Savvy womens Magazine


Dying To Be Thin

If Halloween is your favourite holiday, you are in luck. It could be said that Yohji Yamamoto has seen the future and it's surely skeletal.

by Maggie from London

Dearest Lulu,

If you consider yourself not quite model-celebrity-skinny enough, the designer Yohji Yamamoto has created leather skeleton gloves to create the illusion for you and your crucial fashion-cred.

'Look at me! I'm now Nicole Richie without ceasing all food intake.' Your choice is black, white or brown, in LA or NY, at $640 for long and/or $440 for short. Gasping? I'm holding my breath and wringing my unadorned hands in anticipation of their London debut. Year long trick or treating? Save a long black pair for me'.

This month of European Fashion Week has been one extended catwalk of controversy with every UK tabloid, broadsheet, talk show, news programme caught up in the whirlwind. The tabloid headlines of The Sun shouted to all who could read: 'Bonny? No, just boney (sic)!'

Even female MPs of all political persuasions are united against the adulation of the living dead. When Parliament returns from recess, a motion calling for greater responsibility from the industry will be called for. Debate dominates: Are they too thin? Are they sending a negative body image to our young? Are they unhealthy? Mon Dieu! What do you think? Of course they are'the 'they' being those shadowy, long-legged, one-dimensional stick-figures who teeter down the catwalks for the yearly gatherings of the lean, the coiffed, the all-powerful fashionistas hiding behind those enormous-opaque-insect-referenced-shades.

Undeniably anorexics do it, bulimics do it, dieters do it, celebrities do it, Hollywood actresses do it, starving Africans do it, the infirmed and elderly do it; they are all dying to be thin.

Some by choice.

Madrid banned models if their body mass index was below 18; 30% of the models speedily set off for precedent-setting London as fast as their scrawny little legs could carry them.

The World Health Organisation considers 18.5 or below to be malnourished and the average 5'9' model has a BMI of 16. Milan promises to introduce a new code of conduct which will require all models to produce a medical certificate and as minors, a school certificate and be accompanied by an authorised tutor or parent' allowing those emaciated enough to slip right through the new rules. Peccato!

London out-and-out refused while London Fashion Week was held at the Natural History Museum. Pre-pubescent bones happen upon pre-historic bones. Was this setting a wind-up? Could those fashion devotees have a sense of irony after all? I think not.

A sampling of the great and the good:

Stuart Rose, Chairman of the British Fashion Council: 'I don't agree with a ban.'
Hillary Riva, Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council: 'I'm bored of it.'
Geordie Greig, Tatler editor: 'Don't ban them. Thin is fine, ill is not.'
'No comment': Jo Elvin, editor of Glamour'Kate Phelan, editor of Vogue.
'Unavailable for comment': Jayne Pickering, fashion director of Marie Claire'Paula Reed, fashion director of Grazia'Hamish Bowles, US Vogue'Hillary Alexander, fashion editor of the Daily Telegraph'Lucy Ewing, fashion director of Sunday Times Style. Are those the sounds of euphemistic coins clinking, back scratching I hear?

Paul Smith had the courage to reject the anorexic models and ' surprise, surprise ' the previously thought to be mute, Kate Moss, was overheard whispering to her new '3m benefactor, Philip Green at his Topshop's show for London Fashion Week: 'She's thin. She's too thin.' As apparently was Luisel Ramos. After having being advised by a model agency that she could 'make it big' if she lost a lot of weight - 3 months of green leaves and Diet Coke, applauded on the catwalk for her dietary success - two minutes later she collapsed and died.

BMI here, BMI there, BMI being bandied about like a ping pong ball in a wardrobe. If you dare to be bare: body mass index is calculated by dividing weight in pounds by height in inches squared.

While high-street shops say the average woman now wears size 14'models wear size 0. But the real problem is that they are outrageously, ludicrously, incongruously young! 12, 13, 14 wearing their mother's clothes.

Think back. What did you look like at that age? Hopeless hair, big front teeth, big feet, spots, flat'chested, gangly and most probably skinny. These lolly-stick-thin models have bodies that correspond to their ages, augmented so to speak, by not eating. The fact that they are swilling champagne for breakfast as their 6 1/2' Jimmie Choos hit the catwalk, selling several thousand pound garments to the rich, coiffed and middle- 'you can't be too rich or too thin'-aged is perilously closer to madness than mockery.

What 12 year old can afford a '750 shirt under a '1,869 Cashmere blend polo neck sweater? Perhaps the model wearing it, but certainly not the 12 year old with images of Victoria homage-to-thin Beckham wallpapering her bedroom walls.

As long as money is the motivator, avarice the activator, thin will be in. I am suddenly overtaken by a compelling craving to eat a double-glazed-cream-filled-pink-icing-ed-doughnut'or three. All in an attempt to increase my World Health Organisation BMI ratio of course. I'm ravenous.


Maggie xx

About the Author:
Maggie is from Manhattan, where she was a painter, then designer of clothing, objects, textiles, interiors while writing for various publications and her own webzine. She is permanently based in London, the city of irony, from where she writes regularly to her gal pal Lulu in New York.  

You can read her amusing tales about London's daily life, people, current events, politics, fashion and culture at her website

Read more of Maggie's stories to her gal pal Lulu at Letters from London