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Italy's Fashion Manifesto: The Revolution Has Begun

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There's been a lot of chatter about Nicole Richie being pulled over in the wee hours of the morning this week - possibly under the influence of drugs and alcohol - and oh, yeah, driving on the wrong side of the road. But what about the fact that SHE WEIGHS 85 POUNDS at five feet one inches tall!!!

Thank God someone is finally beginning to take note. Italy has just sent a bombshell into the fashion industry with a Manifesto on a self-regulatory code of good practice. The Manifesto will be launched before the Milan women's fashion week in February and declares that models who come under 18.5 on the BMI index--the World Health Organization's definition of underweight -should be banned from working for the sake of their own health. "In the third world, if someone has an index of less than 18.5 they send in humanitarian aide " said Flaminua Spadone an aide to the Italian minister Mario Boselli.

This Sunday, Kate Winslet told the BBC, "its so disturbing the glamorization of ultra thin size zero models and actresses" and says she keeps magazines featuring such women away from her 6 year old daughter. "Its so disturbing because young girls are impressionable form 11 up to 19, 20 even. They're trying to figure out who they are - and they want to be loved, and what I resent is that there is an image of perfection that is getting thinner and thinner , and its truly upsetting to me.". She continues to speak out on this subject, and has become a role model of great significance in the 21st century of women's health and attitude toward beauty.

This week, Italian youth minister Givanna Melandri has been meeting with Italian fashion houses - including Armani, Versace and Prada, urging them to follow Spain's guidelines. They have introduced the Manifesto and are asking all those in the fashion world - designers, modeling agencies, and photographers - to sign the chapter.

AMERICA, are you listening? Who will take up this important cause in the fashion industry here? Nicole Richie is only one example of an emaciated woman gracing the pages of our most popular magazines -- no one can be this thin and be healthy. Lets say what we know.
Kate moss snorting coke to be the chic heroin model is more employed now than before. But you do not have to be an expert in the field of health and nutrition to know that you cannot possibly stay that thin as a size zero and not be doing something harmful to your health. Of course there are those who are genetically thin - we know who you are. But this is self -imposed mutilation rewarded with huge contracts and photo ops in every magazine. The thinner you are the more photographed you are. Instant gratification. Death Watch.

A Manifesto for a healthier standard for the fashion industry. This is a brave new step and should be applauded and emulated. Who will sign up from the American Designers. Which Editor will be the first to lead the charge. We know that this is not a disease that you catch from a designer, this is a disease of the standard of an industry that is emulated by young women worldwide. Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Donna Karan, someone should lead the pack.......... I have always admired Diane Von Furstenberg... she seems to understand the difference between genetically skinny and emaciated. Spain and Italy. Look at Salma hayek and Penelope Cruz. Gorgeous. But womanly, full and thriving. Let the World Health Organizations definition of underweight be written about and spoken about and adhered to in the world of fashion. We will all be watching from the front row.

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