Sunday, November 1, 2009


The controversial photo of Filippa Hamilton by Ralph Lauren

I am late to this party, but just had to weigh in on this controversy.

I've always been a huge fan of Ralph Lauren's beautiful, understated, classic designs. I've bought his clothing for years. So to say that I was appalled by his Art Department's aggressive Photoshopping (Photochopping?) of a picture of Filippa Hamilton, and then learning that the company fired her in April of 2009 for being too fat, is a gross understatement.

Filippa is 23 years old, 5 feet 10 inches, and 120 pounds...a size 4. She had worked as a model for Ralph Lauren for 8 years. 8 years! And out of the blue Filippa was given the news that she was too large for Lauren's clothes. Huh?

Here is the Photoshopped pic of Filippa Hamilton that raised the ire of millions:

And here is how Filippa really looks:

Michael K @ Dlisted said it best:

"Ralph Lauren Fired This Model For Being A Fatty Fat Fatty

You might have already seen the ridiculous Ralph Lauren ad on the left which was Photoshopped by a cross-eyed chihuahua who has a bad case of ADD and a strange fascination with tree branches. After everyone cried "outrage" over the pic, Ralph Lauren issued some half-assed apology saying they take full responsibility...blah..blah...blah. The model in the picture, Filippa Hamilton, doesn't actually look like that in real life. Filippa's head is actually bigger than her hips. Nuts, I know.

At 5'10" and 120lbs, Filippa is pretty svelte, but she still isn't skinny enough for Ralph Lauren. On the Today show this morning, Filippa said Ralph Lauren sent her to the guillotine, because she didn't look like she might fall over if you a blew a kiss at her.

Filippa said, "They fired me because they said I was overweight and I couldn't fit in their clothes anymore. I'm very proud of what I look like, and I think a role model should look healthy." ...

Ralph Lauren confirmed to the NYDN that they pink-slipped Filippa "as a result of her inability to meet the obligations under her contract with us."

Maybe this has something to do with the recession. Maybe the brains at Ralph Lauren think that since people can't buy food, we will all look like malnourished praying (for food) mantises. Not only that, why pay Filippa when they can pull some random kid off the street and give them a couple of Skittles to draw the next Ralph Lauren ad..."

Lauren's apology about the Filippa Hamilton fiasco fell flat when a few days later another photo appeared in a shop in Sydney, Australia featuring model Valentina Zelyaeva. Her body in the photo had been trimmed via the wonders of Photoshop:



To hear Filippa talking about her firing by Ralph Lauren on the Today Show, watch this video:

This article in the Daily Mail is also a good read:

A word of advice to Lauren's Art Department: Take some anatomy lessons...STAT.


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Brandee said...

This has been all over the news out here and such a sick outrage! What's so sick is both models look too thin in the first place! 5'10 and 120 is way thin as it is. The photoshopped picture makes her look about 90 and completely in the throws of anorxia. It even looks fake and sick so to put it out there then another anorexic shot just a few days later is sick.
I heard on Rachel Ray that the average American woman is a size 14! yet models and clothing companies push literally for the "anorexic" look!

Arielle Bair, MSW, LSW said...

When I heard about this it made me so angry. The sad thing is, I'm sure it happens all the time with many fashion designers and this happens to be one of the times we are hearing about it. I had a discussion with a woman I am running a parent workshop with (for parents of teens with EDs) about this Ralph Lauren craziness. We looked at the photos, read the article, gaped at each other. "This is why teens hate their bodies and think they are not thin enough," we said. "They see a beautiful woman get fired for being too fat at 120 lbs, and think - 'But I weigh more than that so I must be fat.'"

It freaking infuriates me.

☆Cαѕι ☆♥☆ said...

Actually, i do not know the english very well, but i was reading what you wrote about Karen, that anorexic gril, i really wishh that people could see what eating disorders really are, are not a game, they are killing me, and i don't want this for anybody, please enjoy your life, don't destroy it, JUST LOVE YOU!

Anonymous said...

It's disheartening to see that the same unhealthy attitude still prevails in the modeling world. I can't imagine how anyone could possibly believe the photoshopped picture to be more attractive than the model's actual body size.

I hope this is not an inappropriate comment, but based on the pictures, I find it hard to believe that the model is 5'10 and 120 pounds--she looks too healthy. 120 pounds is significantly underweight for 5'10, and I imagine that someone that size would look much more frail. The model has beautiful curves (I don't know how else to put it, but she has significant-sized breasts, which most underweight women lack). I can't help wondering if her actual weight has been "lowered" by the media (if not by the model herself).

Anonymous said...

Agree she looks too 'healthy' for 120

I'm 5'3, I've been 120lbs before and she looks the same size I was at that weight!

And yea maybe it's wrong to say this but IMO she looks better photoshoped

Anonymous said...

I have made a personal decision NOT to purchase any Ralph Lauren clothes after this photoshopping travesty. Both pictures look so outrageously photoshopped I wonder how in the world they believed audiences would be fooled into thinking that was natural. We have to consider INTENT here by Lauren. BOTH models were not fat or big. Why the need for further photoshopping to create a smaller torso image and smaller arms and legs? They are PURPOSELY trying to perpetuate an unbelievable image and aspiration. Unless the photoshoppers are anorexic themselves and think THAT image is appealing and aspirational, then I don't see why Ralph L. did this. I'm not buying any of their clothes. This is utterly ridiculous and deceitful.

S. Tanner said...

I'm late on commenting on here, as I didn't even know this site existed until today. I'd say the worst part of the whole contraversy is that people were outraged mostly by the use of Photoshop. Sadly, they were only somewhat upset that the anorexic look was being presented as 'sexy', but were extremely appalled at the use of 'that evil program, Photoshop'. The real crime is that the photo glorifies starvation. True, the guy who Photoshopped the picture should have been fired for doing such a horrible job (I could tell the picture was 'shopped the second I saw it-the fact that if she had looked like that, she'd have had to get 6 ribs and most of her pelvis removed). Still, Photoshop can be a wonderful tool, provided it is used responsibly. It's not the software that's to blame; it's the people who use it to glorify EDs.

Personally, my eating habits aren't all that good, but as I've said to the people who think I should go in for treatment, 'I'm not anorexic; my wallet is. Treatment won't help, but higher pay so I can afford adequate food again will.'

I love your blog, and if you don't mind, I'd like to use a picture from your blog. Mind you, I'll send the finished picture, assuming, of course, it turns out the way I intend. I'll bookmark your blog and wait for a reply.

Again, thank you for this blog!

Medusa said...

S. Tanner, thanks for your comments.

Yes, of course you may use a picture from my blog. Thanks so much for asking.

~ Medusa

Kurosawa Aikiro said...

Their photo-shopper is horrible actually...the shopping is so obvious and they both lack figures after his edits...hips also look retarded, like part was cut off or something......he should be fired, he has no eye for modeling.. :/

Anonymous said...

First of all Filippa is gorgeous, stunning and although in reality models are thinner than their photos bely (the camera adds 10 lbs blablabla) her photos do portray the ideal womans healthy physique. I will forever associate her name with this photo.

If as she states... she has NOT gained weight to jeapardize her contract in any has she waivered from the obligations of her contract? Ralph Lauren issued a statement blaming the mistake of the artist / editor who touched up her image and yet she WAS told she had gotten too large for the job....without any weight gain at all.

I would hope the industry would learn from tragedies like Isabel Caro...they said they would start using healthier models...instead there seems to be a backslide.instead to go for the thinner, sicklier look.

Shame on you Ralph Lauren whose look was always the healthy, active All American (albeit portrayed by numerous European models) Look!