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Fashion Week Day 4

Nick Tankersley Modified: May 15, 2013 at 5:08 pm •  Published: February 6, 2007

Let me just say it’s really cold here. Blustery, brutal, nose-numbing cold. When I left my hotel at 7:45 Monday morning, the temperature was 9 degrees — 0 with the wind chill.

The fashion gods were smiling, though, because I walked out of the hotel and right into a toasty cab for the 7 blocks to the tents. Usually, I walk. Really. And I did walk back more than 12 hours later. I’m still waiting for my cheeks to thaw. Yes, those too!

Anyway, this morning I was in a hurry to get to a symposium organized by the Council of Fashion Designers of America to discuss health and beauty in the fashion industry.

The CFDA wanted to address the issue of ultra-skinny models, a subject that has been in the news for a year or two and most recently since last November when a Brazilian model died of causes linked to an eating disorder.

The CFDA has formed a health initiative to address concerns and propose a series of positive steps to promote wellness and a healthier working environment.

A panel of experts included a doctor specializing in eating disorders, a trainer, the director of a media relations company that specializes in fashion and a modeling agency agent. A Russian model shared her story of how she lost weight and jeopardized her health before becoming healthy again.

Diane von Furstenberg, president of the CFDA, said it’s good the issue has been raised, but she doesn’t believe it’s the responsibility of the group to weigh models or see that they receive yearly medical exams. Designer Donna Karan said the effort should start with the agency.

In September, Madrid’s Fashion Week banned models with a Body Mass Index of, or height-to-weight ratio, below 18. A 5-foot-9 model weighing 125 pounds would have a BMI of 18, according to the Associated Press. Milan also tightened restrictions on underweight models.

The CFDA health initiative recommendations include education, support systems, awareness programs and evaluation and treatment options.

“It’s all about prevention,” von Furstenberg said.

This is a story that’s not going away anytime soon.

A QUICK LOOK AT THE TRENDS:
1. Textured or opaque tights are on nearly every runway.
2. Sleeves get special treatment. (Look for gathers and fullness.)
3. Fuschia, purple and plum.
4. Short skirts and dresses.
5. Baby doll dresses and tops. Again.
6. Volume.