Australian designer Alex Perry admits he made a bad decision and promoted the wrong body image to women by using a too-thin model to parade his collection at Australian Fashion Week.
Photos showing the former Australia’s Next Top Model runner-up Cassi Van Den Dungen looking gaunt and bony on the runway sparked a debate in the media and online on Tuesday.
Appearing on the Nine Network’s Today show, Perry said the decision to use Van Den Dungen was a serious lapse of judgment on his behalf.
The designer said when he later watched the footage of the parade he recoiled.
“That’s not the image that I think is a good one to put forward,” he told the network on Wednesday.
I’m putting my hand up and saying that was the wrong image to present.
“It’s certainly not what I’ve presented my brand about.
“I should have made that call,” he said.
“I’m putting my hand up and saying `you know what, that was wrong, it was wrong, that was the wrong image to present’,” he said.
The director of Van Den Dungen’s agent Work Agency said the model was devastated by the comments.
Helena Vitolins said Van Den Dungen did not have an eating disorder.
Perry said his decision to use Alessandra Ambrosio, a mother-of-two, promoted a healthier image.
The Brazilian model on Tuesday requested a bacon and egg sandwich for breakfast before hitting the runway.
Perry said it would require a united approach from the broader fashion industry, including magazines and designers, to change attitudes and practices around what was an acceptable standard for models.
Following his appearance on the morning show, Perry was praised on Twitter for taking responsibility for the controversy but not everybody was impressed, with detractor Ben Darkin tweeting “saying u got it wrong after the fact is not good enough. This has been an issue for years and @AlexPerry007 should know better.”