This week Italian womenswear brand Nolita has caused a lot of commotion with their new and controversial campaign. The photographs of 27-year-old emaciated anorexia patient Isabelle Caro (a French actress) bear the legend 'No Anorexia'. You can see it here (Flash needed). The pictures were shot by the Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani, who in 1992 photographed a man dying of AIDS for a Benetton campaign. It's no coincidence the campaign is coinciding with the Milan Fashion Week. The size zero debate is very much alive!
Caro herself does not blame the fashion industry for her disease, from which she began to suffer at the age of 13, owing to a difficult childhood. She seems sincere in her hope that allowing her emaciated naked body to go on public display will help dispel any "romantic" ideas young girls might have about the condition. She writes a blog about her illness and says: "I've hidden myself and covered myself for too long. Now I want to show myself fearlessly, even though I know my body arouses repugnance. I want to recover because I love life and the riches of the universe. I want to show young people how dangerous this illness is."
The Nolita campaign has received backing from the Italian Ministry of Health. From the point of view of Italian health minister Livia Turco such publicity is a good thing. "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," she said.
The reactions are reaching from positive to negative and everything in between. I have very mixed feelings about it. I'm not shocked by seeing the pictures, I've seen it in real life often enough. I am very glad though that I don't think it's beautiful or something to strive for anymore!!
For a lot of anorexia patients these kind of pics are nothing new also. They are displayed on every pro-ana site to glorify the "anorexic lifestyle". On the other hand seeing them in the streets on huge billboards and 2-page display in newspapers might be different from glancing at them in the privacy of their own home. I've been thinking what my own reaction would have been in my anorexic days, but I'm not sure. Sometimes shock therapy like this is the only thing that can cause a change or even revolution in behaviour and thinking.
I don't know...
What do you think??