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August 29 2014

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Doutzen Convenes The “Ass Meeting”

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Age ain’t nothing but a number? The panelists at the CFDA’s Health Initiative discussion on “The Beauty of Health: Resizing the Sample Size” would have us believe otherwise. “Of the 172 girls I saw for casting for fashion week, 75 of those were 16 or under,” casting director James Scully told the audience at Milk Studios last night. “Everybody is demanding the girls fit into a 33-inch hip. A teenage boy has a 32-inch hip…they start too young and suddenly when they’re 17 turning 18 and they grow breasts and hips, they’ll do anything to fit into the size.”

Model Doutzen Kroes may have since landed Victoria’s Secret and Calvin Klein campaigns, but starting out, she, too, battled the ultra-skinny standard. “I never fit the sample. I probably fit it once, when I was 11,” she deadpanned. Kroes started in the industry at the ripe old age of 18 and was pressured to lose a few pounds. As luck (and a good head on her shoulders) would have it, Kroes gathered her team to rally around her. “We had what we called an ‘ass meeting’ with my agent,” the model recalled with a laugh. “I chose to have a healthy lifestyle and work around that.” Panelist David Bonnouvrier of DNA Models, who reps Kroes, added that a too-young model can’t handle all the pressures of the job. “We think someone 17 or 18 should be getting their first look,” he said. But Bonnouvrier also admitted that the industry wasn’t exactly built for hashing things out in the open. “Of course you have someone like Doutzen and she is untouchable,” he conceded. “But the models won’t talk. There will be retribution sooner or later.” The problem established, the solution seemed less clear. There was blame placed on certain unnamed and influential stylists, and discussion of the vicious, self-perpetuating cycle. But how to actually break that cycle was harder to address. Post-discussion, attendee Rachel Roy had offered the pragmatic answer. “It’s a no-brainer,” the designer told us. “You just do it.”

Photo: Max Rapp /Patrick McMullan

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