This ad campaign from Italian designers Flash & Partners debuted at Milan Fshion Week for their line Nolita. The model is Isabelle Caro, 27 who has suffered from Anorexia herself since she was 13. This ad campaign has showed up in papers and newspapers around Milan, and was shot by Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani.
Flash & Partners said in a statement that Toscani's aim was "to use the naked body to show everyone the reality of this illness, caused in most cases by the stereotypes imposed by the world of fashion". The ad campaign even got the blessing of Italy's health minister Livia Turco who said: "The disturbing image of Isabelle Caro could open an original channel for communication and encourage people to shoulder their responsibilities in the area of anorexia."
I honestly have mixed feelings about this Nolita ad campaign.
On the positive side, I applaud Isabelle Caro for having the courage to pose for an ad in the nude and not hiding behind her illness. She wants to recover from anorexia, and she feels that by bringing awareness to Anorexia it will help countless others suffering from eating disorders. I admire her intent.
I also think it is fantastic that an Italian government official is supporting the message of the campaign. As soon as something gets political backing, more attention is called to the subject matter, and frankly there needs to be more action instead of talk in getting models and society off the size 0 obsession.
Now this is where I have reservations. This ad campaign was paid for by a fashion house to sell clothes. It was not sponsored by a non-profit anti-anorexia organization whose driving intent is truly to help those with anorexia. A campaign is deemed successful by a for-profit company if it results in more sales. That's a truth too. They are using shock, cause marketing to get attention to their line Nolita.
Now you can argue that companies like Dove are doing the same thing as Flash & Partners in that they are both using "real" women to break away from the unrealistic standards of beauty typically used in advertising to sell product, and are calling awareness to issues that need changing. With Dove though, they are using real women to show health and vibrance.
In this Nolita ad, the featured model is a woman who has a very serious and potentially life threatening health issue. Some Pro-Anas will actually see this ad and think it is "thinspiration" encouraging to keep on with their Anorexia because look, a top fashion house is using the image no matter that the message is clearly "No Anorexia."
Overall though, I would rather see some action done by the fashion world than nothing at all, and so Flash & Partners does get a nod in my book for effort.