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Old 23rd February 2011   #1
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Join Date: January 2010
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Default London Fashion Week promoting anorexia (article)

Former Marie Jones editor Liz Jones has written a devastating slam of the straight-size designers' continuing promotion of anorexia at London Fashion Week.

It's a must read, especially as contrasted with the luscious, robust, full-figured beauty of FWPS and the Lane Bryant runway show in Las Vegas.

While those wonderful, life-affirming events were going on, this is what the so-called "mainstream" fashion industry was pushing:

The images physically disgust me. There isn't even a trace of beauty there, just hideous, cadaverous ugliness. The only reaction I have is complete repulsion.

Here are some of the most significant passages from Mrs. Jones' article.

Skeletal models and super-sized hypocrisy: As fashion designers insist they've turned their backs on anorexic chic, do they think we're blind?

By Liz Jones
23rd February 2011

At a London Fashion Week where one designer, Maria Grachvogel, was forced to take in the seams on her samples because she couldn’t find any models who were a size ten, a ghost appeared on the catwalk.

It was as though I were looking in a mirror, at me aged 18, weighing 5st, about to be drip-fed on a ward in St Barts hospital.

I sat up straight on my narrow gilt chair. I looked around me to see if anyone else had seen what I had seen. But no, it was all sycophantic smiles, or that other thing fashion folk do, just the tops of expensively highlighted heads, tap, tapping away on their iPads.

I looked over at front row guest Samantha Cameron, but even she had failed to go pale. It is the drip, drip, drip effect, you see, when so many girls swim like matchsticks before your eyes, a death mask on the face of a teen becomes unremarkable.

Jones was herself anorexic, so she speaks with authority on this issue. The last point, in bold, is crucial -- the fashion industry comes to accept this parade of repulsive emaciation because it mutually brainwashes itself into seeing these diseased frames as "normal." It would be like working 24/7 in a tuberculosis ward: over time, anyone healthy would look abnormal, while the diseased, dying patients would look standard.

Jones goes on:

I was at the collection for the autumn/winter shown by Erdem, the hot Brit designer of the moment. And this was the "hottest" model of the season: Chloe Memisevic. She was back on the catwalk yesterday for Mary Katrantzou looking horribly emaciated...On a Body Mass Index scale, she would hover somewhere below number 15...A healthy BMI falls somewhere [above] 18.5. This means she is at risk of brittle bone disease later in life. And heart failure. And pneumonia. And an early, horrible death...

Disenchanted by what I had seen at Erdem, I turned up at the Mark Fast show on Monday night, in the hope of a breath of normality. After all, it was this knitwear designer who had caused such a storm a few seasons ago by using bigger girls on his catwalk, a decision that caused his stylist, a woman who is probably so starved herself she has started to consume her own organs, to storm out.

But while there were bigger girls on his runway, notably Gwyneth Harrison and Laura Catterall, who are both size 14, there were two of the thinnest girls I saw all week: Hannah Hardy, whose hip bones could grate parmesan; and Martyna Budna, who helpfully appeared in just a bra top, so we could break the boredom by counting her ribs.

This is why the idea of mixing plus-size models (or rather, in this cause, faux-plus models) with the shrivelled corpses that constitute today's straight-size models is a terrible idea. It all but gives sanction for the designers to keep putting girls on the runway who are so severely anorexic-looking that they are putting their own lives in danger, and worse, triggering eating disorders among young women in general.

The only solution is an all-out ban on underweight models, accompanied by a mandated use of plus-size models.

On the Friday before London Fashion Week kicked off, I had gone along to a packed debate on this very topic held at the National Portrait Gallery in London...The most sense all evening was talked by Erin O’Connor, who described going backstage at a show, trying to get into a pair of trousers and finding she couldn’t get them on. This woman has the dimensions of a reed.

Make the trousers bigger!’ she yelled. ‘Make them bigger.’ We all cheered.

Kiki Kendrick, who came up with an award-winning self-esteem campaign for The Body Shop in 1997, featuring a size 16 cartoon doll called Ruby, explained that a woman is like an onion. If she has layers of love, family and self-esteem around her, the negative images in the media will not be able to penetrate. But if she does not have those protective layers, and so many of us don’t, then she is very vulnerable indeed to images telling her to buy stuff and to change herself.

Now, this is the passage that is truly shocking:

It was Lorraine Candy who made me see red. Asked about the airbrushing used by her magazine [Elle], she said: "My readers want amazing and beautiful."

Amazing? Beautiful? Any person who thinks that the skull-faced cadavers who walked in London Fashon Week are "beautiful" has such a terminally warped and diseased notion of what is ideal that they cannot be permitted to have so much influence on culture and on women. No sane person could find such nauseating emaciation appealing.

Now, this is where the article becomes especially pertinent to this forum:

After the debate, we were all invited to view an exhibition of photographs of women supposedly of all ages and shapes and sizes, taken by celebrity fashion photographer Rankin. It purported to be a celebration of ordinary women’s bodies, but it was nothing of the sort.

First, these supposedly realistic images were airbrushed to look lovely, but, second, what I cannot countenance is that the models chosen to depict plus size were a size 12! This is not plus size...!

Bravo. It's one thing for those of us who follow the plus-size industry to state, time and again, that a size 12 is NOT plus-size, but for someone with a background in the straight-size industry to confirm and support this point is extremely encouraging.

Plus-size must be, at the very least, a U.S. size 16 or bigger, or, as Liz Jones indicates, it does nothing to counter fashion-industry thin-centric propaganda.

Just before London Fashion Week, I asked Carole White, the boss of Premier Model Management and one of the most influential agents in the world, why she thinks nothing has changed and why models on the catwalk are still so tiny.

I’ve campaigned on this issue since 1999, when I became editor of Marie Claire, and I told White my belief is this arrogant industry has merely been paying lip service...

White again passed the buck, saying she thinks it is down to the demands of the industry in New York, Paris and Milan. There, everyone has ignored the age limit of 16, using underage and underweight girls on shoots and in shows, champagne on tap backstage.

Liz Jones mentions that all the so-called "curvier" models are actually very thin, and then she makes the most important and insightful point in the article:

These girls have been used as a smokescreen, so that the gay men who run the industry can continue to peddle the idea that women should look like adolescent boys (it was no coincidence that nerdy, weedy boys walked the runway in womenswear this season). This is their dream, not ours.

Bravo to Jones for having the courage to state this so directly and unambiguously. It's true. The sociopaths who run the fashion industry don't care about women's health. They are simply obsessed with their own perverted vision and inflict their toxic, grotesque aesthetic on society. And not until they are forced, by law, to reform their practices, will this industry ever be anything other than a blight on society, one which ruins the lives of half of the population.

Jones ends her article on a tragic note:

The week...was a sad one indeed. Sad for all those women out there who are easy prey to these overpaid idiots. Who will go on a diet..Who will worry about fitting into that bikini come summer. Who will look at these impossible, clearly harmful images and find they just don’t measure up, and never will.

I wish Erdem had come along on that Friday night and met one of the women in the audience, Nita Dickson. She is the mother of Sophie, who died in her 40s from anorexia-related illness. I had become friends with Sophie — who in the end weighed 3st — while working with her on a documentary. I remember sitting talking to her, in her South London terrace house, and gasping when two of her teeth clattered to the floor.

This is what these beautiful fashion shows don’t show you, the ugly side of being thin. Nita had come along to hear the debate, hopeful that a decade after her daughter’s death, something had changed. I watched her leave the building that night, shoulders stooped, impossibly sad and alone.

How many more mothers have to go through what Nita has gone through before someone, somewhere, says: ‘Enough!’

The situation is intolerable. The cancer on society that is the straight-size industry must be made to change, and only government intervention can make it happen.
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