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Armani Conquers China, Chastises the Pope June 01st, 2012 @ 11:53 AM



 
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London Fashion Week: Size Not Silhouette Dominates

Godfrey Deeny
September 20th, 2006 @ 00:52 AM - London

This season in London Fashion Week, the UK media’s biggest obsession is size not silhouette.

From the London tabloids to British and Irish talk radio stations all anyone can write and talk about when it comes to London fashion Week is banning allegedly overly thin models.

“Size 0 models driving girls aged seven to anorexia,” screamed a headline in the Evening Standard, typifying the general stance of the local dailies.

The huge polemic was ignited by Madrid’s City Council, which is sponsoring this week’s shows in the Spanish capital, which decreed that any O size models should be banned from local catwalks on the grounds that thin gals were dangerously influencing young women with eating disorders.

The Council ordered that models must have a body mass index or BMI -- a scale measuring the ratio of weight to height -- of at least 18. Models who are 5 feet 9 inches tall must weigh a minimum of about 123 pounds or 56 kilos.

The World Health Organization says a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 indicates ideal weight, and people with a BMI below 18.5 to be underweight. To achieve a BMI of 18, a 5-foot-9 model would have to weigh about 125 pounds. The average runway model at that height is about 115 pounds.

As a result, some 30 percent of girls who auditioned in Madrid last week were turned away as their BMI was below 18.5.

However, British designers show no sign of wanting to acquiesce to anything similar in London. They point out that no major international model attends shows in Madrid, and that the world’s two top earning catwalkers would fail to pass the Spanish test.

Kate Moss weighs 105 pounds making her BMI around 15 and Brazilian uber babe Gisele Bundchen has a BMI of around 16.

The favorite target of the media here is Lilly Cole, the latest British model to hit the big-time, and the most frequent show opener this season in London.

One London tabloid even ran an unflattering shot of the long-legged Cold with the headline, “Is this girl a role model.” Straining credulity, they even characterized, the respectably bosomed Cole as a “waif.”

A slew of “leading dieticians” and consultants in London hospitals have also weighed, chastising the supposed glamorization of emaciated models.

In Milan, mayor Letizia Moratti has also threatened to bring in the Madrid body mass test, when the Italian season starts this coming weekend.

However, leave it to the French to down play the drama.

Didier Grumbach, president of the Chambre Syndicale, French fashion’s governing body, scoffed that “everyone would laugh,” if he attempted to place restrictions on designers and their sense of aesthetics.

“If Jean-Paul Gaultier wants to take fat people for his shows, we are not going to stop him,” Grumbach sniffed.

But back in London, Forget Off With Their Heads, it’s very much On With The Pounds.

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