There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the recent ads from Ralph Lauren that were photoshopped to anorexia, Brigitte's decision to ban models from its pages and body image issues in general. Vogue's Creative Director, Grace Coddington, a former model herself, decided to weigh in on the discussion (pun only slightly intended) to ex-Men's Vogue editor Jay Fielden.
According to New York Magazine, Coddington admitted, "It is a big problem. I remember when I was you, they told me that if I didn't lose weight I'd be out of the show, so I spent a week living off of coffee. But I'm a very levelheaded person. These problems nowadays are with kids much, much younger than that, and that's most of the problem — when they're young and vulnerable."
Surprisingly, Coddington went on to sympathize with Ralph Lauren saying, "Most of his models are not super-skinny, so this is sort of an isolated situation, and I think it's unfair if he gets a lot of bad publicity because of it. But it is a big problem in the fashion industry. And you go to meeting to discuss it, and you think it's kind of futile, because it's such a big thing, and in the end people are always asking for more and they're always asking for thinner."
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There is a clear correlation between girls who look up to the fashion industry and come away believing they have to be unhealthily skinny to be beautiful. How to solve that seems to be the problem no one can come with an answer to. Coddington addressed how the issue affects work at Vogue. "[Models] have to be a little thinner than you and I because you always photograph a little fatter but you don't have to go to the extreme they go to. And because they're kids, they take it too far, and they can't regulate their lives, and next thing you know they're anorexic, and it is tragic. And I don't know what the answer is, except to keep on it, which we're all trying to do. Anna's trying to do it. Personally we're not allowed, at Vogue, to work with girls who are very thin, but you never know, because you could book them and think they're a certain size, and they turn up on the shoot and suddenly they've spun into this anorexic situation."
It is hard to solve a problem that seems to have no one to blame and very few who are willing to make drastic changes in the way business is done.
However, Donatella Versace, in a Q&A piece earlier today on Vogue's Daily Fashion Blog, explained why fashion designers choose not to include plus sizes in their designs. "We do offer larger sizes at Versace…I certainly wouldn't want to do a plus-size line, as I have no problem with women of any size wearing my clothes. I guess some styles lend themselves to being scaled up, while some others just don't work. Sometimes it can depend on the specific piece."
This may be the exact attitude that insists on keeping fashion skinny.
Story Sources: NyMag, Vogue Daily Fashion Blog
Photo Source: WWD