Despite Impending French Ban, Fashion Industry Holds Fast to Thin Ideals

Natalia Vodianova Photo: WireImage

On Tuesday in Paris, a French bill that would imprison for up to three years and fine for up to $70,000 anyone who "incited excessive thinness" was passed by the National Assembly; the bill now just needs approval from the French senate to become law. It aims to tear down pro-anorexia Websites and blogs, but the bill's author, Valerie Boyer, wants the fashion industry to be subject to its regulations as well. However, it's unclear how the law would apply to ads, magazine spreads, and runway shows, nor has it been defined what "excessive thinness" means — which is why the fashion industry thinks none of this will really apply to them no matter what. Then again, it's not like they were planning on changing anyway. Here's what the industry folk had to say:

French Fashion Federation president Didier Grumbauch:
"We all agree there should be condemnation of any site encouraging anorexia, but…I think the parliament has better things to do."

Director of France's advertising authorities Joseph Besnainou:
"[The law] is a weapon for those targeting pro-anorexia blogs, but otherwise it's a bit of a useless law, as it's so difficult to apply.…I know of no advertising campaign that promotes anorexia."

Booking director for the Viva Paris agency Saif Mahdhi:
"I can have lunch with Natalia Vodianova, and she'll eat three times as much as I do, and then get up on the catwalk. She can have a baby and be walking shows a few weeks later and be perfectly healthy.…People are pointing the finger at the fashion industry, but I see anorexia as more of an issue for society in general."

Fashion designer Rick Owens:
"I'm all for them cracking down on pro-anorexia Websites, but I'll always have very slender people in my show.…I'm pretty thin myself, and I don't really have a problem with that. I don't think any model who is unhealthy can be successful."

What do you think? Is it okay for the fashion industry to hire models who really are just genetic marvels? Should the government force it to promote more realistic body images? Or do they really have better things to do? Do pontificate in the comments boxes.

French See Little Impact From 'Skinny' Bill [WWD]
Earlier: Breaking: France Is This Close to Banning Skinny Models