As the western supermodels are paying fatally to keep thin, the Indian fashion fraternity says the insistence here is a well-grown body that suits the sari or the lehenga and the models must keep healthy.
"Indian models are a healthy lot", they say, and, are away from harm's way.
The recent death of 21-year-old Brazilian supermodel Anna Carolina Reston due to anorexia, an eating disorder, and 22-year-old Luisel Ramos because of a heart attack, owing to sudden loss of 12 kilos, sent shock waves across the fashion industry.
Six months after Ramos collapsed during a fashion show, her 18-year-old sister too died Tuesday, apparently due to malnutrition. The latest death has fired another round of discussion of how models are starving themselves in a bid to look glamorous.
But back home, the Indian fashion circle is quite relieved that the scenario is much better here. "Our models are quite healthy. This is mainly because an Indian attire like the sari or the lehenga demands a fuller body," fashion designer Jattin Kochhar told IANS.
Couturist Ritu Kumar echoes his thoughts. "Our tradition favours voluptuousness. It's weird that designers use anorexic models to display their clothes, which are then marketed for real women. I prefer a full-bodied model to a reed thin one."
Fashion designer Manish Arora also dismisses the idea that Indian models are too thin. "I think they are very proportionate."
Kochhar goes to the extent of saying that one has to "see the amount these models can gorge!"
On a more serious note, he says: "In fact I think the younger girls need to tone up and lose a few inches, which is healthy, and not lose weight."
While designers working on the Indian couture might want a 'full-bodied' model, those designing western prêt prefer a tall, athletic figure with a lean bustline. Arora for instance designs clothes for a smaller frame.
That the Indian models are a healthy lot might be reinstated time and again by the designers, but that there is an immense amount of pressure to constantly look perfect can't be overlooked either.
Model Amanpreet Wahi, for instance, says that "thin does sell". In an attempt to transform into the desired size, she went in for crash dieting, which has now resulted in low blood pressure and hair loss.
Founder and chairman of the Indian Institute of Fashion Technology, Ratandeep Lal says: "There is a great amount of pressure on the models to look perfect, which translates to the fact that they have to be slim. The designers may not want thin models but the erratic schedules and cut throat competition forces the models to lose whatever little weight they have."
With the stage being set up for the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW), to be held in the capital March 22-26, it remains for the audience to see which haute look is sported by the Indian models on the ramp.