Cultural Trends/Popular Culture

Vogue Italy's Cover Called Anorexic in Fashion

Monday, September 26, 2011

In conjunction with fashion week in Italy, the cover of fashion magazine Vogue features a model with a Photoshop waistline inspired by the Guinness Book of World Records. An editor defends the image and denies it could cause any harm.

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Past Criticism

Vogue Italy has drawn criticism in the past for excessive retouching of models' photographs, but many of those controversial images also helped spur sales.

Carlo Ducci is the executive news director of the magazine. In a phone interview he said he wasn't personally involved in determining the September cover, calling it stunning and harmless.

He said Tennant's picture was inspired by Ethel Granger, an English woman who died in 1982 and was married to a corset maker. Her 13-inch waist was the smallest ever, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

"Our magazine drew on reality. If this reality is perceived as bad, this is not our problem," Ducci said.

He added that the fashion magazine has always played with reality. "Vogue has a creative logic that can inspire women, but it is not the Holy Bible."

He said the image was too unusual to inspire other women to try to imitate it.

"Only one woman could achieve this record, so it is impossible for our readers to be able to emulate her," he said.

Editors of the Guinness Book of World Records, however, do say every record is breakable.

So critics can still wonder why, if one woman could achieve a 13-inch waistline, others might not be tempted to outdo her if a fashion magazine suggests that's desirable. Emulation is also suggested by the use of "Avant-Garde" as caption wording for the photograph of Tennant, aka Granger. Avant-garde, after all, means someone in the vanguard, or leading a trend.

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Valeria Marchetti is an Italian journalist with a background in broadcasting. She is based in Rome.

For more information:

Ethel Granger:
http://www.ethelgranger.com/summary-biography/index.html

Vogue Italy (in Italian):
http://www.vogue.it/

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