Yves Saint Laurent Ad Banned in the U.K. for Using Skinny Model

Ad Judged 'Irresponsible' for Showing 'Unhealthily Underweight' Image

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An Yves Saint Laurent ad has been banned by the U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority for what it calls the irresponsible use of an ultra-thin model.

The grainy black-and-white photograph, which appeared in the U.K. edition of Elle magazine, shows a woman lying on the floor with her hands on her head and her eyes closed. She is wearing a short, plunging black dress, a leather jacket and high wedge heels.

The Advertising Standards Authority received complaints from the public that the model appeared unhealthily thin, according to the self-regulatory body, which is funded by the U.K. ad industry. Yves Saint Laurent told the ASA that it disagreed but failed to provide a detailed defense of the ad, created in-house, the ASA said. Elle chose not to comment on the complaint when approached by the ASA, the group added.

The ASA judged that the ad breached its code on responsible advertising. "The model's pose and the lighting effect in the ad drew particular focus to the model's chest, where her rib cage was visible and appeared prominent," the group said in a ruling, "and to her legs, where her thighs and knees appeared a similar width, and which looked very thin, particularly in light of her positioning and the contrast between the narrowness of her legs and her platform shoes."

"We therefore considered that the model appeared unhealthily underweight in the image and concluded that the ad was irresponsible," the ruling said.

A spokeswoman for Yves Saint Laurent declined to comment on the ruling.

The decision comes after the ASA last December upheld a complaint alleging that Urban Outfitters used an unhealthily thin model to sell underwear on its website. "We're not banning thin models in ads," an ASA spokesman said, "but we will take action to prevent ads that depict models in a way that might appear to be unhealthy or irresponsible."

Yves Saint Laurent has been owned by French luxury goods holding company Kering since 1999. Kering also owns Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane, and Puma.

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