Alex Perry has apologised for hiring model Cassi Van Der Dungen on his fashion show at the Australian Fashion Week. The Australian designer blamed it on “serious lack of judgment” on his part for letting a “very thin” model strut his runway on Monday.
Perry received positive reviews when he unveiled his collection with Brazilian supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio as his opener and closer. However, he was also criticised for hiring 21-year-old Van Der Dungen, whose thin appearance unleashed another round of debate over the standards of beauty in the fashion industry.
Marie Claire magazine editor Jackie Frank said that she was concerned about model’s emaciated frame and the message it is sending.
“When I saw those legs I nearly died. I rang the model and said ‘why is that girl walking down the runway when she’s clearly not healthy?’” Frank told The Daily Telegraph.
“I looked at that footage and I recoiled from it and the images,” he said on the “Today” show. “It’s not an image that I think is a good one to put forward, certainly not one I’ve presented my brand about. I don’t like it.”
He continued, “I’m putting my hands up, it was wrong, it was the wrong image to present.”
He also wrote a lengthy apology on the Daily Telegraph, saying that he deserved the criticisms.
“But I am the careless one, I had a serious lapse in judgment... Unfortunately I neglected my duty of care, dropped the ball. So I put my hand up, I ‘owned it’ and copped the consequences on the chin. An image like that will never happen on my watch again.”
He continued, “I’m going to take control of my own duty of care, lead by example, be respectful and mindful of the images I perpetuate, follow my instinct, be true to my brand values – and do the right thing.”
Van Der Dungen, meanwhile, has lashed back at her critics, posting Instagram pictures of what she was eating, and telling her haters that bullying is wrong.
She included the hashtags “#lovefood,” “#dealwithit,” and “iamwhoiam.”
Her manager also spoke up, saying the fashion industry would never embrace larger women.
Helena Vitolins from Work Agency told TheFIX, “There’s not going to be day when a size 14 model walks on the catwalk and everyone knows that. Anyone that knows anything about anything knows that.”