Friday April 03, 2015

France Tightens the Thigh Gap

Listen 7:28

France's MPs just voted in a law that punishes agencies and fashion houses with fines of up to $100,000 CND and jail sentence of six months if their models are malnourished or seriously underweight. Models will have to be assessed by doctors to determined if their body mass index (BMI) is above a certain number. That number has yet to be announced. 

Victoire Dauxerre

French former model Victoire Dauxerre (Courtesy: Victoire Dauxerre)


Victoire Dauxerre is French, and she was a model during her teens. She struggled with anorexia - a disease that nearly killed her. "Obviously, the pressure is really high. Everyday, I wanted to be thinner and thinner. I just didn't eat anything." She met many girls who did eat, but threw up. As for the infamous 15 centimetre "thigh gap" models are aspire to, Dauxerre says that "the agencies would check [the gap] on a regular basis." 

Similar laws limiting malnourished models exist in Spain. But for France, the epicentre of the fashion industry, limiting a model's weight-loss is considered revolutionary by health advocates.

In the end, for Dauxerre, it comes down to the difference between healthy slim models and ones that are excessively underweight. "If the designers realize that they want slim models rather than thin skinny ones, then the agencies will hire slim French models, and everything will be ok." says Dauxerre.

Still, Dauxerre isn't convinced the industry will embrace the new law. She's looking ahead to next year's Paris Fashion Week to see if anything changes.