body issues

CFDA Panel on Skinny Models: Coco Rocha on Her Struggle

From left, Coco Rocha, Michael Kors, Anna Wintour, and Diane Von Furstenberg Photo: Patrick McMullan

The CFDA hosted the “Beauty of Health” event last night to address the never-ending too skinny model problem plaguing fashion.  Diane Von Furstenberg, Michael Kors, and Coco Rocha joined forces to actually speak candidly about the issue. Kors suggested agents send only suitable girls to castings to avoid unnecessary rejection. “Sending a girl when there’s little chance of her being booked throws a 16-year-old into a tizzy. The odds of a girl being booked for my show and Rick Owens’s are slim.”  Coco Rocha was next up to the podium, where she revealed that a couple of years ago, when she weighed just 108 pounds, yes, people warned her “you need to lose more weight. The look this year is anorexic. We don’t want you to be anorexic, we just want you to look it.” As one would imagine, that kind of pressure is hard to withstand, and Rocha eventually gave into it: “Last season I took diuretic pills. Once I took so many on an empty stomach that I was doubled over for hours. That’s the last time I ever did something so terrible to my body.” Rocha wants designers to use larger fit models so samples are a little easier to wear (making sample sales easier to bear) and to stock healthier food at shows. “No one wants to be caught with that photo ‘Model Eats Cake.’”

We were a little skeptical that the talk was more than just show, something to counteract model Ali Michael’s recent publicity for being dumped from shows when she gained a few pounds. But the reaction post-panel was, we’ll say it, surprising. Could change be afoot in fashion? Phillip Lim is planning to have more food for the girls at castings and shows. “We used to just have water. And lots of fruit at shows. I’ve also sent Ali Michael flowers with a note saying, ‘You’re perfect as you are. See you next season.’ Love that girl, so proud of her for standing up.” Doo-Ri chimed in too: “From a designer’s perspective, too skinny is scary. My clothes are made to be filled out — it’s tough enough with jersey!” As we left in the elevator with Kors, he mused, “The next one we need to do is about skinny people who work in fashion: editors, buyers, stylists. That’s called ‘Why Does This Sample Fit Me?” —Kendall Herbst

Related: Model Ali Michael on ‘Today:’ ‘I Hadn’t Had My Period in Over a Year’

CFDA Panel on Skinny Models: Coco Rocha on Her Struggle