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MelanieW
1st April 2007, 06:23
It seems the fashion industry is on the brink of claiming another victim.

It has been revealed that Allegra Versace, the daughter of Donatella Versace and niece of Gianni Versace, is suffering from anorexia.

The Times ran this piece about it,

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article1596866.ece

noting how the signs of her illness were always there.

But, of course, the fashion world looked the other way (as it always does):

In fashion circles Allegra’s worryingly sinewed appearance has long been a taboo topic, talked about only in whispers for fear of upsetting the powerful Versace machine. Rumours about her condition were confined to the internet.

One discussion board entry in 2004 began: “The poor girl looks so bad I almost didn’t want to post this, but politely ignoring the situation isn’t going to make it go away. Forget eating a sandwich, she looks like she needs an IV .”

Another posted last year read: “Somebody feed Allegra Versace. That poor thing is skeletal. She needs help (and a cheese-burger) right quick!”

Last week the worries finally spilt into the mainstream media, spurring the family to make a public statement. No, Allegra is not in hospital, it said. She is living at a private address and her health is stable.

But her mother Donatella publicly admitted for the first time that Allegra “has been battling anorexia, a very serious disease, for many years”.

The family is understandably keen to protect Allegra, 20, and last week threatened legal action against anyone publishing certain pictures of her. But her position within one of the iconic fashion houses is hard to ignore: it throws a stark light on the debate over “size zero” ultra-thin models.

Her sad plight encapsulates the dilemma faced by the fashion industry, which flaunts thinness as the holy grail, yet flinches from confronting its dark side.
A few days earlier, another Times writer described Allegras recent appearance:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/jane_shilling/article1586708.ece?openComment=true

Remember: this is exactly what the fashion world promotes as its "ideal":

The pictures show a frame from which the flesh has vanished, so that the skin is draped over bone and tendon alone. We are sadly familiar with the sight of wasted bodies from TV reports of famine in Africa. To see a young woman in a similar state of emaciation attending a party, tricked out in all the trappings of an affluent good time — sparkly cocktail dress with matching high heels and little clutch bag, her artificially plumped and glossed lips protruding from her wasted face — is almost more dreadful, for the starving young woman in the party dress had a choice about whether or not to eat, and the fact that she chose not to is an eloquent statement of malaise.
Of all of the things Ive read about this tragic situation, the most appalling was the statement from one writer, that commenting about this situation would somehow be "inappropriate," out of "sympathy" with the victim.

Can you believe it? How convenient - for the fashion industry! That is like saying that one cannot talk about the dangers of cigarettes, out of "sympathy" with victims of lung cancer, or that one cannot talk about the dangers of the nuclear industry, out of "sympathy" with the victims of Chernobyl.

Its madness. That kind of thinking would result in no public dangers [I]ever being discussed, once they claimed a victim - leaving those dangers to threaten many more lives.

It is not only "appropriate," but necessary to talk about the culpability of the fashion industry in this case - so that more girls dont suffer the fate of this young woman.

NOT to talk about it - THAT would be truly irresponsible. It would be like failing to alert the public of a lethal contaminant in the water supply.

This young woman grew up in the epicentre of fashion, surrounded by a cadaverous "standard" of appearance all her life. This deathly look became the "norm" to her, and tragically, she has emulated it - to the point of threatening her own life.

For once and for all, before more girls sicken and die, it is time to put an end to the inhuman and life-threatening malnourished "standard" of appearance that is being glamourized by the fashion industry, and is destroying the self-esteem of generations of young women - and all too often, claiming their lives as well.

Ban underweight models, and compel the fashion world to display a more natural, curvy, womanly standard of appearance. No other solution seems possible.

Kaitlynn
1st April 2007, 22:40
Of all of the things Ive read about this tragic situation, the most appalling was the statement from one writer, that commenting about this situation would somehow be "inappropriate," out of "sympathy" with the victim.

Can you believe it? How convenient - for the fashion industry! That is like saying that one cannot talk about the dangers of cigarettes, out of "sympathy" with victims of lung cancer, or that one cannot talk about the dangers of the nuclear industry, out of "sympathy" with the victims of Chernobyl.
Very, very true. Everyone NEEDS to talk about this, so that the fashion industry's deformed standard of womanly appearance becomes exposed for the toxic influence it is.

Showbiz Tonight had a great segment on the sad plight of Allegra Versace earlier this week. I'll cut and paste an excerpt from their transcript of the show.

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0703/28/sbt.01.html

Note that even these entertainment reporters acknowledge the damaging effects that the anorexia-worshipping fashion world had on this young girl.

Also, notice how many other celebrities' daughters have suffered a similar fate:

[A.J.] HAMMER (voice-over): Look closely at this 20-year-old, stick thin, a size 0 at best. This is Allegra Versace, yes, Versace. She`s the heiress to the multi-million dollar Versace fashion line and the only daughter of Donatella Versace. After years of rumors, her parents are now confirming to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that Allegra, whose name means happy in Italian, has been suffering from a terrible eating disorder; "Our daughter Allegra has been battling anorexia, a very serious disease, for many years."

Donatella and her estranged husband, Paul Beck, also tell us, quote, "she`s receiving the best medical care possible to help overcome the illness, and is responding well."

BEN WIDDICOMBE, "NEW YORK DAILY NEWS": There`s an enormous amount of glamour in the Versace lifestyle. That`s what they say on the ads. So, there must be tremendous pressure to conform, to be beautiful, to be skinny when you`re surrounded by that kind of beautiful opulence.

MICHELLE LEE RIBEIRO, DEPUTY EDITOR, "COSMOGIRL": You can`t ignore the fact that she`s been around fashion and super models her whole life and she saw women that were super skinny.

HAMMER: Allegra Versace`s battle with anorexia is the latest tragedy to hit the world famous family. Her uncle, Johnny Versace, was gunned down in broad daylight by a crazed serial killer outside his Miami mansion in 1997.

WIDDICOMBE: Allegra was the apple of Johnny`s eye. She was his favorite niece, his favorite relative and that was reflected in the will, because she was left the majority stake in the Versace company.

HAMMER: Allegra inherited a majority stake in the fashion house when she turned 18. Her mother controls 20 percent of the business, taking over as designer when Johnny was murdered. But Donatella has had her fair share of problems too, admitting she was addicted to cocaine, something Ben Widdicombe of the "New York Daily News" thinks contributed to Allegra`s eating issues.

WIDDICOMBE: Allegra was having trouble coming to terms with her own anorexia, given that her mother was using cocaine to stay skinny, essentially. So there was a sense that Allegra wasn`t in the environment that was going to make her well.

HAMMER: These pictures SHOWBIZ TONIGHT obtained of Allegra, her face gaunt and her bones clearly visible, could very well spark a new debate on super skinny models, models that have walked the catwalk for her very own company, Versace.

WIDDICOMBE: Allegra`s own struggle with anorexia is bringing that to the floor again. Hopefully, Allegra`s struggle, given that she`s on the business side of one of the most recognizable fashion brand names in the world, maybe things will start to change now.

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you Allegra Versace is not the only celebrity daughter to suffer from anorexia. Olivia Newton-John recently revealed that her daughter, Chloe, suffered from the disease for two years. Lionel Richie`s daughter, Nicole, has made headlines for her battle with her weight.

And then there`s famed designer Bradley Bayou`s daughter Alexis. Bayou sky rocketed to fashion`s A-list dressing curvy stars like Oprah Winfrey and Queen Latifa. But watch as he tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson how shocking it was to discover his own daughter was quietly suffering from [an eating disorder].

BRADLEY BAYOU, DESIGNER: I live in a world that is consumed by eating disorders, obviously, especially as models have gotten skinnier and skinnier. And I was completely taken off guard when my youngest daughter called me and told me that Alexis basically had collapsed. And it was a major shock to me, because, of all people in the world, you don`t think it`s right in your backyard.

HAMMER: Alexis says the pressure of feeling like she had to fit in her father`s fashion world led to [an eating disorder] and diet pills.

ALEXIS BAYOU...: I always thought to fit into the fashion world, to fit into my dad`s kind of glamorous world, I needed to lose 20 pounds, be able to fit in these tiny clothes, which just was not realistic for my body.
From the victims of the disease, even to industry reporters, everyone is acknowledging that the cadaverous standard of appearance in fashion and the media is the problem.

So why doesn't someone put a stop to this?

Of course, these celebrities represent tens of thousands of young women who are battling the same illness - all for what? For WHAT? Because some designers and photographers - who aren't even attractive to women - want to have their clothes displayed on walking skeletons? What gives them the right to hold all of society hostage to their unnatural vision? What gives them the right to dictate that women aren't supposed to look like women, aren't supposed to eat, aren't supposed to exhibit their natural curves?

Their monopoly over modern culture has to end, before more young women suffer and die - so very, very needlessly.

HSG
2nd April 2007, 20:49
<br>Perhaps the most revealing statement in the first linked article is the following:<p><blockquote><i>"The celebrity industry is still uncertain how to balance its adulation of beauty against addiction to thinness."</i></blockquote><p>Let's leave aside the issue that the "beauty" which this industry celebrates isn't beautiful at all. The alarming description of Allegra Versace's wasted frame could apply, verbatim, to 90% of all models and actresses in the public eye.

(Somehow, only when an individual who fits such a description is formally acknowledged to have an eating disorder does the true horror of their appearance become obvious.)

The solution to the supposed problem of "balance" that the reporter notes is staring this industry right in the face. The fashion world simply needs to preserve its "adulation of beauty" while <i>dispensing with</i> its "addiction to thinness"--because thinness forms no part of beauty (and in fact, runs contrary to it).

The fashion and celebrity media could maintain their "adulation of beauty" by continuing to promote stylish clothing, hairstyling, cosmetics, and any other items that form a part of this industry, but refusing to use underweight models, and instead showcasing these wares on plus-size goddesses.

As Dr. Helga Dittmar's studies have demonstrated, beauty is not the problem--unnatural thinness is. It is the media's promotion of a cadaverous manner of appearance that destroys women's self-esteem, and leads to eating disorders, and general lifelong malaise.

If the full-figured, Classical beauty ideal of Western aesthetic history were restored, this damaging influence would be removed, leaving behind only the positive effects of the craftsmanship of this branch of the decorative arts.

Plus-size models and actresses are superior in beauty to today's food-deprived, curve-deprived "icons." And at a time when eating disorders are proliferating in such a frightening way, imperiling (and even taking) the lives of so many young women, they are the only representatives that a responsible media could choose, to present as an image of ideal femininity.

Ultra-glamorous Christina Schmidt (Wilhelmina), proving the point so vividly:<p><center><img src="http://judgmentofparis.com/cs/christina85b.jpg"></center>