Image courtesy of The Daily Mail
Ironically, British magazine Healthy found itself under some harsh criticism last week after it came out that they had retouched cover star Kamilla Wladyka to look larger than her usual self, in an attempt to fit in with the magazine's 'healthy' image. The photoshopping became apparent after photos of the model in her usual slim state surfaced on The Fashion Spot, and since then a number of top editors have revealed that they do the same for their magazines.
First there was Jane Druker of Healthy magazine, who admitted to editing a girl who turned up to a shoot looking "really thin and unwell", next British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman confessed that she too has been has been shocked at the state that models turn up to a shoot, forcing her to ask photographers "Can you not make them look too thin". Former Cosmopolitan editor Leah Hardy, however, came completely clean on the matter when she wrote an article for The Daily Mail on "A big fat (and very dangerous) lie" - airbrushing models to look healthy.
Hardy dubs the technique 'reverse retouching', as she lists Robin Derrick of Vogue admitting to using the tactic, as well as Johnnie Boden's complaint of supposedly healthy looking girls showing up to shoots, waif-like and in a bad way. She writes, "I, too, have been part of the reverse retouching trend. When editing Cosmopolitan magazine, I also faced the dilemma of what to do with models who were, frankly, frighteningly thin" continuing to describe the dilemmas that fashion editors face.
"A fashion editor will often choose a model for a shoot that's happening weeks, or even months, later. In the meantime, a hot photographer will have flown in from New York, schedules will be juggled to put him together with a make-up artist, hairdresser, fashion stylist and various assistants, and a hugely expensive location will have been booked. And a selection of tiny, designer sample dresses will be available for one day only", admitting "I have taken anguished calls from a fashion editor who has put together this finely orchestrated production, only to find that the model they picked six weeks ago for her luscious curves and gleaming skin, is now an anorexic waif with jutting bones and acne."
More shockingly, Hardy admits that a model's weight was not her only problem, on occasions. "Or she might pitch up covered in mysterious bruises (many models have a baffling penchant for horrible boyfriends), or smelling of drink and hung over, as many models live on coffee and vodka just to stay slim". It seems that magazine editors pushed for time with the stress that comes with organising a shoot cannot afford to rebook models, and so make do with having to use 'reverse retouching', and so it appears to be down to the modelling agencies to tackle this seemingly huge problem. The editors are calling for healthy girls - agencies take note, and everyone would be better in the long run.