Skinny ban threatens London Fashion Week
Meanwhile, a split in the fashion world over the use of skinny models could threaten the future of London Fashion Week, which was officially launched yesterday.
The premier fashion show in the British capital has already attracted controversy by banning girls under the age of 16 from taking to the catwalk.
But yesterday a move by the British Fashion Council to insist on models having health certificates to prove they are eating properly was jeopardising the event's future, with no international support for the move from the other fashion capitals.
'Spies' to dob on models with problems
It was also revealed that seven top models would act as "spies" during London Fashion Week to expose any anorexia problems, bullying or forced nudity.
The girls will report to staff from the actors' union Equity, who are setting up a "drop-in office" at the extravaganza.
The British Fashion Council said its counterparts in New York, Milan and Paris were unsupportive of the medical health certification scheme, which was a key recommendation of a UK model health inquiry late last year.
The council will seek Government advice on brokering an internationally recognised agreement if resistance continues.
"Model industry representatives advise us that any unilateral action by London Fashion Week will simply mean that models will decline to work in London, which is already the least commercially attractive of the four major fashion weeks," council CEO Hilary Riva said yesterday.
"The panel recognised these challenges and the potential damage to the future of London Fashion Week, as without internationally recognised catwalk models our designers will not want to show here."
It was understood some overseas-based models had already indicated they would refuse to take part in the London showcase, particularly since it seemed to be the only city with the requirement. More than three-quarters of the models at the London show are based overseas.
Despite the threat to London Fashion Week, the council said it was committed to introducing the medical certificate requirement and a feasibility report would be prepared on its success or failure.
In February last year the fashion industry was forced to confront the health of its models following the death of two sisters. The pair, both models, died of apparent heart attacks within months of each other.
Eliana Ramos, 18, who lived on lettuce and Diet Coke, was found dead at her grandparents' home in the Uruguayan capital Montevideo in February 2006. Her 22-year-old sister Luisel died shortly after stepping from a catwalk the previous August.
THREE British models have been banned from taking part in Madrid fashion week because organisers said they were underweight, it was reported today.
All 70 models taking part in the five-day event which gets under way tomorrow were weighed and the three were found to have a body mass index (BMI) of less than 18, the online edition of El Pais reported.
The BMI is an index calculation based on height and weight.
In 2006, Madrid's regional government - which sponsors the show - introduced bans for models with a BMI of less than 18 from taking part.
The move followed complaints that girls and young women were developing eating disorders by trying to copy the models' rail-thin looks.
The ban on overly thin models, the first in the world at a top-level fashion show, caused outrage among modelling agencies when it was first imposed.
Five models were stopped from taking part the first year that the ban was put in place and another five were banned last year.
The UN's World Health Organisation defines a BMI below 18.5 as "underweight" and recommend an index of between 18.5 and about 25.
With AFP / The Daily Telegraph
11th feb 2008