On Wednesday, Yahoo Style published an interview with fashion democrat Tommy Hilfiger that set the Internet ablaze. In it, the designer revealed that, when Gigi Hadid walked for the brand back in February 2015, his casting directors were skeptical about the model’s measurements.
“Our casting director said, ‘She doesn’t really fit because, you know, she’s not quite as tall as the other girls, she’s not quite as thin,’” the Americana peddler told Yahoo Style. “So they put a red, white and blue poncho on her. It covered a lot of her body, unfortunately, but it received millions of hits.”
Many took this as a confession of Hilfiger’s own feelings about his now-collaborator’s size (and marketability), thanks to the publication’s poor choice of title: “Gigi Hadid Wasn’t Thin Enough to Show Skin During a Tommy Hilfiger Runway Show,” it read.
— Nasty Woman Addie (@ausher8) November 2, 2016
— ᴷᴬᴿᴬ (@_kxrxx) November 2, 2016
Not so. In our opinion, Hilfiger was crystal-clear about the fact that he did not share the opinion of his colleagues, and found their choice of a figure-swallowing poncho “unfortunate.”
Gigi Hadid is no stranger to body shaming, just as Tommy’s no stranger to ill-founded rumors. The same year as Hadid walked the Hilfiger show in question, the model took to social media to address the (puzzling) claims that her figure was not up to modeling snuff.
Back in the 90s, Hilfiger’s brand suffered due to false accusations that the hip-hop favorite was a card-carrying racist and elitist. An unknown hate-monger circulated an email claiming Hilfiger had openly told Oprah Winfrey, “If I had known that African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians would buy my clothes, I would not have made them so nice” and “I wish those people would not buy my clothes – they were made for upper-class whites.” Oprah herself helped Tommy clear his name, but even in 1996, the power of Internet hearsay was evident.
Thus, on Thursday, the designer released a follow-up statement to clarify that he was in no way implying Hadid is anything less than perfect as is: “Gigi is truly the definition of a ‘Tommy Girl’ – her magnetic personality is bright, confident and always optimistic. I’ve known her for many years, and am extremely proud to have her as the ambassador of my brand and as a collaborator of our collections. Any statement to the contrary is completely false. The headline from the interview with Yahoo was misleading and has since been corrected.”
Gigi has always been outspoken about Tommy’s kind, supportive nature. “Every time I see him it reminds me that being positive is so important. He’s always happy and welcoming and warm, and it trickles down to his entire company. Being nice is so important,” the model told Harper’s Bazaar. Tommy clearly values Bella’s big sis for more than her social media klout. “The suggestion that I thought she wasn’t thin enough upsets me to no end. Gigi is the epitome of perfection,” he again stressed to Page Six. While it’s true neither Tommy Hilfiger nor Tommy x Gigi exactly champions body positivity, we can at least establish that Tommy’s casting directors, not the designer himself, were at fault here.
[ via The Cut ]