Lillian McKnight • 26 September 2012

Once again, the great model weight debate rears its concerning head. An editorial in the October issue of avant-garde French glossy Numéro features ubiquitous beanpole du jour Karlie Kloss getting her s&m on in an array of revealing latex garments. Being the muscular young vixen that young Karlie is, photographer Greg Kadel and stylist Elizabeth Sulcer have dispensed of all but the bare minimum of apparel. A nearly-nude Kloss, it seems, is a good Kloss. The catch? In their print edition, Numéro have seen fit to edit out Kloss’ prominent ribs, purportedly in an effort to avoid negative press associated with the questionable health of model figures.

Kloss is not a stranger to courting controversy when it comes to her editorial work. Barely shy of her 18th birthday, the model featured in a skin-heavy shoot for Allure shot by Mario Testino. In an age where the body image promoted by women in the public eye is an extensively debated topic and Photoshopping away any undesirable kilos is more common than not, Numéro‘s move is an interesting one. Pop star and fashion figure Lady Gaga has recently come under scrutiny for a beefier frame and, in response, has launched a site aiming to encourage her fans to post photos of their bodies online in order to “triumph over insecurities”. Acting on her own advice, Miss Meat Dress has published unretouched photos of herself by Terry Richardson, showcasing an apparently fuller figure.

Lady Gaga unretouched by Terry Richardson

While it is indeed positive to see figures such as Gaga promoting acceptance of larger sizes, perhaps a more holistic approach to the subject of weight should occur within the fashion industry. Numéro censoring Karlie Kloss’ body, while no doubt noble in intention, only serves to compartmentalise, and subsequently demonise, those that naturally possess a slender physique. There is no doubt that certain sectors of the fashion industry have a damaging and unhealthy perspective on what is meant by ‘beauty’, but the expurgation of slim women from public view is arguably just as concerning as that of larger women. It may be a tired platitude but, the inside skinny is that health— whether manifested in a small or significant physique— is hot.

Update 27 September 2012: Photographer Greg Kadel’s studio has released the following statement to The Cut, citing his reasons for releasing the original, un-retouched photos of Karlie Kloss to the public:

“It was Greg’s desire to represent Karlie as she naturally is … slender, athletic and beautiful. That is why he released the images as he intended them to be seen by the public. He is shocked and dismayed that unbeknownst to him, Numéro took it upon themselves to airbrush over his original images. Greg stands by his original artwork and cannot stress enough that he not only was unaware of the magazine’s retouching but also finds the airbrushing of Karlie unacceptable and unnecessary.