December 11, 2006 -- LEADERS of New York's fashion industry will meet soon to figure out how to deal with increasing calls for laws to keep dangerously underfed models off the catwalks.
Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour is spearheading the effort to get the session together. "Anna held a symposium on the issue, and she's planning another meeting this week," said one model agency chief. "We would much rather come up with a way of self-policing ourselves than have regulations rammed down our throats."
The head of another modeling agency said, "Everyone should take a look at it, and if there's a problem, let's fix it."
Italy's government and its fashion chiefs said last week they're working on a plan to crack down on ultra-thin models who appear to be suffering from eating disorders.
The move came three months after Spain passed a law requiring that every model have a body-mass index of at least 18 (a measure of body fat). Last month, Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston died at age 21 from anorexia.
Besides the beauties' health, the fashion honchos fear they'll be blamed for promoting unhealthy body images for generations of teenage girls.
Washington Post fashion writer Robin Givhan says many models today are "pale, almost to the point of translucent, and astonishingly thin. They look positively rickety. Seeing one in a swimsuit can make you shudder. They are not sexy or even particularly pretty. How can they be when they look as though the life has been sucked out of them?"
The skinniest seem to come from Eastern Europe. Givhan names Snejana Onopka, Vlada Roslyakova and Sasha Pivovarova.
"Over a typical runway season, the same models appear so often on different runways that it is easy to become immune to how shockingly thin they are. After a while, it seems normal that a model's thighs are the same circumference as a 12-year-old's upper arm," Givhan wrote.
"If the industry does not think carefully about the current aesthetic," she warned, "what comes next could be truly ghastly."
Monday, December 11, 2006
Today, from Page Six, Anna Wintour enters the too-skinny model debate: