Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Save Snejana

Now that “Access Hollywood” has weighed in on the whole skinny model controversy, what with Spain banning skeletons from its Fashion Week runways, I asked myself, “What more is there to say?”

First, let’s back up a bit. Last week, organizers of Pasarela Cibeles, Spain’s top annual fashion show, decided not work with models whose BMI (body mass index) measured below 18 (18.5-24.9 is considered “normal”). You can calculate yours at www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/bminojs.htm. Under these guidelines, five models were banished from the catwalk.

So “Access” went straight to Heidi Klum and Cindy Crawford for comment and elicited non-answers worthy of Tony Snow. But thanks to Access-provided stats, I was able to calculate Crawford’s BMI as 19.9. Is Espana ready for a return of The Mole?

Then Billy Bush, or maybe it was Shaun Robinson, dug up a British designer—unaffected by the ban, I should point out—who basically said, and I’m paraphrasing here, screw Spain, nobody’s paid attention to them since 1842.

Lost in all of this scintillating reportage—which included footage of Spanish models circling a buffet backstage at the fashion show—was a quote from Catharine, a model of indeterminate nationality and last name. “Clothes look better on skinny women,” she pronounced.

Ah, there’s the rub.

I’ve watched “Project Runway.” I’ve seen these designers, both male and female, sketch. They draw impossibly long, thin silhouettes that if translated to an actual woman’s body proportions would approximate a pencil. On these, they hang their clothes. They don’t seem to know how to do anything else.

I’m not sure why it is that women, who surely outnumber fashion designers 2 to 1, continue to allow them to set the agenda in terms of acceptable/desirable body type. Would the universe implode if we said, “We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to starve ourselves on rice cakes anymore!”

I don’t have any answers to this dilemma, anymore than I know who really shot J.F.K. or why Jessica Simpson has a career. All I can do is hope to make a difference, however small, one emaciated model at a time.

I’m starting with the Save Snejana campaign. Because I am obsessed with pretty dresses, I wallowed in coverage of New York’s Olympus Fashion Week, and in slideshow after slideshow Snejana Onopka, a 19-year-old model from Ukraine, shocked me with her sunken cheekbones and flamingo legs. I don’t know her BMI, but she is 5’9” and has a 23-inch waist.

So what I’m proposing is that if you run into Snejana on the streets of London or Kiev or Milan, but clearly not Barcelona, offer her a Power Bar or take her out for a croissant. And be sure to follow her into the bathroom. This global outpouring of affection will surely draw attention to our cause.

When Billy Bush calls, I’ll be ready.


Post a Comment

<< Home