Back in May of last year, Kirstie Clements was unceremoniously dumped from her post as editor in chief of Vogue Australia after 13 years at the helm, and swiftly replaced by Edwina McCann, the editor of rival title Harper’s Bazaar. In the time since her departure, she has penned “The Vogue Factor: From Front Desk To Editor”, a memoir recounting her 25 years at the title, which is now making headlines for the very unflattering portrait it paints of the modeling industry.
Of course, we’ve heard it all before — The cotton balls! The cocaine! The endless hours of cardio! — but the claims don’t usually come from someone who’s held the top spot at a Condé glossy. So, without further ado, here are four of her tales from the trenches at photo shoots for the Aussie magazine which she led up until the month in which the Vogue Health Initiative was implemented:
- According to Clements, “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’.”
- She tells a story of an unnamed Russian model, whose roommate, a fit model used by top designers, was “in hospital on a drip a lot of the time” to maintain her “high fashion” measurements.
- Another variety of the old cotton ball trick? Eating tissues, apparently, which Clements says she’s witnessed on the job.
- On a three-day shoot in Morocco, the editor reports that she never once saw the model they hired eat a meal. By the end of the trip, the model was nearly too weak to hold herself up.
But while it’s arguably constructive to convey anecdotes that bring to light issues the industry has with eating disorders (even if it’s not exactly the first time it’s been done), the difference between these horror stories being told by, say, a young model as opposed to the former editor in chief of a major magazine, is that Clements was among those in charge of maintaining the impossible standards of thinness that contribute to these problems in the first place. If your models are passing out on set trying to fit into the clothes, well, perhaps that should be a wakeup call, don’t you think?