Researchers Say Anorexia Is a Socially Transmitted Illness

Economists in Europe studied anorexia and body image. You will be shocked, shocked that they concluded in part that the "social and cultural environment" influences how women feel about their bodies, our understanding of what comprises an "ideal" body, and our behaviors:

The first-ever economic analysis of anorexia, studying nearly 3,000 young women in the UK and the rest of Europe, found that the social and cultural environment influences decisions by young women to starve themselves in search of what they perceive to be an ideal body shape.

The researchers from the London School of Economics and City University London say that anorexia appears to be a socially transmitted disease, and they therefore argue that greater regulation of fashion and advertising imagery would have a public health benefit, because it would ease some of the social pressure to be skinny and "perfect":

"Government intervention to adjust individual biases in self-image would be justified to curb the spread of a potential epidemic of food disorders," they write in their paper, to be published in the academic journal Economica later this year.

"The distorted self-perception of women with food disorders and the importance of the peer effects may prompt governments to take action to influence role models and compensate for social pressure on women driving the trade-off between ideal weight and health."

The etiology of anorexia (and all eating disorders) has been a focus of research and debate; but for whatever portion of the illness is socio-culturally linked, greater body diversity in fashion and ads can hardly be a bad thing. [Guardian]


In 1972 for its U.K. launch, Cosmopolitan put together this nifty and totally not-cringe-inducingly-sexist ad. It billed itself as "A sensational new magazine for women who are interested in men, love, fashion, food, men, travel, films, beauty and themselves … and men ." [Copyranter ]
Researchers Say Anorexia Is a Socially Transmitted Illness Hussein Chalayan is incorporating palladium into some of his new collection because of a partnership with the International Palladium Board. As the sages of 20th Century Steel Band once put it, everyone's got to make a living. [WWD ]
Researchers Say Anorexia Is a Socially Transmitted Illness Best Coast 's Bethany Cosentino (apparently this is some kind of a musical band) is "designing" a clothing line for Urban Outfitters . This apparently explains the high-waisted romper with tummy windshield wipers at left. [@BestyCoastyy ]
Researchers Say Anorexia Is a Socially Transmitted Illness Man Repeller Leandra Medine, who recently announced her engagement (and spurred a commenter backlash among weird, angry people who apparently felt betrayed by her decision to have a romantic life instead of just being repellent forever), is on the cover of society digest Avenue magazine. Inside, she doesn't name her fiancé, but says he is her long-time, on-again-off-again boyfriend who works in finance. She says she's been talking with Prabal Gurung about a wedding dress. [Avenue ]
Researchers Say Anorexia Is a Socially Transmitted Illness These photos of a Chanel Classic Flap bag being made are pretty cool, if you're a bag-making nerd (which we obviously are ). What's vomitous is reading all the fawning quotes from editors who probably got their $3k bags for free, talking about how "timeless" and "must-have" and, er, "infamous" (Louise Roe of Glamour , that word does not mean what you think it means) they are. "To own a Chanel classic flap makes you feel that you are a part of something bigger than just a handbag." Eyeroll. [StyleRepublic ]
  • Mary Katrantzou — one of several designers in the curious position of making clothes in sizes smaller than they themselves wear, like the Mulleavy sisters of Rodarte — says she is considering producing her fashion line, which currently ends at a U.K. size 14, in sizes up to a U.K. 16. Net-A-Porter, one of her main buyers, has expressed interest. Katrantzou says selling larger clothes online makes intuitive sense to her. "I buy online — I think as a bigger size, you feel more comfortable trying things at home," says the designer. "I was looking at a size 14 woman wearing our dress and I thought, 'I can't believe we don't go bigger than that size!' because she looked tiny. Sometimes designers are blamed for not going to a size 16, but it's not that: it's that there isn't demand [from buyers]. So I think if buyers were more brave to try it for a couple of seasons, they would sell more and designers would produce more." Of course demand from buyers matters — but designers also have to be willing to promote their plus-size lines as they do their regular lines. That means to include plus-size looks in their shows, to lend samples to magazines, to include plus-size models in their ads, and to talk about their plus-size clothes in the press. But in a fashion culture that still equates "high-end" with "skinny," few brands are willing to do that work, lest their names be sullied by public association with plus-size women. Katrantzou, for her part, sounds nervous when asked if she might go above a U.K. 16 (which is still just a U.S. 12). "I don't know about bigger — no one has asked about a size 18. You get into different trouble: you might have designed it differently because then the body shape is different." [Vogue UK]
  • The people who make your makeup, toothpaste, shampoo, sunscreen, deodorant, conditioner, perfume, body wash, moisturizer, lotion, and whatnot enjoy only minimal regulation in the U.S., and they like it that way. At its annual conference, the Personal Care Products Council and representatives of nine similar international organizations talked about the horrors of regulation — like the (shelved) bill that would have extended some minimal FDA oversight to personal-care product ingredients. And they have a lot of money for lobbying: "The overall prestige business was up 12% last year. Makeup was up 10%, skin care was up 15%, and fragrance was up 12%," said PCPC chair Dan Brestle. "Thank you, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift." [WWD]
  • Katy Perry went to a fashion party in Paris. This is what happened next:

    Introduced straight away to Condé Nast International honcho Jonathan Newhouse, she held out her hand and purred: "Newhouse, much better than old house!"

    Asked about her sexy, curve-hugging dress, glinting with gold sequins, she said: "It's either Vegas hooker or Balmain. It's the first time I've worn them, and after they read this quote, it might be the last."

    We have unconfirmed reports that Katy Perry then said, "Hi-yo!" Katy Perry will be here all week, ladies and gentlemen! She advises you to try the veal, and to please tip your waitress. Also, take her ex-husband. Please. [WWD]

  • Cate Blanchett, on her red-carpet beauty routine: "I'll have an oxygen facial. Or a vodka and tonic!" She also says, "I think blue eyeshadow should only be applied by professionals." [Fashionista]
  • Daphne Guinness is deaccessioning 100 articles of clothing from her incredible wardrobe, via Christie's auction. There will be a public display prior to the sale, in London, and all proceeds will go to a charity Guinness helped establish in the name of her late friend Isabella Blow. The foundation supports emerging designers and artists. [Vogue UK]
  • Kanye West's ugly-ass beaded shoes cost €4420. At current exchange rates, that's $5,892. [Fashionista]
  • Kim Kelly Busy Phillips says, "I'm a sucker for a sale. I don't understand why anyone wants to pay full price for anything because everything goes on sale." [WSJ]
  • "Sometimes I feel like: 'What am I doing here?' What am I doing sitting on the front row of a Stella McCartney show?" mused Jamie Hince, while sitting in the front row of the Stella McCartney show. "She is my friend, and her dad was in the Beatles. You can tell I'm a bit awkward about it. I feel a bit uncomfortable about where the whole fashion and music thing came from, really." Spoken like a true member of the band that played fashion parties, what, four out of seven nights during New York fashion week. [Vogue UK]
  • Dolce & Gabbana won a victory in its ongoing $500-million-dollar tax fraud case when a lower court dismissed all charges — but now the Italian supreme court has revisited the decision. Tax avoidance has traditionally not been considered a crime in Italy, meaning that Dolce & Gabbana's 2004 decision to transfer the company's assets to a shell entity in Luxembourg, and to not pay any Italian taxes on that sale and to duck all future Italian corporate taxes, would ordinarily be legal. But the supreme court said in its written decision on why it decided to take up the case that if there is "criminal intent" in the avoidance, then that behavior can be criminal. That sets a precedent in Italian law. The charges against Dolce & Gabbana will now be refiled in a lower court. [WWD]
  • We got an email this morning alerting us that Louis Vuitton had "relaunched" its Facebook page. As best as we can tell, this seems to mean the brand switched to "timeline." [Louis Vuitton Facebook]
  • Need a job? Move to Guangdong, China, the factory of the world. The province has need of about 800,000 workers — primarily go-getters who want to join exciting, fast-paced industries like working in textile factories and shoe factories. With the cost of living rising in China and manufacturing expanding into rural areas, where people can live more cheaply, fewer migrant workers are willing to tolerate long hours and sometimes atrocious conditions far away from home. If you did move to Guangdong, your minimum wage would be 1500 Yuan, or $238, per month. [WWD, People's Daily]
  • Isabel Marant is expanding. Her label is moving into new, and much larger, company headquarters in Paris, and will open six stores (for a global total of 14) this year. [WWD]
  • And now, a moment with Kelly Cutrone. Kelly, what would you change about the fashion industry, as a show producer and PR, if you were queen for a day?

    "Why aren't people paying to be on the media riser? Why are fashion designers content providers and what's happening to that content? Who's policing the content? You don't think somebody who's shooting on the end of a media riser is selling that content to to a 7-up billboard in Ginza? The music industry has a publishing company. They found out that people were playing artists' music on the radion and they said, ‘you have to pay the artist,' but there's nobody monitoring whats happening to all these fashion images that are created."

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. Those "people" on the media riser are press photographers who come to shows to shoot for magazines, newspapers, and wire services like Getty and the AP so that reporters who want to write about your clients can have some fucking art for their stories. The reason photographers own the pictures they take is that they — unlike radio stations that broadcast other people's copyrighted work — create their own copyrighted work every time they click a shutter, which they (or their respective news organizations) own. At least, according to longstanding U.S. and international law, they do. Pay to be on the media riser? As so often with Kelly Cutrone, we want what she's smoking. [Fashionista]