September 25th, 2007 // 9 Comments

Isabella Caro is a 27-year-old Frenchwoman who has suffered from anorexia since she was 13. Italian fashion label Nolita is using her in an ad campaign to publicize anorexia. And to preach against what they see as “unhealthy stereotypes” promoted by the fashion industry.

The campaign was paid for by Italian clothing company Flash & Partners to publicise a fashion brand for young women called Nolita and the photograph was taken by Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani.

Flash & Partners said in a statement that Toscani’s aim was “to use the naked body to show everyone the reality of this illness, caused in most cases by the stereotypes imposed by the world of fashion”.

Both Giorgio Armani and designers Dolce & Gabanna have criticized the campaign, stating that anorexia is a psychiatric problem, and that “even people who take no notice of fashion get anorexic.” Well yeah, but pushing a thirteen year old girl down the catwalk can’t be helping things.

The full ad (NSFW) is after the jump.

By J. Harvey

  1. Hey Cupcake

    Oh my god.
    Speaking as someone who was anorexic for years, I hope this poor woman recovers, somehow. And GOOD FOR TOSCANI for saying no to anorexic models. True, “fashion” doesn’t make girls/women anorexic. However, most of the runway and print models you see these days are horrifically skinny and very young. Fashion sends the very strong message that too skinny = beautiful and healthy = ugly.

  2. kathy

    I’m not so sure about “even people who take no notice of fashion get anorexic.” I took a womens studies course and we talked about how the Fuji and Tahiti islands used to embrace full bodied women until they got television and then anorexia started popping up. Anorexia may not be singularly blamed on fashion, but fashion is connected to trends and what the media puts out, so it is at least partially responsible. And another thing, anorexia is never about food.

  3. Hey Cupcake

    Good points, Kathy. Yes, I agree that food is not really the central “thing” about anorexia; it’s mostly about control. Nor do most anorexics (ironically) think they look good or feel good about themselves. I know.

  4. amanda

    speaking as someone who is in recovery from anorexia it is a vicious disease that starts out as a diet but then you always have to get skinnier because that girl weighs this much and that then that girls weighs even less its a vicious downward spiral and most fashion companies only push you into that sick thinking even more. I dont think these fashion companies give you anorexia but they can trigger it.

  5. feles

    In my opinion, this pressure should be on the fashion industry not so much because of what their attitude and ideals do to trigger anorexia in young women outside of the fashion industry.
    There should be stricter guidelines imposed on designers and organisers of shows so that the health of the models is protected and monitored. Designers may be able to wash their hands of the problem because of the numerous factors that cause anorexia, but what about on their own doorstep? Baroness Kingsmill was bang on when talking about health and safety issues. There should be more talk about how the fashion industry can look after its models better and prevent the tragedies that have happened in the past couple of years.

  6. sandy

    I think women look better with curves. Lots of them. The size 9 or less women look like starvaton victims. The average American woman is a size 14. Yay for American women.

  7. patricia

    I feel so sad for her.

  8. Sparty

    as a former model. I understand the pressure to be thin. Most people don’t know though is, models are stick thin for one reason: sample size clothing. When a designer wants to promote a design he or she has one shot on the runway. Therefore smaller amounts of fabric are used which means smaller people modeling. This was how it was in the 60′s however people stopped looking at the clothes for inspiration in fashion and started looking at who was wearing them and the the small girls and guys became iconic. Models were never meant to out shine the clothes they wore but that is what has happened and instead of saying “i love the new dress in the Versace ad” people are saying “i want to look like the girl in the Versace ad”

  9. James Kulacz

    It is easy to blame “the fashion industry” for the problem but anorexia has been documented as far back as the 1600′s.

    And although guys (like myself) make up only a small percentage of anorexics, the “fashion industry” does not have a lot a lot of influence over us, at least places like Macy’s and Victoria’s Secret.

    My own problem gradually developed because of the real reason – a feeling of a lack of control over one’s life – from eleven, until the Navy officially diagnosed it at twenty-three, when I could no longer buy standard sized uniforms and had to have them tailored (at great expense). I was given no psychiatric or psychological “out” to the problem – just “Get back with the programme or get out of the service – on a Bad Conduct Discharge. My sense of control took a 180.

    Today, at forty-eight, I am still slight at 125, but acceptable (barely) by the Veterans Administration. They don’t harp on my weight like the Navy did anyway,

    James. AT1. Accept no substitutes.

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