Gucci advert featuring “unhealthily thin” model banned

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Moya Crockett

Another day, another fashion house getting into trouble for using worryingly thin models. 

A Gucci advert for the brand's Cruise 2016 collection has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for featuring "unhealthily thin" models. The ASA received a complaint about the internet campaign in December 2015 after it appeared on The Times' website, from a reader who believed the models were underweight and that two of the images were irresponsible.

Gucci ad banned

The images complained about by an eagle-eyed Times reader. Picture: Gucci

The images in question depicted two female models: one sitting on a velvet sofa wearing a mustard skirt suit and gold heels, and one leaning against a wall in a long-sleeved, Seventies-style midi dress. The latter picture, in which the model's thin waist is accentuated by her pose, is the one which was eventually banned. 

The pictures originally appeared at the end of a video advert directed by Glen Luchford. In the short film, a flock of beautiful people with very glossy hair dance around an Italian villa to a synth-y cover of Joy Division's She's Lost Control.

According to the ASA, Gucci said that the adverts were part of a video aimed at an "older, sophisticated audience", and that whether the models in question were "unhealthily thin" was a subjective issue. 

The fashion house also argued that none of the models' bones were visible, they weren't wearing heavy makeup (which might accentuate thinness), and that the video's "warm lighting" meant that "there were no hollows caused by shadows". 

But the ASA ruled that while the model in the first image did not look "unhealthily thin", the second model's slender torso and arms looked out of proportion with her head and lower body, her waist looked "very small", and that her "sombre" expression and dark eye makeup made her look "gaunt".

They concluded that the combined impression was that the model was "unhealthily thin", and that the ad was therefore "irresponsible". The image isn't allowed to appear again in the advert in the UK, and Gucci has been told to prepare its images "responsibly" in the future. 

The news comes less than a month after Australian designer Alex Perry said designers should be "held accountable", after he was criticised for using a "scarily thin" model in a catwalk show. In California, a bill has been proposed that would require models to obtain a doctor's certificate to prove they are healthy enough to work. And in December 2015, France passed a bill banning "excessively thin" models


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Moya Crockett

Moya is Women's Editor at, where she is currently overseeing the Visible Women campaign. Carrying a tiny bottle of hot sauce on her person at all times is one of the many traits she shares with both Beyoncé and Hillary Clinton.

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