The ‘no anorexia’ advert being bandied around Milan during fashion week is a hit for fashion brand Nolito. Nolito, who are they? Ever heard of them? Now my fashion nous could easily be trumped by a precocious eleven year old ‘Cosmo Girl’, but I haven’t heard of them either.
Obscure no longer, their advert has them glowing in the world spotlight of international controversy. And if the desired effect is achieved, they’ll be merrily dancing to the rising ching-ching of their cash machine.
I’m not being unkind. If this fashion label’s intent was truly altruistic, why mix a community message with an opportunity to boost their profile? Surely there is ample (sorry) chance to take some truly positive action against anorexia behind the scenes? But ah, in fashion it’s all about the limelight.
A company spokesperson declared that it was their intent “to use the naked body to show everyone the reality of this illness, caused in most cases by the stereotypes imposed by the world of fashion”. Ah ha. I personally don’t find the images that shocking. Which is shocking in itself. Perhaps my conditioning to relate the skinny female form as normal, desirable, has been a resounding success? Or is it because Isabelle Caro’s fashion pose, courtesy of photographer Oliviero Toscani, isn’t distinguishable enough from typical fashion imagery? Think heroin chic. The image is meant to subvert. But I find it a little too similar to be subversive.
And who are they targeting? People with illness often fail to recognise their problem. Many anorexia sufferers would not identify themselves with Ms Caro. Some may even aspire to be like her.