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No Progress in France on 'skinny Model' Charter

Efforts to draw up a French fashion industry charter to keep ultra thin models off catwalks, magazines and advertising posters have made no progress since May , when France elected a new government, industry sources said Friday.

As world capital of fashion, leaders of both France's powerful couture world and the ready-to-wear industry had joined a working-group set up by the Health Ministry in January amid mounting world concern over the link between anorexia and showcasing skinny models.

But talks to fine-tune an ethics "charter on body image" drafted in May have been suspended, with no date set for a new meeting and no deadline set for the charter, said Sylvie Zawadzki, of the French Couture Federation.

The next round of Paris ready-to-wear shows takes place in September.

Like the British Fashion Council (BFC), which runs British Fashion Week, the French favour raising awareness about the risks of eating disorders and promoting a healthy body image, rather than setting rules about body mass index (BMI).

Concern over teenage anorexia and over-thin models mounted following the deaths of two South American models last year.

In France, agencies require a government-registered licence and must request special authorisation for models aged under 16, who undergo regular medical check-ups.

The French working group includes fashion, advertising and media representatives as well as consumer groups and health disorder experts, and is headed by child pyschiatrist Marcel Rufo. His office said it was waiting for instructions from the new minister to continue the work.

In Rome this week, 15 models were kicked out of a fashion show for being too thin -- under French size 36, or US size eight.

In London, the Model Health Inquiry, ordered by the BFC, issued a report this week proposing that models aged under 16 be banned from London Fashion Week.

They also demanded a study investigating how common eating disorders are among models and urged chaperoning for 17- and 18-year-olds at catwalk shows.


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