Ralph Lauren ad features model Photoshopped to look insect thin


Given that many magazines are starting to use regular-sized women as models (I’m not going to say “plus-size,” because while they are larger than your average model, they’re not plus-sized for your average person), it seems like Ralph Lauren is rather backward thinking when it comes to their own model selection. I’m not going to slam a fashion brand for choosing a thin model, but not only did Ralph Lauren do that, but they Photoshopped at least 20 lbs off already extremely thin Filippa Hamilton. She looks like a preying mantis. To make matters worse, instead of taking responsibility for their actions, Ralph Lauren legally attacked the websites that were posting the image in order to have a discussion.

Just as the fashion world seemed to be coming around to promoting realistic portrayals of women, designer Ralph Lauren has come under fire promoting an unhealthy aesthetic of dangerously thin women.

Bloggers have slammed the legendary American designer for an ad that shows model Filippa Hamilton in what appears to be a heavily altered photo. The ad in question appeared on Boing Boing, with a blogger noting “Dude, her head’s bigger than her pelvis.” Indeed, Hamilton, whose thin body appears to be in keeping with the fashion industry aesthetic of tall and incredibly thin, looks emaciated in the photo.

But the fashion house did not take well to the criticism and slammed the site, claiming that the use of the image was a copyright infringement. Boing Boing shot back saying it was fair use because the reproduction was being used for purposes such as “criticism, comment, news reporting etc.”

Still, despite the legal issues, we were concerned by the imagery in the photo. The message of a model who is already probably less than 115 pounds having 20 pounds digitally removed from her body is disconcerting at best. After Glamour magazine and other fashion sites have been praised for the use of plus size models, some are arguing that Ralph Lauren is moving backward.

[From Fox 411]

The photo originally appeared on the website PhotoshopDisasters. Ralph Lauren filed a Digital Millennium Copyright Act against the blog in order to force the entries to be immediately removed, which their ISP (and most ISPS) automatically do when a DMCA is filed. Because why fess up to your poor decisions when you can blame someone else? Eventually Ralph Lauren admitted wrongdoing yesterday.

“For over 42 years we have built a brand based on quality and integrity. After further investigation, we have learned that we are responsible for the poor imaging and retouching that resulted in a very distorted image of a woman’s body. We have addressed the problem and going forward will take every precaution to ensure that the caliber of our artwork represents our brand appropriately.”

[From Extra]

What a great way to make a medium-sized problem so much worse. It’s inexcusable to try to show that a healthy “ideal” woman should look like she has a – what size would that be, a 15 inch waist? Instead of saying, “Yeah, our bad, we’re ridiculously superficial (obviously) and don’t give a crap how unrealistic and unhealthy our expectations are” they try to distract with a bunch of legal b.s. claiming we don’t even have the right to look at and comment upon the image. Ralph Lauren used to be a nice brand with a reasonably classy image. This is just pure trash.

Here’s what Filippa Hamilton (and her waist) looked like in previous Ralph Lauren ads.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

59 Responses to “Ralph Lauren ad features model Photoshopped to look insect thin”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. velvet elvis says:

    What the hell is that thing?…honey…where’s the fly swatter?!?!

  2. Disco says:

    I don’t get Ralph Lauren…why would they even WANT to make her look like that?

    I wouldn’t have realized that was the same girl if you hadn’t mentioned it. She looks wonderful in the old ads.

  3. Prissa says:

    I really don’t understand what the point of this is. It looks abnormal. NO ONE normal could look like this. What is the point?

  4. Praise St. Angie! says:

    wow, a human bobble-head.

    looks like they put her head on someone else’s body.

  5. Lantana says:

    I never got into the smack down on skinny models, but this is ridiculous. WTF does this say to teenage girls? For years I said the image of an ideal woman that (most) American men have is an anorexic with a boob job. As unfortunate as that image is, it is attainable (although perhaps not desirable). This image is not even attainable (nor desirable, but that’s beside this point). It’s just a big set-up for “You aren’t good enough”. Do any of you buy Lauren? (I’m pretty much a CK person mostly because that’s my easiest access.) I’m curious if Lauren vanity-sized his clothes. I will guarantee that CK has over the past several years, but their sizes still run smaller than, for example, going into Macy’s and trying on the same size. It would be ironic if Lauren puts a preying mantis on his cover and then vanity sizes his clothes.

  6. birdie says:


  7. Paige says:

    That is beyond fake looking. The proportion of her head to her body is hysterical. Her HAIR is twice as wide as her waist! Also, they have given her the hips of an 11 year old boy.

    As for the clothes, those jeans look like something my niece in elementary school would wear.

  8. Sudini says:

    It looks like a bad drawing. Seriously, how did this get approved by the art director over there?

  9. princess pea says:

    The funny bit is that it’s SO BAD. It makes the outfit look terrible, and the model inhuman. I almost wish they were running the ad, because they clearly don’t understand that they went too far. Maybe if their sales dropped off entirely they would get the point.

  10. yadira says:

    Oh.My.Gosh. :O

  11. Rae says:

    Karen Carpenter was the first thing that popped into my mind when I saw it.

  12. Mari says:

    @ Birdie- agreed
    Is Ralph Lauren trying to make some sort of statement? If so, they missed the mark.
    Just outright gross.

  13. Ruby Red Lips says:

    Looks disgusting and completely inhuman.

    This is not the image of a female that I want my daughter growing up and seeing.

  14. the original kate says:

    she looks like a funhouse mirror.

  15. shocked says:

    wanna know what’s really sad? i have an eating disorder and even this looks absolutely disgusting to me. she looks like she’s 70 pounds here.

  16. Harmony says:

    EWWWWW!!!!!!!!! That is just so beyond creepy and disturbing i dont even know what to call it….if ralph lauren will make me look like THAT count me out!!! she has a beautiful face but dear god….that is just f*cking revolting what they did to her body. not even a skeleton could possibly be that narrow!

  17. Icecat says:

    oh my…

  18. scorpiogal says:

    What on earth??? I can’t even get offended over this- it just looks so bizarre! It’s more funny than anything…and I’m fairly sure that even the most image-obsessed teenage girls would be more likely to shake their heads than try to look like that. Definitely ridicule-worthy, unless RL was trying to provoke discussion of over-use of airbrushing and image altering. But apparently that’s not the case.

  19. Giz says:

    This photo that has been altered. I studied figure drawing and anathomy. The portions are totally off, especially the ribcage. I think the photo was altered to prompt discussion and to sell the line.

  20. tooey says:

    I think I have a couple pairs of Ralph Lauren jeans that fit my fat ass, lol. They do make “plus” sizes, that’s the irony…

  21. Hm... says:

    Someone lied to the photographer that he can take pictures and RL forgot wearing his glasses while looking at THIS!

  22. Eileen Yover says:

    If I was this chick I would have been ouraged they shrunk her body so much. She looks like an extra-terrestrial! Her hips can’t be that small in size ratio to her shoulders. It’s impossible.

  23. Hm... says:

    And something else… If you really want to see something tastefully insane, take a look at Alexander McQueen’s spring 2010 collection! It will blow your mind!

  24. oh my says:

    what’s next, are they going to photoshop Marge Simpson’s playboy spread to make her more “doable”?

  25. nikki says:

    it’s the worst photoshop job i never saw
    no one can think she’s real as that
    it’s more funny or a sarcastic pix on photoshopped model

  26. DoMaJoReMc says:

    I say boycott Ralph Lauren

  27. TwinkleToes says:

    Makes the head look huge and masculine and the face horsey. Fail!

    Ralph Lauren, originally Raul Lipschitz from the Bronx is doing women no favors.

  28. crash2GO2 says:

    She looks like Olive Oil. Why don’t they just start having cartoon artists draw their collections on Olive Oil if they think she has such a great bod?

  29. GatsbyGal says:

    She looks like she was made out of pipecleaner and bent into position. Totally gross and fake-looking. It’s sad and pathetic that there are a lot of people who obsess and starve to achieve a frame like that.

  30. BitterBetty says:

    I can’t stop laughing…..

  31. Katyusha says:

    I wouldn’t say Filippa is “extremely” thin…she’s thin, but she’s not as thin as your average runway model these days. And she’s been doing RL ads for years.

    And, I’m gonna say it…I don’t understand why anyone would be upset over this picture. It’s so ludicrous, it makes me chuckle. No one could possibly look like that, and if they wanted to, they need a good smack to the back of the head.

  32. Dingles says:

    The hell? My first thought was that the pic was a joke because it looks so utterly ridiculous. Epic fail.

  33. Anna says:

    *wipes tear out of eye corner* Rachel Zoe would be SO PROUD!


  34. sage says:

    This is so outrageous I just went to Ralph Laurens website and sent them an email declaring I have made the decision to shop for other labels- those which don’t have a subversive message about my sixed 8 frame. For anyone else whod like to weigh in with the compant directly, here is the email address given on their website: CustomerAssistance@RalphLauren.com

  35. Kathie says:

    When I was looking at this cover it occured to me that not only were they dissing women in general (not thin enough) but the model in specific by saying in effect that not even her slender body which they had used before less retouched was thin enough for them.

  36. ruru says:

    I heard this ad was found in Japan, and that the image-doctoring had been done there. You won’t see this image in other countries.

    …not that it makes it right mind you, but this wouldn’t become an issue over there.

  37. TinaWithPom says:


  38. viper says:

    IM finding it more and more morbid the thinner these women get. They remind me of those women in the camps during WWII! When will this maddness end???! This thin thing is psychotic, I’m not saying be obese but for God sake look at her!

  39. jabberingaway says:

    everyone knows real men like a little meat on the bone….she couldn’t charm a junkyard dog.

  40. MichelleMuko says:

    Get over it people. It’s called art and pushing the boundaries. Who wants to buy magazines and see ‘ordinary’ size 10 jane?

  41. Bellatrix says:

    This is first of all a huge insult to the gorgeous Filippa Hamilton. She’s a beautiful model with some serious chic attitude which is rare to find.
    Her body is very special too: she has a tiny waist and rather large (in comparison to other models of her standard) hips (she’s not at all close to the thinness of some nowadays runway models). Her small waist is also very high set on her body (it’s almost closer to her breasts than to her hips).
    She has some nice real boobs too… 🙂

    They simply photoshopped some “extra” waist (and possibly enhanced the breasts) which was completely unnecessary! And makes her look awful.
    And it must have been an expensive Photoshop job as it is a checked shirt!

    Worst part is: Ralph Lauren didn’t need to go to these extremes. They sell pretty well and have their trademark blazers going off the shelves in every single size. This is actual a bad publicity stunt for them as they make rather wearable clothes that suit many body types. I’m surprised by this ad.

  42. Wresa says:

    Lol, Michelle. You stoopid.

  43. michelle says:

    Wow. Good call. She really looks like an insect. They kept the boobs though!

  44. Bambi says:


  45. Granger says:

    Agree with kathie (#35). If I were that model, I would be insulted. Then again, this IS the fashion industry, so she`s probably used to feeling she`s never thin enough.

  46. omondieu says:

    Michelle: As an art student, I’m appalled and offended that you consider this “art”. There is nothing artistic about this. It’s just ridiculous.

    I wouldn’t say that they’ve made her look emaciated, though. They’ve just really screwed up her proportions, making her look freakish. If you cut off the picture below the ribcage, her body looks “normal” as far as models go. But the fact that her top half is so much bigger than her bottom half makes her look like a dude.

  47. Rani7 says:

    They made her look like a freak!

  48. janine says:

    First it was heroin chic, now introducing, alien chic..

  49. HashBrowns says:

    This is really really obviously some moron who doesn’t know how to photoshop or a joke.

    I highly doubt anyone with a functioning brain would think that Ralph Lauren would actually try to put that image out as something idyllic and beautiful.

    It is terrible, terrible Photoshop and that’s all. You cannot look at that and think “Gee, that is a beautiful, normal body” without being mentally disturbed.

  50. MichelleMuko says:

    Otondieu, as an art student I would have expected you to not be narrow minded about what constitutes art. Do all you people think they were trying to ‘perfect’ her body? Give RL some credit! The joke is on you if you take time to be offended. You all need to love your own bodies and teach your kids to do the same. Americans love blaming the media and fashion houses for your insecurities.

  51. Kelly says:

    alien chic … funny

  52. Kelly says:

    never mind her body… that outfit is stupid

  53. Juice In LA says:

    Its disgusting and its ridiculous- then again, Who in the hell is buying Ralph Lauren Jeans anyway?? “OOOH those jeans with the granny patches will look soo good with my awesome Pink Polo Shirt, layered over my kelly Green Polo shirt. Let’s hope this costs RL tons of sales.

    No one should be following this example.

  54. Katyusha says:

    Michelle, I agree with you…I just wrote an essay about folks blaming designers and models for a writing class.

  55. EvyGlasses says:

    Oh Dear God! This is freak! She like a Bratz doll.

  56. JDMorgan says:

    I so “get” these big fashion designers’ angle… skinny women use less materials; hence more garments can be made at rip-off prices. Oh yeah, it is always about the money… tell me I’m lying! Now, where did I lay those yummy potato chips?

  57. Q1 says:

    You think the Ralph Lauren ad is bad. Take a look at the Ann Taylor website, http://www.anntaylor.com

    The models are missing ribs, hips, and pocket flaps. Many of the photos are so photoshopped that the bodies under the clothing look deformed.

    I think more of these companies need to be exposed for doing crap like this. I understand if they put clothes pins in the back of models to make the clothing appear to fit better. I don’t agree with it, but I understand what they are doing. But then, after the fact, shaving parts out of the photos is just asinine.

  58. mike says:

    i think ralph lauren is a gay bastard for doing this to a beautiful woman he should be shot

  59. Thanks a lot for giving everyone an extraordinarily brilliant opportunity to read in detail from this site. It’s usually so cool and packed with fun for me and my office fellow workers to search your web site minimum thrice in one week to study the fresh tips you will have. Not to mention, I’m just always astounded considering the beautiful suggestions you serve. Selected 4 points in this article are undeniably the most beneficial we have had.