The Third Leader: Not too thin...

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Ever since I started out as a fashion designer, I chose to use models who were on the slender side. This was because the clothes I design and the sort of fabrics I use need to hang correctly on the body. I want the dresses to seem to float and flow with the body.

Gianni Versace was a very different kind of designer. He used jerseys and chiffons, which needed a body of a certain shape to hold the fabric. He used more voluptuous models. The particular styles I designed were quite different, and this is why, maybe, I was regarded as being among those designers who used slim women as models.

But I do not feel responsible for setting a trend towards models who look anorexic. As so often in the fashion world, things have been taken to extremes. And unfortunately there are a lot of young women who never accept that they are thin enough - and this is an illness.

In my view, all women want to look much slimmer than they are, and this encourages them to be very careful about what they eat. But there is a similar issue at the other end of the scale: there are very few women who have just the right degree of voluptuousness to be pin-ups.

Most of the comment on this issue of anorexic models - like comment on anything - tends to exaggerate the problem. But the fact that we are dealing with the world of fashion, where so much is exaggerated anyway, means there has been a particular lack of balance in this discussion.

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