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Response to comments by Claudia Schiffer and Stefano Gabbana

Some news on fashion pertinent to the contents of this site...

Claudia Schiffer speaks against pressuring fashion models to be skinny (Feb. 23, 2007)

Good, but then we have the following:

At a news conference on Wednesday night, she recommended that young models ignore their agents’ demands to diet, and said she relies on exercise and organic food to stay slim and healthy. “I don’t do any diets,'’ said Schiffer, a special guest at Liverpool’s Spring-Summer 2007 Fashion Fest. “I’m absolutely against diets.'’ (source)

Comment: Well, if young models ignore their agents’ demands, then they will lose modeling assignments, i.e., Ms. Schiffer’s advice is useless.  It also doesn’t help us to know that she doesn’t diet.  At age 36, she is geriatric by the standards of the teenage-girl-preferring fashion industry, and is surely under no pressure to diet because industry reps are probably not chasing her for modeling assignments.  Ms. Schiffer may also be among those who do not need to diet to maintain a healthy body weight.

Italian fashion designers mad at new regulations...who is surprised? (Feb. 20, 2007)

The Italian government banned ultra skinny fashion models a short while ago.  The response from Italian fashion designers is well-illustrated by the following example:     

Designer Stefano Gabbana, of the label Dolce & Gabbana - which does not belong to the fashion chamber - branded the scheme ridiculous. “I’ve heard all the designers oppose this, and I’m prepared to bet we will see the same skinny models on the catwalks as always,” he told this week’s issue of Italian Vanity Fair. “Models have always been thin … Why don’t they also introduce drug testing to see which models are using cocaine?”

Gabbana, 44, said it was unfair to blame the fashion industry for anorexia. “Women have to understand that the models on the catwalk or in the magazines are aspirational models of beauty and youth, who give us an incentive to take care of ourselves, to better ourselves - but not examples to copy.” However, Gabbana admitted if he had a teenage daughter, “I would never let her model”. (source)

Comment: I am very pleased to see a homosexual cogently sum it up, especially the comment that all designers are opposed.  But, of course!  It is obviously ridiculous to enforce standards that prevent the selection of fashion models who look like boys in their early adolescence, isn’t it?  Gabanna should think twice before betting that Italy will return to the skinny norms eventually and for good; when the public wakes up to the reason why fashion models need to be skinny, things will get a little unpleasant for the fashion industry.  Gabbana is also wrong about fashion models always being thin (apparently implying to the same degree).  Authorities may consider mandatory testing for cocaine if they had reason to believe that cocaine use was common among high-fashion models, but there is no reason to believe this.  On the other hand, skinniness is the norm among them.

It is well-justified to blame the fashion industry, in part, for anorexia in a number of women.  Gabbana tells us that high-fashion models give us (presumably women) an incentive to better ourselves but are not supposed to be copied.  How are women supposed to better themselves by not copying high-fashion models?  Are high-fashion models aspirational models of beauty and youth?  To whom?  Most women prefer above-average femininity in the looks of women, not the below-average femininity found in high-fashion models.  Most women also do not find very skinny looks socially acceptable.  Women presumably also prefer to see young adult women model clothes for them rather than girls in their mid-teens.

Gabbana would not let his teenage daughter model?  Hypocrisy anyone?  Who wouldn’t want his daughter to exemplify beauty and youth, and inspire other girls and women to take better care of themselves and better themselves?  But then Gabbana knows what dietary constraints high-fashion models are under because of people like him, and would rather have other people’s daughters suffer than his own.