High Street store H&M has come under fire today for its use of a model some have said is so thin as to be 'corpse-like'. The model was used in PR material for the clothing giant's Marni campaign, the latest high profile designer collaboration to be launched by the firm.
But some have complained that 26-year-old Aymeline Valade looks 'ready to collapse'.
In the photographs, Aymeline wears a three-quarter-length sleeve jacket and pencil skirt which highlight her slender wrists and waist. Some observers have criticised the choice of styling and make up for the model, saying that her pale complexion, hollowed cheeks, dark eyes and unkempt hair make her look yet more unhealthy.
GP Julian Spinks told the Daily Star: This model looks very unwell, almost corpse-like. Her skin is grey, you can see prominent veins in her hands and she has huge eye bags. 'I find it incredible that a fashion store like H&M, which appeals to young people, is using an image which encourages them to be unhealthy.'
One mother, 41-year-old Maria Rowntree from West London, said she would be reluctant to take her teenage daughter to a store that felt it was reasonable to use such a thin model. She said: 'My 15-year-old loves to shop at H&M and I always feel the experience is a bit of fun for her and her friends, especially when big designers collaborate making expensive labels more affordable. 'But after seeing the disturbingly thin girl used to model the Marni collection, I would think twice about encouraging her to go there. What kind of standards are they setting to teenagers when they say it's attractive to look that gaunt? 'It's bad enough with fashion magazines pushing an unhealthy and unrealistic image of beauty. I would have expected more from H&M.'
When approached on the matter, H&M defended their position, saying that they do not work with 'significantly underweight' models. They told MailOnline today: 'We appreciate feedback from our customers on how we conduct our business. We think it is regrettable that some of our customers interpret our Marni at H&M PR images as unethical, and feel that the model is underweight. 'H&M has an advertising policy in which we strongly distance ourselves from alcohol and drug abuse, and we do not work with models who are significantly underweight.
'The models are always chosen in consultation with representatives from H&M and established modelling agencies who are made aware of, and agree to, H&M’s advertising policy. For this particular Marni at H&M look book shoot we felt that Aymeline Valade would portray the collection in an inspiring way.
'We are aware that many of the models used in images today are petite or thin, and that this is something that is occurring in the industry we operate in. We are committed to not using models who could be considered significantly underweight, and we are looking into how we can take additional steps within our industry.
Again, we regret that the images have been perceived as unethical which has not been our intention, and we will take these comments into consideration for future press and marketing images.' - by DEBORAH ARTHURS
SOURCE: The Daily Mail, UK, 3/9/2012