La Perla Caves to Twitter Pressure, Removes Too-Skinny Mannequin

Elise Solé

The luxury lingerie brand La Perla has removed an ultra-skinny mannequin with protruding ribs from its Soho store in New York City after Twitter recoiled in horror on Sunday, according to a story published by New York magazine.

On Monday, La Perla tweeted this statement: “We have an update on this issue: 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.”

New York City entrepreneur Michael Rudnoy was the first to spot the mannequin on Sunday, tweeting, “How does #LaPerla think ribs on a mannequin is ok!?” which prompted others to express their disgust, calling the mannequin “unacceptable” and “gross.”

In a matter of hours, La Perla tweeted its first response, “Thank you for bringing this to our attention, it's something we take very seriously and we are looking into it further” and later, “We are dealing with the issue and the mannequin has been removed.”

On the one hand, La Perla’s mannequin choice seems out of touch at a time when fashion seems to be embracing more realistic body ideals. Over the past year, plus-size models Jennie Runk and Tara Lynn’s careers have skyrocketed (Runk modeled H&M’s 2013 swimsuit line and in October Lynn graced the cover of ELLE); American Eagle’s Aerie Real lingerie line for ages 15-25 features un-airbrushed photos of models to show "what girls their age really look like"; and in March, the Internet revolted against Target's use of excessive airbrushing on a bikini model featured on the teen section of its website, prompting Target to cut the image. Progress has even been made with mannequins — in March 2013, an unknown Swedish clothing store won international praise after a blogger snapped a photo of three mannequins with softer stomachs, fuller thighs, and healthier proportions than the usual ones.

Still, La Perla deserves credit for acting swiftly and smartly to customer complaints (Yahoo Shine could not reach a company rep for comment). Its response is a stark contrast to that of Abercombie & Fitch, which recently ignited a firestorm when an undercover ABC News investigation yielded that the company did not carry sizes XL or XXL for women. It took a Change.org petition boasting more than 80,000 signatures for A&F to agree to carry plus-size clothing by the end of this year.

La Perla removing its mannequin is a small step for the fashion community and a big step for women everywhere.