In London to host a music and fashion extravaganza with stars Beyoncé, 50 Cent and Bono, Armani said no girl needed to be anorexic to be fashionable.
A debate about models' weight has shaken the fashion world in recent days since Madrid banned excessively thin women from its catwalks after accusations their appearance may cause eating disorders in young women.
"I have never wanted to use girls that are too skinny. I prefer girls that show off my clothes in the best way," Armani told Reuters Television after the show late on Thursday. "Unfortunately though, the stylists and also the media have interfered and they now want models that are incredibly thin."
Armani, whose client list spans Hollywood to high finance, is a bellwether for the industry and the most powerful fashion insider yet to speak out on the weight debate. "No one thinks that for a girl to be fashionable she needs to be anorexic, that she must not eat. I will only take on healthy girls," he said.
The Thinness Debate
He was supported by pop diva Beyoncé, who brought the 1,300 guests to their feet with a performance of her hit "Crazy in Love," and by rapper 50 Cent, who had supermodels punching the air.
In the intervals, Armani sent more than 50 models down the runway, sashaying through his three traditional collections – from haute couture gem-encrusted gowns to purple Armani suits and the baby doll dresses of his younger line Emporio Armani. Among those taking it all in were actor Leonardo DiCaprio, singer Alicia Keys and actress Ashley Judd. Hollywood's Sean Penn and Penelope Cruz and singer Usher sent video messages.
"It will be the biggest party I've ever hosted, bigger than anything in New York, Paris, Milan," Armani said before the show.
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