While womenswear designers have taken a step into preventing scarily skinny models on the catwalk, it seems the same cannot be said for those behind men’s fashion collections.
A photo of a shockingly thin male model on the catwalk at YSL was tweeted by blogger Poppy Dinsey, the founder of website What I Wore Today.
“Woefully irresponsible model casting at YSL yesterday,” Poppy Dinsey wrote, before adding: “Speechless.”
The photo of the emaciated model prompted a barrage of responses from other Twitter users, most of whom tweeted their support and horror YSL’s use of the gaunt model.
But in a disturbing twist, others weighed in favor of looking extremely thin, with one user – who outs herself as “pro ana” in her Twitter handle – arguing that despite appearances, Poppy Dinsey should have made clear that he “ISN’T ill”.
She added: “Have you thought how he’d feel if he saw this? He has absolutely NOTHING wrong.”
“I have had hundreds of replies but haven’t seen a single response that says they think it looks healthy or acceptable, although plenty of fashiony friends enjoyed the collection itself – which people seem to be forgetting about,” said Poppy Dinsey.
“What did upset me was the number of people who said the model was <<disgusting>> – I made a point of saying you can’t assume that the model has an eating disorder.
“I have been to hundreds of fashion shows so I’m never particularly surprised by the latest <<shock model picture>> but casting directors have to take some responsibility.
“A model may well be healthy, but if someone looking at the pictures will assume the opposite, why not cast someone who doesn’t create such controversy?”
The gaunt-faced model is a far cry from the healthy-looking male models who have dominated the industry in recent years.
High-earning male models such as David Gandy, Gabriel Aubry and Andrés Velencoso have set an industry standard geared towards the fit and healthy rather than the emaciated.
But the appearance of the emaciated model suggests times could be changing and that’s worrying -particularly at a time when male anorexia or “manorexia” is becoming more widespread.
According to recent figures released by eating disorders charity, B-EAT, the number of male anorexics, previously thought to total just 10% of total sufferers, has shot up.
Male sufferers now account for a quarter of all disordered eating cases but often find themselves struggling with the disease alone thanks to a lack of awareness about the disease and how it affects men.
“All too often eating disorders are seen as a young girl’s illness,” says B-EAT spokeswoman, Leanne Thorndyke.
“There is still a great deal of misunderstanding and stigma surrounding these serious psychiatric conditions which makes it even more difficult for a male to admit to having the problem and seeking help.”
And, while the sight of models such as the one seen at YSL aren’t directly to blame, according to Leanne Thorndyke, they certainly don’t help.
“The fashion industry doesn’t cause eating disorders. It does, however, have a powerful influence that is highly toxic to some vulnerable people.
“People have told us these images alone do not cause their eating disorder but it can make it harder for people to recover.”
Poppy Dinsey: “It’s unfair on the fashion industry to say that all designers are peddling an unhealthy ideal, as the majority of designers and casting directors will be doing their utmost to only book healthy models.
“Catwalk models aren’t like your average attractive guy or girl from school – they fit a very narrow ideal of height and weight and some people are just naturally that thin.
“The problem is, impressionable people across the world see these images and aspire to be like this – when it would take nothing short of starvation to achieve the same shape – and that’s forgetting they’re probably four inches too short to model anyway.”