneers" in what is evolving into an international movement, the spokesman says. The first step was taken by the Pasarela Cibeles, Madrid's top fashion show in September. The show excluded five would-be models for being too thin, setting the minimum body mass index - calculated on a height-weight ratio - for models at 18.
A model measuring 1.75 metres, for instance, must thus weigh at least 56 kg. That corresponds to the minimum level set by the World Health Organization (WHO) for a person to be considered healthy. The Pasarela Cibeles repeated the move in February. A very slim person was likelier to develop diseases, nutrition expert Susana Monereo said on announcing the exclusion of five models.
A spokesman for Ralph Lauren said: 'For over 42 years, we have built a brand based on quality and integrity.
'After further investigation, we have learned that we are responsible for the poor imaging and retouching that resulted in a very distorted image of a woman's body. 'We have addressed the problem and going forward will take every precaution to ensure that the calibre of our artwork represents our brand appropriately.'
German magazine Brigitte wants to feature more images of 'real life' women.
Germany's most popular women's magazine is banning professional models from its pages and replacing them with images of "real life" women instead. In what is seen as the latest attempt to stamp out the "size zero" model, the editors of Brigitte said it would in future only use women with "normal figures".
"From 2010 we will not work with professional models any more," said Andreas Lebert, editor-in-chief, adding that he was "fed up" with having to retouch pictures of underweight models who bore no resemblance to ordinary women. For years we've had to use Photoshop to fatten the girls up," he said. "Especially their thighs, and decolletage. But this is disturbing and perverse and what has it got to do with our real reader?"
He said the move was a response to complaints by readers who said they had no connection with the women depicted in fashion features and "no longer wanted to see protruding bones".
"Today's models weigh around 23% less than normal women," Lebert said. "The whole model industry is anorexic."
Brigitte, which is Germany's best-selling women's title with more than 700,000 copies, offers readers a familiar diet of fitness, lifestyle, recipes and sex, which tends to appeal to upwardly mobile younger career women.
Lebert said the magazine would call on German women to put themselves forward as models for fashion and makeup articles. "We're looking for women who have their own identity, whether it be the 18-year-old A-level student, the company chairwoman, the musician, or the footballer," he said, adding that he wanted a mix between prominent and completely unknown women and would look out for politicians and actresses interested in modeling.
Critics accused Brigitte of seeking a cost-cutting strategy at a time of declining magazine sales, and of dressing it up as a campaign issue to attract new readers, but Lebert insisted the "ordinary women" would be paid the same amounts that the magazine would otherwise pay model agencies.
No one has yet been signed up for the new initiative, but Lebert is thought to be scouting around. He will undoubtedly extend an invitation to Chancellor Angela Merkel. While her fashion sense has sometimes been questioned, she makes headlines each year with her eye-catching choices of ballgowns at the annual Wagner festival in Bayreuth, and she recently had a Barbie doll modeled after her. Other figureheads might include arguably the most successful female tennis player of all time, Steffi Graf, or the country's popular family minister, mother of seven, Ursula von der Leyen.
German commentators said that Brigitte's move had clearly been inspired by British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman's recent appeal to major fashion houses to end the "size-zero" culture.
Two years ago Spain introduced a law banning models who were "too thin" from the catwalks.
Model agencies reacted with scepticism to the Brigitte plan. Louisa von Minckwitz, owner of Louisa Models in Munich and Hamburg, where models have to be "size 36 (UK size 10), tending towards size 34 (UK size 8)", said she understood the rage about underweight models but doubted that readers really wanted to buy a magazine to look at ordinary women. "The fact is that women want to see clothes on beautiful, aesthetically pleasing people," she said.
Size zero debate
• In 2006 the fashion world was rocked after a string of models, including Uruguayan sisters Luisel and Eliana Ramos, died after extreme dieting. The Council of Fashion Designers of America recommended that runway models be aged over 16, Spain banned models weighing less than 8st 11lb from Madrid's Fashion Week and Italy banned stick-thin women from Milan's fashion shows.
• In January 2007, Spanish shop window dummies were increased to size 10 following an agreement between Spanish retail chains such as Zara and Mango and the country's health ministry.
• In April 2008 French MPs, fashion industry leaders and advertisers signed a separate voluntary charter on promoting healthier body images.
• In September 2009, American Glamour magazine was applauded after publishing a picture of "plus size" model Lizzie Miller, without airbrushing the image.
BERLIN - CURVY women have no place on the catwalk, iconic German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld was quoted as saying, after a magazine said it was banning skinny models in favour of 'real women'.
'No one wants to see curvy women,' Lagerfeld was quoted as saying on the website of news magazine Focus on Sunday. 'You've got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly,' he said. The world of fashion is about 'dreams and illusions', he said, dismissing as 'absurd' the debate prompted by Brigitte magazine which said it would no longer feature professional models on its pages.
Brigitte, one of Germany's top women's magazines, said last week it would only publish photographs of 'real women' after readers complained they could not identify with the models depicted.
MARCH 18, 2015 - France, the capital of Fashion, steps into the Skinny Model Debate PARIS — France, which often seems to have style and elegance written into its genetic code, is again confronting one of the dark sides of fashion: the glamorization of too-thin women.
The French Parliament is debating legislation that would effectively set minimum weights for women and girls to work as models, a step that supporters of the bill say is necessary to combat the persistence of anorexia. If France approves the legislation, it would almost certainly raise the debate to a new level, especially in Paris, the spiritual capital of the fashion world. An effort to pass similar provisions in 2008 failed after heavy criticism from the fashion industry.
Photos courtesy of Brigitte, Vivirlatino, AP, Getty Images, The Couture Chronicles, and Huffington Post
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