Sized up conspiracy

Designers Ritu Kumar and Nicholas Coleridge argued it out at the Jaipur Literature Festival. Damini Purkayastha tells us more about a 'size zero' debate at the literary festival...

india Updated: Jan 27, 2009 18:04 IST
Damini Purkayastha
Damini Purkayastha
Hindustan Times

Did everyone wake up one morning in love with the size zero? Or was it a slow conspiracy hatched by the western fashion world? Designer Ritu Kumar and Conde Nast’s Nicholas Coleridge argued it out at the Jaipur Literature Festival.

Kumar, insistent on the presence of a conspiracy, said, “The size zero syndrome was fed by ramps to the world and these unrealistic proportions were anti-women and create an intense dissatisfaction.” This in turn, said Kumar, motivates people to buy and change their wardrobe constantly. “It’s a conspiracy and a very unhealthy one.”

Coleridge defended the allegation, saying, “Models used in Vogue Britain and even in Vogue India are never extremely thin. In fact, there are strict laws in Britain. We reject models who look emaciated. The ones used are naturally thin and normally 17 to 19.”

The fact that notion of beauty had changed through social condition was further pointed out by comparisons of the size-zero women to women in Titian’s paintings who were well-endowed and Kumar’s comparisons of the body type to those of Ajanta Elora sculptures. In an ironic observation, Coleridge pointed out that when Titian painted, people did not have much to eat, and a healthy body was a sign of wealth, and hence aesthetically appealing. “Today people can eat and appreciate skinnier bodies. All that might change with the recession though.”

First Published: Jan 27, 2009 17:59 IST