Size-eight women make freak appearance on runway

The Australian fashion world is shaken after fleshy models strut during Fashion Week.

Published September 8, 2006 10:11PM (EDT)

Designer Leesa Fogarty, of MaraJoara swimwear, was responsible for such a repulsive runway faux pas that Vogue Australia swiftly deleted all photographic evidence from their Web site. Fogarty's dreadful offense? She scrapped typical skeletal fashion models for fleshier everyday Aussies in her runway show during Australian Fashion Week and, to hear the Herald Sun tell it, the fashion world is reeling.

Fogarty, who spent much of her teen years battling anorexia, decided to combat "anorexia week on the runway" and cast models according to her target audience, reported the Herald Sun (via Gawker). "We wanted to cast everyday Australians because they're the ones that are going to buy our swimwear," she said. Lo and behold, the average Australian isn't a size zero, but a size 14. So Fogarty picked a range of models -- some svelte, others somewhat curvier -- to the dismay of an audience that apparently occasionally snickered at the display.

The ridiculous outcry is almost amusing once you actually see the offending images: the women all look healthy, fit, and uncommonly beautiful. Organizers saw it another way and reportedly tried to talk Fogarty out of what they deemed certain career suicide, even providing professional models on standby. Some critics argued that the show's main failing wasn't employing meatier models but using unprofessional models with a shaky runway strut. (Of one model's strut, a Herald Sun blogger wrote, "Her animalistic act was worse than anything I'd seen on the Discovery Channel...")

Already, Fogarty's actions have been deemed "feminist" and one of the show's models told the Herald Sun that she'd shown "younger girls they don't have to be anorexic to get up on a catwalk." Sure, just expect to be crucified for it.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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