Gucci Ad Banned for Using 'Unhealthily Thin' Models

April 6th 2016

Taylor Bell

A Gucci advertisement was banned for its use of "unhealthily thin" models, as the ongoing debate about weight standards in the modeling industry continues, The New York Times reports.

The ad, which appeared in a video on The Times of London website in December, featured a model with a frail physique leaning against a wall and another model with a thin frame sitting on a couch.

The U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority took issues with these images and ruled Wednesday that the ad by the Italian designer was "irresponsible."

"We noted that the model leaning against the wall was wearing a long dress so that only her lower legs, ankles, neck and head were visible. We considered that her torso and arms were quite slender and appeared to be out of proportion with her head and lower body. Further, her pose elongated her torso and accentuated her waist so that it appeared to be very small. We also considered that her sombre facial expression and dark make up, particularly around her eyes, made her face look gaunt. For those reasons, we considered that the model leaning against the wall appeared to be unhealthily thin in the image, and therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible."

In the ASA report, Gucci responded by saying that the ad was aimed at an "older, sophisticated audience," and that the models' thin appearance is something in the eye of the beholder.

"They said it was, to some extent, a subjective issue as to whether a model looked unhealthily thin. Which they considered was not the case for either of the women identified by the complainant. They believed both models had slim builds. But were not depicted in a way that could be interpreted as unhealthily thin. For example, nowhere in the ads were any models’ “bones” visible, their makeup was natural rather than heavy (which might have accentuated the impression of thinness), lighting was uniform and warm to ensure there were no hollows caused by shadows and their clothes were not revealing."

Despite Gucci's reasoning, the ASA ordered that the ad must not appear in its current form.

This ruling comes as new changes in the modeling industry restrict overly thin models in Europe from participating in the fashion world amid concerns about models' health and body image.

In an effort to curb eating disorders and promote a more body positive image in the fashion industry, the French government banned modeling agencies from using extremely thin models, according to Reuters. France now requires models to have a Body Mass Index of 18 or over, and agencies that alter images of models must explicitly state that those images have been retouched. According to TIME, magazine agencies that break this law could be fined 75,000 Euros ($82,000) and face up to six months of jail time.

France isn't the only country making headway in promoting health among models. Italy, Spain and Israel have all created similar laws to help encourage a healthy environment for models, according to NBC.

You can watch the Gucci ad here: