Friday, June 13, 2008

"We don't want you to be anorexic. We just want you to look like you are"

So noted top Canadian model Coco Rocha during her chat to the New York fashion troops at Tuesday’s CFDA model health seminar - relaying instructions she claims to have received by fashion industry professionals. It’s a mere coincidence the meeting took place in the week following our revelations about the Elite Development board – and as far as Fully Chic is aware no reference was made of the latter. The Elite story was nevertheless picked up by the Jezebel blog in New York, The Observer and Independent newspapers in London and The New Zealand Herald. In addition to a number of blogs.

Other notable CFDA meeting quotes include, from casting director James Scully:

“Let’s stop treating models like greyhounds we plan to shoot after a race”.

And from KCD PR consultant Nian Fish:

“I think we have brainwashed ourselves into believing that [Size 0] is beautiful. It’s time to admit that we’ve all been drinking the Kool-Aid”.

On Tuesday Fish told WWD that:

“Things have been happening. There have been several well-known girls that agents took off the runway and gotten help for”.

If girls have been pulled off runways over the past 12 months, Fully Chic would love to know what they looked like.

At the top of this post are images of three of the moment’s most successful international runway models.

The shot of Ukrainian Snejana Onopka (L) is from the SS07 Calvin Klein show in New York, taken in September 2006 – at a time when Onopka’s alarmingly emaciated frame was raising many eyebrows. Onopka is no longer (quite) as thin. According to Fully Chic’s sources, at least one major luxury brand Photoshopped Onopka’s runway images that season to make her look less cadaverous in their promotional material.

This does beg the question of course: why book her for the show in the first place?

Spring forward to February and March this year and the FW0809 season, during which the two right-hand images were taken.

The shot of Norwegian Siri Tollerød is from the Herve Leger by Max Azria show in February – in New York.

It’s true that Ali Michael, who put on 5lbs in between the SS08 and FW0809 seasons, did walk in numerous shows in New York in February, including Anna Sui and Marc by Marc Jacobs. Judging by her comments in this month’s Teen Vogue however - that the industry reaction “was not as enthusiastic as it had been” – presumably she expected to do more, as with previous seasons.

Two weeks later Michael did one show in Paris but left after an icy reception from that city’s casting directors who, she claims, told her that her legs were too fat.

The shot of Belarusian Olga Sherer is from Balenciaga’s FW0809 show in Paris in March. That’s the fashion house for which Oz model Stephanie “raking it in” Carta has been doing a lot of work. Carta, you may recall, returned from her recent stint in Paris looking so emaciated her agency pulled her off the AFW runways.

Sherer, we note, currently appears in the SS08 advertising campaign of the Taiwanese-owned French brand Lanvin. And this campaign appears on at least one ‘thinspo’ website of which we are aware.

One wonders precisely how the Lanvin advertising images sit with the legislation passed in April in France, criminalising those blogs and websites which promote excessive thinness - with a two year prison sentence or 30,000 euro fine penalty.

The legislation could, reportedly, also target magazines, with French Health Minister, Roselyne Bachelot, reportedly telling parliament:

“Giving young girls advice about how to lie to their doctors, telling them what kinds of food are easiest to vomit, encouraging them to torture themselves whenever they take any kind of food is not part of liberty of expression. The messages sent out here are messages of death.”

At Tuesday’s CFDA meeting, Coco Rocha reportedly claimed one agent had instructed her to throw up after meals.

One also wonders if Tollerød, Sherer and others were obliged to provide urine samples for drug testing during a show season, whether they would fail or pass? Rocha also admitted to having used diuretics and there is anecdotal evidence that the drug Clenbuterol (among others) is as equally popular amongst the modelling ranks, as it is in athletic and horse training circles, for its fat-burning properties.

Drug testing would be one way presumably of ascertaining whether these in-demand girls are “naturally” thin – or else an army of doped-up zombies desperate to adhere to the draconian requirements of a fashion elite which has decreed the bag-of-bones look “aspirational”.

Of course were a runway model to collapse from a heart attack in front of a thousand camera crews and photographers in the middle of a high profile fashion show, it would certainly get everyone’s attention.

There would be no Photoshopping those images.

Original post and comments.


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