Simon Doonan: Lack of Diversity on the Runways Is a Bigger Problem Than Thin Models

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Simon Doonan Photo: WireImage

The CFDA will erect booths in the tents during Fashion Week to provide information on eating disorders, but Barneys' Simon Doonan thinks diversity on the runway is a more pressing issue. "Eating is personal," Doonan said at the Artistry of Fashion Award benefit luncheon in the Rainbow Room this afternoon. "A much bigger issue is why they're not using more African-American girls." Doonan added that he never tells people to look to the fashion industry to find healthy role models. "It's always been extreme, even going back to the ancient Egyptians. In the Renaissance they wore corsets made of wooden slats." He continued, "At the moment fashion is very thin-orexic. The archetypes are extremely thin, but that will change. It's like that stupid walk they used to do where they would walk like that" — Doonan demonstrated by stomping his feet — "but eventually they stopped walking like that. It had to work its way through."

The ever-punctual Doonan also hopes designers will heed Diane Von Furstenberg's plea to start their shows on time this season. (He's especially impassioned after getting locked out of his house one season when a show ran late and his partner, Jonathan Adler, had already locked the doors and hit the hay; Doonan threw pebbles at the windows and shrieked to get in.) "Eight-hour productions of The Ring with animals and costumes start on time. People start heart operations on time," said Doonan. "So a few frocks on a few girls? Get it together."

Related: Step Right Up for Your Free Eating-Disorder Brochure at Fashion Week
Diane Von Furstenberg: Get Thee to the Tents on Time!