Karl Lagerfeld, the Chanel honcho who called Adele “a little too fat” and complained about “fat mummies” ruining fashion, is at it again. In an interview this week with the U.K.’s Channel 4 News, Lagerfeld was asked about the fashion industry’s influence on women’s body image. There was this exchange:
Reporter: “You think it’ll be O.K. for women to be fat in the future?”
Lagerfeld: “Unfortunately, yes.”
Reporter: “But not O.K. now?”
He then called the subject “ridiculous” and said, “ The story with anorexic girls — nobody works with anorexic girls. That has nothing to do with fashion. People who have that, they have problem with family and things like this. There are less than one percent of anorexic girls, but there are over — in France, I don’t know about England — over 30 percent of girls who are big, big, overweight.”
Eating disorders were long ago proven to be complex issues. In terms of the statistics, Lagerfeld actually isn’t that far off, if you apply his numbers to the U.S. Sixty percent of adult women in the U.S. are considered overweight, and just over one-third of those are obese, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The likelihood of an American woman becoming anorexic or bulimic during her lifetime is 0.9 and 1.5 percent, respectively, according to the National Institutes of Health.
But then he said, “The models are skinny but they’re not that skinny. All the new girls are not that skinny. You know, there’s a new evolution.”
Models are skinny but they’re not that skinny? In an industry that established BMI and age limits because models were dying from eating disorders? What planet is this guy living on?