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September 14, 2006

For example


First they came for the Size 9s. But I was not a Size 9 so I said nothing. Busy-bodies of Madrid have banned "excessively skinny" models from working the Pasarela Cibeles later this month. This is explicitly sizeist if you ask me; as I suspect you were just about to.

Excessively skinny fashion models will be barred from a major Madrid fashion show later this month for fear they could send the wrong message to young Spanish girls, local media reported. Madrid's regional government, which is co-financing the Pasarela Cibeles, has vetoed around a third of the models who took part in last year's show because they weigh too little.

I have an idea: Let's have some gender-challenged uggos tromp down the catwalk in crocs and burqas handing out anti-smoking pamphlets. It might not make the busy-bodies happy but it would keep the rest of us from being which is, after all, the only goal they clutch to their consumptive chests. The ban is obviously absurd and in all likelihood a crass, albeit successful, attempt at publicity. Though I expect the Madrid regional government might do better to attract more talent to the Pasarela Cibeles, thin on the ground in years past and with no obvious latter-day Balenciaga on the horizon. Excepting the above pictured Fernando Lemoniez whose work is the bomb.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at September 14, 2006 06:34 AM


Ghost - Isn't it a ban on a body-mass index of less than 18? I don't know exactly what that computes to visually. (Depending on the thickness of the skin, can I lay pennies on the spinal discs of a BMI-17?) I agree with the spirit of your post (in terms of nagging busy-bodies), but I enjoy healthy midwestern girls with a bit of meat-on-the-bones and if this decree flowed from the Spanish fashion industry itself, I think I might give them a tip of the hat. BTW, the chicks in picture above are definitely skinny, but I don't find them repulsively so - in fact, they are cute (in that annoying pouty kind of way), but they rather obviously need a few porter/stouts under the belt.

Posted by: Joshua H. [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 14, 2006 09:18 AM

I quite agree it would be excellent to see a wider range of body-types on the catwalk and that this would probably be a good thing for the industry both as a promotional vehicle and given the range of body-types of the general buying public. That said, if we are talking haute couture here the customer base is only about ten-thousand world-wide. Unless the aim is for Madrid to compete with Düsseldorf...

Something too that is often missed in scandalized disccusion of models and body-types is that the aim is to show off the clothes rather than the woman wearing them. Tall and skinny makes for the best clothes rack if not for a Venus-in-human-form of the Marilyn Monroe type. This is a paradoxical or at the least problematical aim because the end product is meant to be worn by women, (rather than for the clothes to wear the woman. Quite the opposite of life on the runway.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 14, 2006 09:50 AM

Ham-handed, silly and probably counterproductive, interfering gov't effort, to be sure. But I can't tell you how many times I've seen models with the hollow eyes and protruding bones of concentraction camp victims. It's not natural.

I remember Kate Moss (confirmed cokehead) being interviewed years ago backstage before a show. She was upset that people were blaming her for anorexia issues amongst young women. She claimed her body was natural for her, so, what's the big deal?

She's right, partly, of course (assuming her body IS natural). It isn't her fault at all. What's of issue is that Calvin Klein and others chose her and others like her to model their clothes. If one assumes advertising has any impact at all on young people, then the designers choosing the models are the driving problem, not the models themselves.

Posted by: JohnAnnArbor [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 14, 2006 02:02 PM

"If one assumes advertising has any impact at all on young people, then the designers choosing the models are the driving problem, not the models themselves."

The same logic drives critics of smoking in films and television, depictions of drinking, sexuality, "reckless" driving, etc. and so forth. My reluctance to start down this road is not knowing where it ends. If these models, the designers, the conglomerates for whom many of them work, the fashion magazines, cosmetics firms, ad agencies, etc. and so forth have the power to dictate taste then it says very little for personal autonomy or indeed personal responsibility.

Frankfurt School "cultural Marxism" tends to side against "agency" leaving us subject to the whims of an ideological superstructure at odds with our freedom. Yet somehow the intellectuals can always see through the ruse and offer to do the dictating in our best interest.

I believe this is a very old dispute best summarized by Plato's suggestion that Guardians might best educate those of us worth educating and do away with such corrupting influences as the theatre. Aristotle's rebuttle regarding "catharsis" has always struck me as the more convincing.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 14, 2006 02:10 PM