Labels from Dior to Saint Laurent showed off their latest collections at Paris Fashion Week, alongside another innovation meant to wean the industry off its association with unhealthily thin, underage models. Edward Baran reports.
As the big labels from Dior to Saint Laurent showed off their latest collections in Paris, the fashion industry was trying to end its association with unhealthily thin and underage models. Parent companies LVMH and Kering (pron. kerr-ing) are honouring a charter setting age and size limits for the people parading their clothes. For campaigners, and for the models themseleves, it's a very timely development. (SOUNDBITE) (English) 20-YEAR-OLD MODEL, DANIELLE ELLESWORTH, SAYING: "I think it's good. I've seen a lot of girls have eating disorders and stuff and be really, really tiny. And for me I'm not a really tiny person so I guess it helps out with me too. But I think it just keeps the girls safe, it keeps them from harming their bodies." Two years ago, Dior made waves by having this fourteen year old girl walk the catwalk in Paris. The new charter now says only those older than 16 can display adult clothes. The companies will no longer use models below the French size 34 for women and 44 for men. This means the United States' infamous 'size zero' is out. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DESIGNER, STELLA MCCARTNEY, SAYING: "It's important that this industry takes responsibility, that everyone in the industry does. The houses must, the designers must, the casting directors must, the agents must, the models must. You know they need to look after themselves, they need to be responsible." Critics point out it's still not an industry-wide standard, and the models in Paris remain very slender and very young. But in an industry where youth and body image are important, the charter is, for many, a step in the right direction.