What happens when you get ousted as editor from one of the world's most prestigious fashion magazines? Well, you write about it, of course, revealing -- among other distasteful details -- that models are eating tissues to curb hunger pangs.
Longtime Vogue Australia Editor Kirstie Clements was fired in May after 25 years of service at the magazine. Now, she has released a tell-all book called "The Vogue Factor," an insider's view that exposes, unashamedly, the cutthroat and chaotic facade behind the glossy covers of a leading magazine.
In her new book, Clements claims models still regularly starve themselves to stay super skinny and some resort to eating tissues to help them feel full. Clements quotes an unnamed Russian model who told her over lunch that her roommate was a fit model, “so she is in hospital on a drip a lot of the time.” A fit model, Clements says, is the body used by top designers and ateliers around which the clothes are designed.
Clements, who was Vogue Australia's top editor for 13 years, recounts on one occasion she didn't once see a top model eat a single meal on a three-day gig. Even worse, Clements recounted that on the last day of the job, the model could hardly hold herself up or keep her eyes open. She also claimed that “When a model who was getting good work in Australia starved herself down two sizes in order to be cast in the overseas shows ... the Vogue fashion office would say she’d become ‘Paris thin.’”
This isn't the first time we've heard whispers on the dark side of the fashion world; however, Clements’ new book marks the first time a prominent Australian fashion editor has dared to air the industry’s dirty laundry. While Clements' book focuses on Vogue fashion models, it manages to come across as a scandalous tell-all tale about secrets the fashion world would prefer remain hidden. Some critics believe “The Vogue Factor” is Clements way of exacting revenge after she was let go and replaced with former Harper’s Bazaar Australia editor Edwina McCann.
If that's true, Clements isn't alone. Imogen Edwards-Jones, who wrote “Fashion Babylon,” ruffled a few feathers in 2006 when that book unveiled some insights into the not-so glamorous world of runway models. For her book, Edwards-Jones used anonymous sources -- three high-profile figures in the fashion world – to reveal that some models use “pile” cream to tighten the skin around their eyes, while others regularly take laxatives and diet pills to maintain a size 0 figure. The reporter-turned-author said, “You might be starving, drunk and high, with dried-up kidneys and the liver of a 55-year-old alcoholic, but just as long as you can make it down the catwalk looking fabulous, who cares?”
The release of Clements new book, "The Vogue Factor," will likely strike another sour chord in some circles. One reader simply stated, “she was punted for good reason …” Another fashion blogger declared, “the book is just a bitter way of redeeming herself about being sacked.”
Georgia Graham is a graduate of Bond University in Queensland and has a degree in Property and Sustainable Development. She is currently working for Pacific Magazines in her hometown of Sydney, Australia.