‘Numéro’ Magazine Photoshops Karlie Kloss’s Rib Cage Out Of Their Photoshoot

The 'How Skinny Is Too Skinny?' Debate Rages On

Earlier today we got to check out some crazy hot photos from Karlie Kloss‘s Numéro Magazine shoot. A few comments have already been made about the model’s teeny tiny frame and those comments echo many others made by the general public, fashionistas, and magazine editors alike. Now we’re learning that Numéro Magazine has released new images of the model, after people reacted strongly to a topless photo of Karlie where her rib cage is protruding. Editors photoshopped new photos to soften the area around Karlie‘s rib cage and collar bone to make her look less skinny, if you can believe it. Check out the new NSFW photos (before and after) inside.

Karlie Kloss Before

Karlie Kloss After

And here’s a side-by-side that Fashionista put up:

If you thought that provocative spread of Karlie Kloss posing nude for Numéro was a little light on BMI and heavy on the ribs, you weren’t alone. Turns out the folks of the photo editing team at the glossy felt the same way and decided to take matters into their own mouses (mice?).

As Fashion Copious pointed out, the photos released yesterday by photographer Greg Kadel’s studio show Karlie with a whole lot more visible ribs and collarbones, than the spread the magazine is actually printing. Maybe Numéro is trying to avoid a boney-body backlash, like the one caused by Karlie’s nudie spread in Vogue Italia last year, which wound up appearing on a variety of pro-Anorexia sites. But if visible ribs are such a big deal, why do mags continue to feature stick-thin models in their editorials?

Even though this isn’t your typical photoshop fail (those usually involve making a model look thinner, not the other way around), it still presents an unrealistic image–one of a body that is extremely thin, and yet somehow totally smooth, with no protruding bones. Which is why we think it’s always best to depict these ladies (relatively) unaltered. Talk about ‘playing god’–removing Karlie’s ribs was truly a retouching job of biblical proportions.

Read more at Fashionista.

I agree with everyone else who says that Karlie looks insanely skinny. However, I rarely see a model that doesn’t look insanely skinny! Is Karlie skinnier than the other crazy skinny models? I guess so. But I also thought that particular pose didn’t help any, in terms of putting her rib-cage on display. I also haaate to talk about anybody’s weight as a negative. We’ve got plenty of that going ’round.

I really like that Fashionista was kind of like, let’s not photoshop anyone (I also love their clever Adam & Eve reference, lol). Let’s not photoshop people to make them look thinner and let’s not photoshop people to make them appear less thin. Let the women be! And let’s not complain about Karlie unless we’re going to complain about every single other model in the industry. They’re alllll crazy skinny. The ones who aren’t are called ‘plus-sized models. And people complain that they’re not big enough or that they’re photoshopped like cray.

If you’re looking for healthy positive body image in the fashion industry, I think you’re lookin’ in the wrong place. The important thing, IMO, about the weight of the models is that young women and older women and young men and older men understand that models are amazing and beautiful… and they do not represent every woman; they’re not supposed to (no woman is, actually).

Perhaps it would help if we had more exposure to models of different sizes. I love, love love this tumblr that PITNBR PeaButNutter posted on the Karlie Kloss story! Robyn Lawley is a plus-sized model who changed my life on that Vogue Italia shoot back in the day, and young women (and older women and young men and older men) should be seeing more of her. So here ya go:


However, I was a young girl once. And young girls need exposure to many, many images– many representations of womanhood, via books, magazines, films, historical narratives, everything– to develop an idea of self and self-image. No young girl should be left looking solely to models (really– models?!) to define herself and her beauty. So if every magazine in the world never ever uses a model bigger than Karlie Kloss that should not be the end of positive girl/womanhood! We have many examples of beauty and–more importantly– intelligence and general awesomeness in women everywhere; we just have to expose those things. Let’s not leave it up to the supermodels of the world (as cool as they are… lol) to set the standards for, well, anything! They’re just models. Not our moms, not our teachers, or professors, or cultural theorists. They’re not the Brontës. They’re models. And although they ‘represent’ so much more, they can only do that if we let them. I say, we let them be models (for fashion, not for life).

What do y’all think? Was Numéro right for photoshopping the image of Karlie Kloss? Or is there a much bigger problem with an industry that encourages women to be  this tiny?

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  1. PeaButNutter

    I kind of agree with you on some points. Everybody is different and every ‘body’ is different. You can be healthy and thin and you can be healthy and thicker, the most important thing is to have a healthy mind and body image no matter your size. It breaks my heart to see people starving themselves, or the opposite and eating themselves into poor health. Life is too short not to enjoy.

    • PeaButNutter, thanks for commenting and thanks again for the Lawley link, lol. The weight/image issue is complicated and I’m def simplifying it here in many ways. IMO, it can be difficult to say whether or not someone is absolutely healthy or not, based on an image. But you’re right; it’s sad to see it either way.

  2. Jessica

    Love the vogue photos I can relate too. The other model needs help, not more glorified photo shoots. And if her getting help is non of my business, ok, but wouldn’t support a magazine that gives her work, therefore agreeing that what she’s doing is on the *right* track.

    • Jessica, I can respect this idea of not supporting a magazine if you think their photo shoots are encouraging unhealthy practices. That’s definitely one way of getting a message out there, without bashing any one in particular.

  3. I have a feeling this happens a lot more than we know. It is pretty easy to photoshop the boney angles so they are softer. As far as the question about what is too skinny? Health is the indicator as all bodies are different. Some people can be skin and bones and have normal, healthy function. Others start to lose their hair and their organs start to shut down when they dip below a certain point. Just a few pounds can make all the difference in those cases. I reject any magazine or label that utilizes models that LOOK unnaturally thin. Even though the models they use can be perfectly healthy, teens and people will starve themselves to look like them so they can wear the latest fashions. We have sort of lost our way, and bone thin is perceived as “normal” in our country. Everyone I know likes the softer curves on women, they’re supposed to have them, but everyone I know would also like to be thinner even if they aren’t overweight. I think being too heavy is also unhealthy for the same reasons as being too thin is. The body doesn’t perform optimally and the organs and hormones are disrupted, so the body ends up being an open invitation for disease and fatal malfunction. Good topic, Shannon!

    • rOXy, I like that you point out that truthfully many of us may prefer the way a body with actual meat on it looks and feels but we still believe the hype! Something very strange about that…

  4. Emily

    I still cannot get over how she can be THAT thin and still have boobs. I’m sure they’re not gigantic by any means, but still, they have shape. If I were that thin (which is incredibly hard to imagine) I’m pretty sure my chest would be flat as a pancake.

    • Lulu

      When I was late teens I weighed 100lbs wet and had large C’s/D’s.

      It can happen naturally. Of course I weigh much more, and so do my girls these days.. :p

  5. Yasmin

    As negative as my reaction to the original picture was, I do prefer it over the photoshopped version. If that’s what she looks, that’s what she looks like. And just because she seems too skinny to me personally doesn’t mean I don’t consider her beautiful. I do, even if I prefer a different aesthetic and the same way I might consider someone beautiful who is overweight and whose body I don’t want either(whose body is probably a lot closer to my own lol). I agree with you, we need to expose all the different kind of beauty that exists. I think skinny tall white girls should be supermodels, but shorter, heavier, darker skinned, not as conventionally pretty and older women should be, too. I don’t understand how all of these designers can only consider one type of person appropriate to model their clothes. With all the energy they put in being as creative as possible to present fashion that is very distinctive and different from what all of the other labels put out, how can they not extend that creativity to their choice of models.

    • Yasmin, I think you make a great point here:

      “With all the energy they put in being as creative as possible to present fashion that is very distinctive and different from what all of the other labels put out, how can they not extend that creativity to their choice of models.”

      That makes a lot of sense. If the fashion world really wanted to– and ever wanted to redefine what it means to be a model (or at least expand that notion) they could and much of the world would follow.

  6. Yasmin

    I have to add something. I was a very young girl when Kate Moss got really popular. It was Kate Moss and Jodie Kidd who I remember most and it was terrible. I wanted to look like Kate Moss so bad but that was never going to happen. I also remember Sophie Dahl(before she lost the weight) and how great it was to see a girl be model who, even though still tall and blond, was not stick thin. But who really changed a lot(not the fashion industry, of course) was J.Lo. Her body was stil nowhere close to mine, but there was finally a different type of body being celebrated. Even in Germany, where I’m from. And to me it was a body type that I could aspire to be and that wasn’t as impossible to reach as Kate Moss’ body. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with having role models who are only physical role models, along with all of the writers, musicians, teachers, mathematicians we should admire. But all of the body types need to be visible, all colors, all shapes and sizes, all of the different kind of faces that are beautiful. We are going to be exposed to the images everyday anyway, it is important that everyone of us can see something that isn’t too far from what they see in the mirror.

    • Yasmin, thanks for adding this. Of course I’ve hung photos of women on my wall (although mine were always video vixens, lmao) and sure, I guess we should be able to look to some of these women for inspiration ALONG with other women and other men as well.

      I love your bit about J. Lo; that makes a lot of sense! Here’s hoping we can all do our part to vary the images we’re seeing out here. I’ll def. try to do mine.

  7. Donny

    Having seen both sets of pictures, I prefer the photoshopped ones. Merely because they look better. I love Karlie. I think she’s an amazing model but the photos with her rib cage protruding simply aren’t as attractive. Yes, that’s what she truly looks like and I hope she’s healthy. However, if I’m going to spend money on a glossy magazinge, I want to look at beautiful pictures. I couldn’t care less whether or not they’re altered. I shouldn’t have even said ‘or not’ because we know ALL pictures are altered. So I guess I come at from a different perspective. Anyone who picks up a fashion magazine (even impressionable young girls) should not be looking for perspective on their own body. That has to come from some other place.

  8. Dalia

    Hi Coco!I feel so happy and relieved after reandig the article you’ve posted. What delights me it’s seeing someone inside the fashion industry speaking out onestly and with consciousness about such an important issue. I love the art of fashion, but I loathe the madness of the industry, relentless until to endanger people it works with (“it uses” maybe would be more appropriate?). You were not one of my favorite models, but you are now one of the models I esteem the most. Keep being who you are, without compromising yourself and your beliefs.xoSilviaps= I’m a size 4, and I don’t care if people consider it a small or a big size, it’s my size, I’m okay with it. But there are other people, weaker people, who have to know that size doesn’t matter until you’re healthy. I express this briefly, the concept needs more development, but I just want to add my voice to yours, and to the voices of other people who, I hope, will join us in the intent of conveying a positive attitude in fashion.

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