The case of the incredible shrinking women

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 April, 2012, 12:00am


We've all heard of the Photoshop diet. There is a series of amusing YouTube videos that document how technological manipulation can make Gisele B?ndchens out of us all. Photoshop is used in almost all fashion editorials and ad campaigns these days, but excessive use has landed beauty companies in hot water with advertising authorities.

Ads for L'Oreal featuring Julia Roberts and Christie Turlington were both famously pulled from British media for unrealistic and excessive Photoshopping last year. Ralph Lauren's ridiculous shrinking of model Filippa Hamilton's curves on a print campaign made her waist substantially narrower than her head. The mind boggles at how that escaped headquarters unnoticed. The company did eventually issue an apology.

The latest faux pas concerns a model in a Vera Wang lookbook that appeared on a bridal website. The model, in a grey satin bridesmaid gown, has had her waist slimmed down to about the width of her head. Another shot, taken from behind, appears to reveal a more accurate size.

Magazines like Cosmopolitan and Grazia have admitted to mistakes in the past, nipping in waists and thighs and getting caught out when the designer hasn't done a convincing enough job.

I've never seen the need to 'slim down' anyone in all my years of fashion editing, although I admit photographers may have reworked images without my knowledge. Apart from smoothing skin and hiding scars and marks, the only time I've changed a model is to fatten her up. A particularly pretty Eastern European model we shot for Post Magazine was so thin that during post production I insisted on filling in her cavernous collarbone and smoothing her spinal column.

Fashion is supposed to reflect creative ideals (note the plural, as the ideal will always change with time) and is, perhaps purposefully, almost unreachable. But we could all be more aware of keeping it within the realms of reality and avoiding anything so obviously unhealthy. So, editors and retouchers please take note: the waist should definitely be wider than the head.