Exit, stage left, skinny models . . . as if !!!!

EVERY so often the issue of using ‘real’ bodies rears it’s figure-hugging head in the fashion world.

The latest protagonist is UK Vogue’s revered and credible Alexandra Shulman (left) whose weighed in on the debate, saying that couturiers should be making their ‘sample’ size clothing bigger, basically to fit in with the ever-changing shape of women.

And more importantly, so young girls aren’t encouraged to look like malnourished heads-on-sticks (you know the type) when they would be much better looking like Pink.

So yes, the weight debate is a given in the modelling world – even Anna Wintour instructed Oprah to lose weight before she would put her on a US Vogue cover.

But what is said and then what is done are two different beasts.

Interestingly, Country Road launched a new collection of clothes for over 40 year-olds called Trenery, last week. And the one thing that kind of stuck out as ‘odd’ with many of the day’s guests was why organisers used young (definitely well below 40) models?

While they are selling a very slick, fashion-now and wearable collection to ‘real’ women (who are north of 35) the CR crew felt the need to showcase them on gorgeous young things . . .

Wouldn’t it have fared better if there had been a swag of gorgeous over 4o year-old ‘real’ women doing the runway strut?

For godsake, I can think of a hundred over 40-year-olds who could have played ‘clotheshorse’ for a day to what would have been a very successful, 1/ PR exercise and 2/ a more believable presentation of the new threads.

But as those in the know now, much of fashion is about unreality – has been, will be.

It’s why designers and even many of us, mere commentators, fashion lovers and just plain magazine, on-line and TV watchers – adore seeing new clothes on shapeless, clothes-hanger like bodies who make clothes hang like they are draped over a skinny Scarecrow.

So, in many minds there are not many signs that slim, gangly, long and lithe bodies are abating. It is as simple as that. That is, historically the shape of a mannequin.

I was equally as intrigued by the bodies of sumo wrestlers that featured on the ABC’s Foreign Correspondent series the other night.

But do we read about the health/eating/psychological disorders that those usually obese men supposedly go through, as much as we do with ‘skinny’ models?

No, I didn’t think so . . .

We know we will NOT look like Kate Moss or Agness or Miranda or Megan but that is the fantasy of fashion.

As you get older and much more assured of your own style, you don’t tend to buy into the whole trend thing every season (by now, it’s all about investment dressing . . . or a snuggle)

So while I understand the worthiness of Ms Shulman’s comments, the day when every fashion designer, news telecast, newspaper, online story, fashion magazine join forces and use models who are ‘over’ the ‘usual’ dimensions, well, I’ll eat (one of) my hats as I whistle Dixie.

Anyway, the below is taken in its entirety from an online UK SKY News story . . .

“The editor of one of the world’s most influential fashion magazines has lashed out at haute couture companies for forcing the use of super-skinny models. The fashion industry has been accused of pressuring women to conform. In an unprecedented move, veteran Vogue UK editor Alexandra Shulman sent a letter to luxury fashion firms complaining about the clothes sent for models to use in photo shoots in her magazine. The Times has now published parts of the lambasting letter, which was not intended for publication, from Ms Shulman about so-called size-zero models.

“During the time I have been at Vogue the sample sizes that models are required to wear have become substantially smaller,” she wrote in the missive. As a result, the editor accused designers of making her hire models with “jutting bones and no breasts or hips”. She added: “Nowadays, I often ask the photographers to retouch to make the models appear larger. “I am finding that the feedback from my readers and the general feeling in the UK is that people really don’t want to see such thin girls either in editorial or advertising.” Ms Shulman told the newspaper: “I don’t want to be too specific about it, but it was very recently. I found myself saying to the photographers, ‘Can you not make them look too thin?’” Art staff have resorted to using software programmes to smooth away protruding features and flesh out the models to make them appear more palatable.

Ironically, the highly respected fashion editor also revealed that some cover images only show faces – not the clothes – because readers are “uncomfortable”. The Vogue action comes after the fashion world has been accused repeatedly of pressuring young girls and women into unhealthy dietary lifestyles to maintain slim figures.

According to the paper, although Ms Shulman does not believe all firms are to blame the letter was sent to the world’s major designers including Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Donatella Versace. Ms Versace’s own daughter has battled with an eating disorder for several years. Emma Healey, director of operations of Beat, a UK charity which supports people affected by eating disorders, applauded the move by the magazine. Ms Healey said: “This is very welcome. The whole controversy over size-zero models has been a wake up call.

“British fashion is leading the way on this, and it is very encouraging to see Vogue, which is the fashion magazine, taking a stance like this.”