U-turn on waif models adverts

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The Independent Online
The watch-making company Omega yesterday backtracked on its threat to stop advertising in the fashion magazine Vogue as a protest against its use of waif-like models.

But the company's senior management said the U-turn was in the interest of press freedom only and insisted that it still deplored a controversial picture spread of ultra-thin women. In a letter to Vogue publisher, Stephen Quinn, Omega brand director, Giles Rees, said his decision to suspend advertising had been overridden by chairman Nicolas Hayek. "After discussions, the Omega company have agreed to continue our advertising with you, largely as a result of our chairman, Nicolas Hayek's belief that it is not in anybody's interest to manipulate the editorial position of any given media.

"Having said that, I would hope that the tremendous support and encouragement that we have received from the media and particularly from the public, would urge you to consider addressing these issues with your editorial staff."

The furore arose over several picture spreads in the June Health and Fitness edition of Vogue, including an "All Action Heroes" feature with model Trish Goff and a Band Aid feature with model Annie Morton. The women were photographed wearing skimpy clothes in poses that accentuated their gaunt faces and skinny limbs.

In his condemnation of the pictures, Mr Rees said they were "extremely distasteful" and said the models had "anorexic proportions".

Stephen Quinn, publisher of Conde Nast-owned Vogue, said Mr Rees had behaved "irresponsibly", and accused him of making "offensive and hurtful" remarks that could have jeopardised the models' careers. He described the about-turn as "a complete victory" for Conde Nast, and added: "It's good news in terms of editorial independence and the fact that advertising revenue will continue."