Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ali Michael: Bulimia one season, Balenciaga the next

ali michael, balenciaga SS09/wwd

“On Tuesday morning in Paris, as the fashion elite were gathering at the Balenciaga show, 17-year-old model Ali Michael was heading home to the U.S. far earlier than anticipated”. So read the lead of Christina Binkley’s February 28th Wall Street Journal story “Wasn’t skinny supposed to be out of fashion?". Fast forward to Tuesday 30th September and there is Michael, in Balenciaga’s SS09 show.

Balenciaga is a great get for any model – and it tops off a very successful comeback season for Michael, whose many other SS09 shows have included Burberry and Christian Dior.

However the Balenciaga coup seems nothing short of extraordinary for a model who, as Binkley reported, was told by Paris casting directors last season that she was too fat because she had gained 5lbs – and who later went on the record about her battles with an eating disorder and the unrealistic pressures on runway models to be thin.

Many, including Michael herself, believed this critical commentary on the modelling business could spell the end of her career.

At the time, some of the comments from anonymous industry insiders on blogs such as COACD were fairly revealing.

One commenter suggested that casting agents boycott American models altogether and only use foreign girls - apparently inferring that "foreign" girls can be better counted on to put up and shut up.

lanvin FW0708 - march 07/

anna sui, FW0809 - feb 08/

What happened in the interim? That’s the real story here.

Did Michael return to the shows exactly the same weight that she was in February, but as a ‘celebrity’ this time, buoyed by all the publicity? Or did she in fact lose weight? Some seem to think so.


FND said...

I also noticed the same thing, she is in a lot of the big shows...But I dont think she gained weight, especially if you see her Sonia Rykiel pics but her face has changed and became more matured looking. I dunno. Maybe she had grown taller and now the weight is a non issue.

She looked really good. Might give Hillary Rhoda a run for her money.

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