All that griping about how models' slender proportions are completely unrealistic? Turns out they are literally unrealistic -- as in, they are totally fake.
H&M has been sticking real models' heads on computer-generated bodies, reveals Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet (no, we don't usually read Swedish tabloids -- Jezebel tipped us off).
The head-body disconnect was first noticed in Norway via Bildbluffen ("Photo Bluff"), a site that identifies when photos have been doctored. But once they pointed out that a bunch of lingerie product shots from H&M's Christmas campaign featured fake bodies with real heads, we started to notice it ourselves (see below).
Luckily, H&M has fessed up. The company's press officer Hacan Andersson told Aftonbladet, "It's not a real body, it is completely virtual and made the computer. We take pictures of the clothes on a doll [mannequin] that stands in the shop, and then create the human appearance with a program on your computer."
While this doesn't seem to apply to the ad campaigns featuring, say, Karen Elson and Abbey Lee Kershaw, it does happen with the models on H&M's e-commerce site.
The point seems to be that real bodies would be totally distracting for shoppers looking at product shots. "We do this to show off the clothes," says Andersson.
Not so fast, H&M. Aftonbladet writes that the model fake-out is actually occuring because H&M is simply not satisfied with the slew of models coming through its doors. Commented Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation's Helle Vaagland:
"This illustrates very well the sky-high aesthetic demands placed on the female body. The demands are so great that H&M, among the poor photo models, cannot find someone with both body and face that can sell their bikinis."
Oy. So now we have fake, computer-generated models to make us feel bad about our bodies? This is an uphill battle, ladies -- and just another sign that models should not be looked to as examples of ideal physiques.
Check out the product shots below -- can you tell that there's a fake body attached to those real heads?