You pick up your Cosmo or Vogue from the bookstore and are not surprised to see a beautiful, thin and seemingly perfect celebrity/model on the cover and inside, designer advertisements show even more of these pristine figures. It was not until recently that this depiction has been shattered by a controversial Ralph Lauren ad.
A model by the name of Filippa Hamilton was featured in an ad for Ralph Lauren Blue in which her waist was shriveled down to be a smaller size than her head. The advertisement was displayed in a Japanese department store.
This extreme retouching sparked debate over the use of Photoshop in fashion. A blog run by a company by the name of BoingBoing, www.photoshopdisasters.blogspot.com, posted the disproportionate photo on its Web site.
Following BoingBoing’s accusations of the overuse of Photoshop software, Ralph Lauren sued the site for copyright infringement. Ralph Lauren’s argument falls under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). BoingBoing refused to remove the advertisement after Ralph Lauren discovered its circulation.
BoingBoing is dedicated to exposing giants of the fashion industry and their use of airbrushing and software, like Photoshop, that is used to “retouch” models and celebrities in popular magazines.
Ralph Lauren issued a statement saying, “We have learned that we are responsible for the poor imaging and retouching that resulted in a very distorted image of a woman’s body.” Regardless of their statement this is not the first time they have corrected photos to make models look waif-like. BoingBoing has posted many more of these distorted advertisements. (see photos below)
Filippa was fired from Ralph Lauren after working there for seven years, which has raised questions as to whether or not it was because of her weight. Hamilton was by no means overweight at 5’10 and 120 pounds. Ralph Lauren claims it was because of a breach of contract.