For sooooo long there has been extensive criticism of the fashion industry for its obsession with skinny models but more recently it has seemed like the reality of actual body shapes was starting to get some recognition from both fashion houses and retailers.

Photo shoots and catwalk sessions with ‘plus size’ models were lauded (even if they were put on display a bit like freak show attractions) and the size 16 mannequin appeared on shop floors. Job done, apparently, for the well-meaning elements of society who wanted a dose of reality in fashion (though you could argue until the cows come home about whether high fashion should be based in reality…).

If only life were that straight forward. Now, it seems, the arrival of the bigger mannequin is causing sleepless nights for the Government’s chief medical officer. Why? Because she is fretting that size 16 mannequins send the message that it’s acceptable to be obese – if you want to call size 16 ‘obese’.

So, the message to retailers, the fashion industry and teenage girls everywhere from Dame Sally Davies appears to be that there is some ideal, municipally-sanctioned size and that anyone either side of that point of perfection needs to do something about it.

This has to be one for the “You Couldn’t Make It Up” category.


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