Because a lot of women aren’t insecure enough already when they shop for lingerie, New York City upscale lingerie shop La Perla, until this week, employed a mannequin with protruding ribs. The unrealistic beauty ideal is now to resemble starving kids in National Geographic (or Victoria’s Secret model Karlie Kloss, but at least they airbrush her ribs out of photos).
Social media, especially Twitter, went nuts when one user took a photo of said mannequin in protest–and La Perla actually responded positively to the outrage.
La Perla released a statement that read, “The mannequin photographed has been removed from the store and will not be used again by any La Perla boutique. We are in the process of redesigning all La Perla stores with a new concept image and the mannequins that are currently displayed in our US stores will no longer be used. We appreciate and value everyone’s comments, thank you for bringing this to our attention.”
The initial use of the scarily skinny mannequin may go hand-in-hand with the snobby staff practices that high-end retailers often employ: You’ll want so badly to aspire to that standard that you may snatch those red undies as a “reward” for your newly aspired, not-yet-acquired underweight status.
I’m pretty stoked that La Perla is responding to the backlash in a mature and healthy way as opposed to getting defensive over its use. Of course, this isn’t to say women that thin don’t exist–they do, and they should be able to shop for skivvies like anyone else–but it’s an unbelievably unrealistic and unhealthy standard to expect anyone with protruding bones to have enough body fat to even get her period, let alone fill out a D-cup without surgical assistance. Making customers feel good is much more sustainable strategy than wearing them down and eventually disgusting them enough to not come back once they remember how to respect themselves.