The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned an ad by Yves Saint Laurent because their model looks “unhealthily underweight.” Originally featured in Elle UK, the ad will no longer run in any publication.
"The ASA considered that the model’s pose and the particular lighting effect in the ad drew particular focus to the model’s chest, where her rib cage was visible and appeared prominent, and to her legs, where her thighs and knees appeared a similar width, and which looked very thin, particularly in light of her positioning and the contrast between the narrowness of her legs and her platform shoes."
The ASA concluded that the model looked unhealthily underweight and deemed the ad irresponsible. Yves Saint Laurent disagreed with the ruling, but the fashion company has yet to provide a response.
Personally I don't think the lighting is too blame. And I can only think that the ASA should take such a hard line more often.
If too-thin models are routinely turned down for work, which will have a knock-on effect on agencies, then the fashion industry will be driven to change the way it currently operates. And who know, in time agencies may start coveting models with healthy BMIs.
Of course some fashion models are naturally ultra thin, and not every woman working the catwalk is sickly.
Having said that, the advertising industry has a duty of care and a social responsibility - especially given its primary audience consists of young women - to depict bodies that aren't grossly underweight. How it makes the call in each case is tricky, but one would assume there are certain standards that must be adhered to (i.e. thighs not being of a similar width to knees).