Searching for the skinny on Ralph Lauren ad (UPDATE: "We are responsible," says Ralph Lauren)

When Ralph Lauren tried to remove a creepily retouched advertisement from the net, was it embarrassed by graphic design woes, or by a cutting hatchet job by an unknown prankster?

It's obvious by now that Ralph Lauren *hates* being mocked. They hate being mocked so much that they ordered their attack lawyers to send letters trying to fool ISPs into pulling an "infringing" advertisement featuring a ridiculously skinny model (in fact, our posting of the image was fair use, not infringement; Ralph Lauren's takedown notices are bogus and they should know better).

It's also obvious that the photo of Filippa Hamilton used in the Ralph Lauren advertisement was digitally manipulated. But we still have three questions: 1) who, exactly, gave Ms. Hamilton the Olive Oyl physique? 2) If the photo was manipulated after it appeared in the advertisement, why didn't Ralph Lauren's law firm make mention of that in their silly DMCA takedown notice? and 3) Where's the original advertisement?

We're so curious about getting to the bottom of this that we're offering a bounty -- the first person to send us a photo of the real advertisement, along with information about where it ran, gets their choice of any Gama Go Boing Boing T-Shirt.

Our hunch is that a combination of bad angle and bad camera contrived to put a bad ad in an even worse light. In any case, we can at least take heart in one thing: the world has a problem where the best solution is cake.

Even if a prankster warped the ad, it's already embarked on a suppression campaign that becomes even sillier if it turns out to be an anonymous 'shopper's transformative "art." From the outset, Ralph Lauren put its head up its own arse: a bad idea when your ears are further apart than your hips.

Update: Flickr user Tokyo Boy offers an intriguing theory in this thread: that shopkeepers in the far east often make their own ads. Wouldn't it be bizarre if it was not only a fake, but a fake made by Ralph Lauren's own affiliates wandering off the reservation? Jezebel, however, unearths another awful 'shop of the same model, spotted at Ralph Lauren's website.

Update: Ralph Lauren confides to Extra:

On Thursday, Polo Ralph Lauren released the following statement about the retouched ad: "For over 42 years we have built a brand based on quality and integrity. After further investigation, we have learned that we are responsible for the poor imaging and retouching that resulted in a very distorted image of a woman's body. We have addressed the problem and going forward will take every precaution to ensure that the caliber of our artwork represents our brand appropriately."

Alas, no apology for the legal nastygrams.


  1. my whole deal with this thing and it originally being a “photoshop disaster” is why is the scan of the ad so bad? it looks like someone rolled the magazine up, then scanned it with a scanner from 1993 without even closing the top of the scanner. i mean if you are so determined to point out how bad of a photoshop job this original ad has, wouldn’t you want to get at least a half-way decent scan or digital version of it?

    that’s why i call the whole thing shenanigans.

    1. If the magazine is rolled up, then she is fleshier in this picture than in the real ad. xD
      But look, her arms are alright, and the logo too : I think the scan is like the real ad.

  2. boingboing is on a crusade agains Ralph or what, come on, get your drift,- now get on… nuff said!

  3. From the outset, Ralph Lauren put its head up its own arse: a bad idea when your ears are further apart than your hips.

    Bwahahaha! Well said, Mark!

    Will the t-shirt be available in any sizes other than a woman’s small (or very very small)?

  4. “the world has a problem where the best solution is cake”

    No, the problem IS cake. Too much of it. Everyone is too fat. Not too skinny.

  5. Free high-quality apparel is not a burden. Would you prefer … cake? Because if you find it, that can be arranged, you know.

  6. I would swear I saw this in a magazine I read recently. If any female Boingboingers are out there with some idle time, I’d check out some recent Cosmos, maaaaaaaaybe Woman’s Day. I’d go hunt it down myself, but I have class in 30m.

    1. i know i saw this in a Cookie magazine, the most recent issue. i’d post the image but that magazine usually goes into the trash pretty quickly at my house.

      the paper ad i saw didn’t look that different from the image posted on boingboing. i remember thinking how bizarrely contorted the woman must have been to make her hips that narrow, and also that she looked strangely like kiera knightley.

  7. I’m sorry, but if you start saying that the solution to this problem is cake, then you exacerbate the problem for the people struggling with other end of the spectrum.

    The solution here is not cake, and it isn’t celery sticks either. It’s MODERATION. Say it with me. I know you can do it.

  8. I also saw this in a magazine not long ago and even pointed the image out to my boyfriend (commenting on how large her head was compared to her waist).

    I give away magazines when done with them, but there is a chance it was in Lucky, Elle, or Marie Claire as those are the only girly magazines I read.

    And the image was definitely not a bad angle or camera. The ad looked like the net version.

  9. That’s a blue label Sylvia madras blouse. There is a different model in a variety of poses pictured in that same outfit via GIS. Mostly they are thumbnails. The product is not pictured at Lauren anymore though the item is listed as instock at a variety of shopping sites. There is one thumbnail pic that seems to have been “pulled”, with “image no longer available” in its place.

  10. Well, we’re out of cake! We only had three bits and we didn’t expect such a rush. So what do you want?

  11. can you catch me up– is someone (or the company) claiming the image was manipulated after appearing in the ad?

  12. “boingboing is on a crusade agains Ralph or what, come on, get your drift,- now get on… nuff said!”

    I disagree. When a corporation abuses the takedown laws to intimidate speech they don’t like they need to be publicly humiliated and embarrassed. The chilling effect goes both ways. Boing Boing by beating this subject up is using RL as an example to other companies and in doing so helping to protect our free speech. Kudos to them.

  13. Who knows the person over at Photoshopdisasters? Wouldn’t they have a lead on where the photo came from? I know it got DMCA’d, but they should know who sent it to them.

  14. Come on all you creative types….hows about a ‘Misguided Ralph Lauren Ads’ Photoshop contest at Worth1000?

  15. If the original can’t be found, it opens up the possibility that this was a prank on BB, or possibly even a Ralph Lauren astroturfing attempt. Regardless, future marketers might be taking note:

    1. Release a poorly photoshopped ad on the web, featuring your brand.
    2. Fire off a frivolous takedown notice, inciting mockery.
    3. Reveal the original ad, with a healthy-looking model.
    4. Followup with some credibility boosters, ie: “For years, Ralph Lauren has donated 5% of profits to the Healthy Image Foundation, an organization that works to educate young women on the dangers of society’s body image perceptions.”

    Admittedly, not the most likely outcome, and I suspect the original will turn up; I’m going to look through my gf’s mags to see if I can find it. Nevertheless, worth mentioning, because even speculation on the authenticity of the source indicates that everyone along the line could’ve done more to verify it.

    1. Yeap, you got it — and fire the gal at some point as well. More buzz.

      Truth is — lawyer dude, we only put people who don’t look like normal fat Americans into photos. We put people who are better looking than 99% of the population — that’s why they are paid to be on the cover.

      We want to make you (consumer) buy clothes X, and you think you will look like cute person (model) if you wear them. Sympathetic Magic.

      Profile your reading public & audience, young white? women, etc. and put the best image on the cover.

      Sales slow — release the impossible!

      If cartoons would sell clothes… they would put Cartoons on the Cover ! :)

      “They Photoshopped her in a way that for me is grotesque and makes her look like a cartoon,” Geoffrey Menin, Hamilton’s attorney, told NBC News. “The trouble is that it’s damaging to her. Who wants to hire somebody that looks like that?” —

  16. I believe I saw this image was in the latest edition of Vanity Fair.

    I’d send a photo, but I don’t carry it with me.

  17. It’s conceivable that they may not *be* an original advertisement.

    If we’re willing to hypothesize an anonymous digital photo manipulator, surely we can also imagine that said manipulator may have also been responsible for pasting the “Ralph Lauren” logo at the top.

  18. Here’s a modest proposal– Why don’t Ralph Lauren Inc. admit they made a mistake. That they distorted a picture of a skinny model into something grotesque, and that they need to think some about why they did that.

  19. I rarely buy Ralph Lauren, but I will never again. This ad is disgusting. No one should be that thin, especially not anyone who is “Modeling”. Their response to criticism was very silly. What happened to free speech?

  20. I think the hand-wringing going on over skinny models, retouched or not, on magazine covers is silly and totally insignificant drivel. If you meet a teenage girl with a false sense of herself due to magazine covers, you have met an idiot.

    Who cares if a woman or a man is portrayed in a false manner on a magazine cover? I’ve seen women thinner than this one. I know a woman who weighed 90 pounds at the age of forty and is now a healthy kicking eighty-year-old.

    I love air-brushed, glossy, totally fake magazine covers. I look at them very closely when I’m in line at the grocery store. They send me out of the market with a lighter step and a false sense of my own masculinity. Good stuff.

    Photoshop is a model’s best friend.

    1. Being married to someone with a severe eating disorder who is going through treatment and has to fight with it every minute of every day entitles me to say that yes, photoshopped anorexic models on the covers of magazines do not help the situation. Implying that – self conscious teenage girls with body image issues due to what society projects on them as being normal and beautiful – are idiots is on the same level of these monstrous advertising execs that think the ends justify the means and give no thought to how these adds effect people (Because they know that once you beat someone you control them, and they’ll buy what you got, or ruin their health in a vain attempt to achieve that unattainable level of “hot” or “fit” or whatever the fuck). You vile commenter, are part of the problem.

      1. No, I’m driving the trollboat. Don’t you know? Actually, in my little world, the first person to utter ‘Troll’ loses the game.

        That’s because the concept of the troll is so poorly understood by your average commenter as to render the term totally meaningless.

        If you can’t throw a punch, just call the other guy a troll. Gotta do better than that. I can take a much harder blow than that. Try something with a little more wrist behind it.

        I think Ralph Lauren’s a troll. Pretty sharp one too. My money’s on him.

        1. “I’m driving the trollboat”

          You got that right, but you’re a little late to this party.

          Every comment on BB I have seen you make, you have constantly taken the position most contrary or potentially controversial, regardless of how unhinged or irrational that viewpoint may be, which does nothing but jam some noise into the signal of those who are actually here to try to have a real discussion of the issue at hand. Playing a little devil’s advocate can be a good thing, if it sparks some interesting debate, but that is not what you do here. I have seen you completely reverse your position in the same thread depending on what would be the most annoying stance to take at any given moment. Are you really that desperate to grab some negative attention? Dude, get a hobby! Taking punches has nothing to do with it. Those who point out your trolling are just calling you on your bullshit and leaving a warning beacon to others here who might have otherwise taken you seriously. You can’t even manage to be funny. It’s pathetic.

          Put your money where you like. Just put your comments elsewhere if you’ve got nothing constructive to add. Ok, feeding time’s over. I’m out.

          1. Well thanks for checking.

            There’s a decent punch with the ‘bullshit’ thing. Pretty good. But if I’m a troll, then I certainly won this round very convincingly, didn’t I?

            I’m well-fed and moving on to my cigar.

  21. Naughty! Naughty! Pointing at a naked emperor and laughing like hell! And pointing at a skinny clothed empress is naughtier!


  22. @Alessandro Cima “I think the hand-wringing going on over skinny models, retouched or not, on magazine covers is silly and totally insignificant drivel. If you meet a teenage girl with a false sense of herself due to magazine covers, you have met an idiot”

    Totally missing the point dude. And it’s not just “magazine covers” is all media, everywhere. TV, Movies, Magazines, billboards, stores, its everywhere you look. Girls (and women) are bombarded with false images and ideals of feminitiy. It’s impossible to get away from, and if you think that the constant subtle and unsubtle messages don’t have an affect on the girls perception of herself, of the world, and what is normal then you are sorely mistaken. It’s not just the “idiots” it’s all of us.

  23. I just searched through 45 pages of GIS on “ralph lauren advertisements” with the only appearance of said image coming from photoshop disasters and boingboing itself.

    Nothing on usemycomputer.

    Nothing on bwgreyscale.

    No other searches finding anything of import.

    I say somebody needs to contact Photoshop Disasters and find out where they got the original image they posted.

    But not me. I’ve already wasted too much time on this.

  24. I swore I saw this actual ad in a magazine. I just curbed my recycling this morning. The only magazines I get (from a friend) that would have an RL ad in it are Vanity Fair and New York magazine. Try from about a month ago back to July – $5 says it will turn up there.

  25. Don’t know if this has said in a previous thread but if the picture at photoshop disasters were itself a fake wouldn’t RL have said so by now? It would be the easiest way to defuse all this and make BB look slightly ridiculous.

  26. why is the “original” version with the photoshop disasters watermark such a POOR POOR quality scan? it looks like the page is rolled up and was then scanned with a scanner from about 1993 that has no cover on it.

    if your goal is to point out how poorly something is photoshopped, you should at least be able to properly use a scanner.

  27. Images of the Blue Label Sylvia Madras Ruffle Blouse are being pulled all over the place. Beso had it, but it’s gone.

    You can see the same top here (cached):

    Uncached bizrate link is redirecting.

    All images of this item on the Lauren site, as well as the listing there, are now redirecting to a file not found page.

    The jeans are still coming up here and there.

  28. Thanks, Boing Boing, for your continuing coverage of this. It’s important for several reasons, as many in the community appreciate.

    If you would like to politely let Ralph Lauren know what you think, you can contact them on this page:
    (Try not to burst into hysterical laughter/tears at the model on the contact page… he’s creepy for a whole different set of reasons than Ms Skeletor.)

    @fidel_funk If Boing Boing posts are boring you, why not go entertain yourself elsewhere, instead of complaining about it publicly? No one makes you read Boing Boing.

    @Alessandro Cima I think you’ve missed the point… on more than one level.

  29. I love how this illustriates the profound difference between “old media”/”new media”.

    Old media – “Hey, this is fascinating – I want to get to the bottom of this and report on it.”

    New media – “Hey, this is fascinating – If you get to the bottom of this, I’ll give you a t-shirt and report on it.”

  30. What a great find, Andrea! Doesn’t she look so much better in the (presumably unretouched) shot from the same roll?

    1. What word would you like? They claimed responsibility, which is their most pragmatic option, regardless of their actual culpability (witness the doom of any “we take this very seriously” campaign). This is not the same as admitting the image as displayed on BB and PSD was unaltered from their released image.

      I applaud BB for launching a search for the original image. Also for the even-handed wording of this OP vs. the previous.

      1. I was honestly curious at your thoughts, now that their “billion-dollar design firm” acknowledged their “30 seconds worth of Liquify”.

        I am glad you came back to post as I would have been sad if you hadn’t.

        As an aside, I spent too much time trying to track the original ad down to sate my curiosity (pre-t-shirt offer).

        I didn’t care if it was RL or not, I was so damn curious and am glad the mystery is solved.

      2. What word would you like?

        Two words actually: “I apologize” would be nice, both from you and from RL for expecting everyone to just roll over for your collective BS.

        Search my comment history. When I am found to be in the wrong, these two words are the first things you see in my next comment. It’s really not that hard. You’ll feel better afterword, and people might take you more seriously next time. Then again, I have never cited proof that doesn’t exist.

  31. @Lookforthewoman,

    Well, no, I’m not missing the point. I don’t miss many points. I just aim at different ones. I am constantly bombarded by false images of masculinity which have totally warped my own self-image. It has turned me into a real whiner because I’ll never have 42-inch biceps, or an amazingly smooth shave, or washboard abs.

    I am a wreck of a man because of these magazines and the supermen that Ralph Lauren chooses to feature in his ads and magazine covers. It’s awful what these designers have done to my life. I’ll never stop blaming them for my inadequacies.

    This of course is not to miss the point that Mr. Ralph Lauren obviously has no sense of humor and very little understanding of what constitutes mockery or fair use.

    But then again, so few people do.

  32. From RL’s statement: “We have addressed the problem and going forward will take every precaution to ensure that the caliber of our artwork represents our brand appropriately.”

    What about representing the female body appropriately?

  33. @tagarth,

    Yes, oh yes I am vile! You better believe it. I’m so vile your head would shrink if you only knew how vile I really am. I am also really pissed off at these awful magazines that publish photos of people with such smooth skin because I have a good friend suffering from skin cancer and there is no relationship between the reality of that cancer and these smooth-skinned happy people in magazines and advertisements.

    How evil can a commenter be?

    If you believe in free expression, you believe in it period. That includes Photoshoped ads.

    What I see when I look at a fashion ad is a highly skilled graphic artist making an image. That’s all. But I’m a realist.

  34. I was thinking you should send that t-shirt to Ralph Lauren, but he doesn’t need it. Rather, send it to Filippa Hamilton, as a consolation prize for having her photo so horribly butchered. Perhaps wrap it around a tin of cookies?

    1. No, no, no, they should send the t-shirt to the best de-touching from the post before this.

      I heard that Kirstie Alley one was pretty awesome =X!

  35. Yes, I’m back, absolutely gobsmacked and delighted that RL have come clean and admitted that their quality control was lacking. I still believe that the photo was either taken in a way to accentuate the poor image or retouched afterwards. But it is clear that there isn’t a normal human-looking original that RL can produce. My example on Flickr doesn’t look remotely normal, even after the perspective crop is reversed.

    I’d still love to see the original, and I can quite believe the suggestion it was point-of-sale material locally produced somewhere far away from RL HQ.

  36. Seriously, where are the counter-claims?

    If some organization started suing every time a fake dmca takedown was sent, the dmca problem would go away quickly.

  37. Unfortunately all this means is some poor underskilled photoshop grunt in RL’s design department is getting the shaft.

  38. My friend works for RL corp and she confirmed that it is indeed an actual ad from the company, and she maintained that the model is not that thin in real life (duh).

  39. For online shopping and advertising, it is typical to shoot generic models and then photoshop the faces of the designer’s approved contractual supermodels onto the images. This seems like a clear case. That would explain the strange angles and odd proportions. And it is standard practice for major designers everywhere, not just retailers in the Far East. So RL will probably never dig out the original, because they can’t reveal how much of their stuff is faked in this way. But it probably wasn’t so much tweaking one image to make the model skinnier, as it is just an absurd mismatching of two images.

  40. You know how I’m not allowed to make racist remarks in my comments…. erm, how about not using phrases like going off reservation? Mmm? Just a thought.

  41. This is why i don’t buy from these types of companies. I don’t understand why anyone would.

  42. Yes, I know. I am. I have to admit, I’m the little guy over there in the little boat. And it’s taking on water. But I have a small cup to bail with at least. You should see me in a conversation in person. I’m even worse. I think I get it from my mother. Very argumentative. I still argue with her about almost everything. It’s fun. She’s very sharp. Gives me a real run for my money. I’ll never win with her.

    1. Alessandro,

      You do know what the little man in the boat is? I thought that you were an expert on that sort of thing.

    2. I know this is done and over, and Alessandro has appeared to have left the conversation, but just to address his rebuttal: A magazine can not print anything they want under the guise of free speech, they are not given over to the same rules of the anonymity of the internet (Which sometimes does enforce guidelines like the recently revised ones on this blog, which I apologize for getting close to abusing on my last post). A magazine can not depict racial abuse, or sexual abuse with the same freeness an individual can under the constitutional protection of free speech. My problem is that unrealistic and damaging portrayals of women and men in popular entertainment is not viewed in the same light as other abuses. I’m not saying that all anorexic models/mutated steroid monsters must be destroyed and only real men and women can be featured, but the idea that this is “normal” and “beautiful” should be kept in check. To imply that people who are effected by these adds are weak or inferior to people who on the surface may not flinch, is insulting and narrow minded. Narrow minded because it ignores the fact that imitation is the highest form of flattery, and if you think an anorexic model is beautiful (Or think everyone else believes as much), what length would you go to flatter yourself?

  43. Archanoid’s discovery is the one that (RL’s admission notwithstanding) proves it’s a real ad: clearly the same image, high quality, and showing the important portion. Awesome sleuthing.

    Could you ping me at rob at bb net for your tee?

  44. Even though some might wonder why this was made into such a big deal, this is a small victory in the name of quality, integrity and accountability.

    This ad was shoddy in terms of both design and meaning. It deserved to be brought up and shamed. Usually, prominent and glamourous companies get away with delivering crap simply on the account of their popularity and wealth. It’s so refreshing to have people stand up and demand something better and more honest.

    Who’s next? :)

  45. Did anyone see this on CNN earlier?

    I was in the reception area of my company’s offices earlier, and CNN was showing *this picture*, and telling a story – what story they were telling, I wasn’t able to discern – but I smiled and cringed at the same time.

  46. it is the more horrible photo i have ever seen, but the funny thing is that fashion designers want their models to look lik this, they want them to starve them selves until there is nothing left. It is just horrible. All around the world people get judged to fat all the time but i would rather be called fat every day of my life for the rest of my life then look like this. And for all those “skinny” people out there who take pleasure in calling other people fat well i’m glad i don’t look like you.

  47. Makes Bratz Dolls look fat.
    Someone on RL staff is stupid, really REALLY hates women, is blind, OR outsourced their graphics to a 3rd world country where this body type is common due to a variety of diseases stemming from poverty.

    Alternate title “Dress your rickets in Denim!”

  48. “…going forward will take every precaution to ensure that the caliber of our artwork represents our brand appropriately.”

    More than anything, what all of these ad agencies and magazines are missing is that representing a model in a real article of clothing which is going to be purchased by a real person… should not by any stretch of the imagination be ARTWORK!

    Why do young women get distorted ideas about their body image?

    Look at all of these magazines and advertisements and visualize how these items look on the models… on a woman who is 5’10” and wearing a size 1. Now let the average woman at 5’5″ and a size 10 that same item into the dressing room… and see shockingly different visual results.

    No. Advertising is not ‘artwork’. It should represent the item which is being sold appropriately. It should not result in a young girl seeing a circus mirror reflection of what the magazine is so sweetly tempting and promising with their inhumanly altered art.

    In all honesty, it just doesn’t make good business sense in the long run. These sales ads are there to sell a company’s wares. Wouldn’t the average woman be more likely to purchase an article of clothing represented attractively on a normal sized model?

  49. “will take every precaution to ensure that the caliber of our artwork represents our brand appropriately.” – So that means next time the model will be even thinner ;)

  50. “The little man in the boat” is a quality euphemism! Tasteful, like.

    Although, why it wouldn’t be a women in there, beats me.

  51. What I want to know is:

    1. Why does a silly incompetent shoop like this immediately get turned into a debate on gender politics, when it really is about lacking photoshop skills?

    2. If Everyone is so influenced by the appearance of skeletal models, why is the majority of the western world overweight?

    3. Why is nobody (save one or two posters in this thread) complaining about waxed overly muscular male models? I don’t have the time or inclination to spend all my time in the gym injecting myself with steroids, does that mean that it’s OK for men to be made to feel inferior but not for women?

    Just wondering…

    1. To answer your questions:

      1) The funny thing about most issues in the world is that they have many facets. This is a bad photo-shop stemming from a particularly perverse motivation that has been ongoing for decades. This image is a symbol of a long-lasting trend, contributing to the misery of thousands. Aside from the false DMCA, it attracted attention because it presents an image as a desirable reality when it is actually beyond where even satirists would dare to venture.

      2) Because extremes beget opposite extremes, and influences are not monolithic in their effects. You may as well ask “if the US is so religious, why are there so many outspoken atheists?” I think you know better than to ask your question seriously.

      3) People do complain about this, and it is a legitimate problem. Some men do succumb to this, and pay for it with their health and sometimes their lives. However, both the media-portrayal of hyper-masculine males, and their actuality is less frequent than with women’s body misrepresentations. Finally, unlike women, men are not judged primarily by how they look, but by how “successful” they are. Many men fall prey to this, overworking themselves in joyless careers, and pay for it in less visible ways.

  52. I thought that the principle behind marketing was to find what appeals to consumers and then, quite frankly, exploit it.

    For the life of me, I can’t understand how this image is “appealing”. It is neither sexy, nor beautiful, nor cute, nor exciting, nor daring, nor anything that could be remotely considered attractive. What it *is* is pitifully sickening. I don’t mean that as a social commentary either or as a criticism of arguably questionable standards of an industry. It is what it is: sickening and pitiful. The only explanation I can come up with is that someone decided that women enamored of self-pity is a significant demographic.

    It’s a shame that the model does not have any rights to how her own likeness can be used or manipulated. If she were free to do so, I wonder what her take on this is? Models should have some legal rights in such matters.

  53. i caught this on cnn when i was at work too. it is the same story. looks like cnn uses boing boing to pick up stories.

  54. I as a 12 year PLUS member of The National Organization FOR Women.

    I applaud you WISDOM, courage, I learned years ago that the Barbie Doll was impossible to genetically make or stand up. I think what might be Very Painful to go after MALE anatomy. (You know the reproductive parts.

    Maybe then the male population would not applaud these photos when you match them photo for photo. Who would want to date a women that looks like they just crawled out of Auschwitz. It is also sickening to have breasts to sell every thing in the US.

    Almost one out of five girls under the age of 10 are on some type of diet. It’s sick

  55. I just went through the last three issues of Vanity Fair (Sept, Oct, & Nov) and can’t seem to find this ad. I wish I had the two before that.. think I gave them away. Might have been in there.. though I would think that I would have noticed it.

  56. kudos for showing this and talking about it. seems the people at ralph lauren are a bunch of cry babies who do shady things then try to bully their way out of the spot light. p.s.she looks like a frickin bobble head like they didn’t notice !

  57. just saw the piece on Rachel Maddow. Hilarious. In the unlikely event that it’s not an altered photo, PLEASE give the poor girl a sandwich and a dozen doughnuts!!! No wonder so many teen girls have a bad self-body image.

  58. I HATE her…it’s so unfair…why does she get to have a body like that? How does she do it? And I thought I was doing so well too–all I had yesterday was a coke, a cookie, and a salad. What am I going to do now? I’m trying so hard but I can’t win. She is *perfect*. They are all so perfect. And people tell me that I’m skinny. HA! Who would ever believe that? Why do people want me to stuff even more food down my throat? They make me look like a fat pregnant whale. I’m as big as the Goodyear blimp. I’m so fat — I’m so ugly — I just have to try harder, that’s all. I’m not just let my body turn into a huge sac of blubber. There’s got to be something else I can try — oxygen maybe? That’s it–oxygen! I shall just live on oxygen…

  59. I’m sorry, but I’m a bit confused about this outrage – If I saw this ad before reading about it, I would have just assumed that it was over photoshopped intentionally and it was just a weird ad. Can people really not tell how ridiculously edited it is at first glance? Maybe I’ve been in the industry too long.

  60. The worst thing of all is that at least two or three people had to say yes to this ad before it went on… Who are these people? It’s not just photoshoped to hell, the ad is UGLY as hell. The image is scary and would get a ‘yelp!’ out of anyone with any sense of style.

    If I took that photo (I am a photographer) I would hide in shame of the hatchet job done to my work.


  61. I really love the number of anonymous comments accusing Boing Boing and the original poster of having made up the whole thing and assuming that Ralph Lauren is innocent of all charges (not sure why: because they have tons of money and nasty lawyers?) even after Ralph Lauren admitted to being responsible for this Photoshop disaster.

    Actually what is weird is that the original model seems already incredibly slim, though attractive in real life, whereas the retouched photograph is hideous. No offense to her, none of this is her fault.

    Seriously, I am not sure if our society can handle tools like Photoshop responsibly…

  62. Sounds like “under penalty of perjury” now applies! You should prosecute the writer of the letter and the party authorizing the take down letter for perjury! They have, technically, and legally perjured themselves!

    I got one once for ‘using a logo’ of a well known company. My logo was a different colour, rotated 90 degrees and inverted! My site was criticisng their customer services! They wrote telling me I could never use their name on anything I did and wanted me to sign an agreement.

    I pointed out that the logo was not the same, fair use laws, and that if I agreed never to use their name, then I guess I never have to pay their bills again as I can’t write a cheque!

    They never replied :)

  63. Check out the model in the October no 901 Vogue Magazine. The Balmain Paris ad. It is similar to the Ralph Lauren distortion.

  64. Es anormal éste tipo de imágen. La moda definitivamente es una de las grandes culpables de los cánones que las adolescentes se forman en la cabeza acerca de la “belleza” y peor aún, de la aceptación social…
    Un muy sincero reconocimiento a ustedes que manteniendose en su postura y han conseguido llamar la atención sobre este hecho, y más allá de eso: recibir una admisión pública de responsabilidades por parte de la firma. Nuestra admiración. VyL

  65. Why I am miffed at Boing Boing.

    BB, I am thrilled that you stood your ground against these unscrupulous lawyers but I am positively miffed that you are refusing to do the right thing and file a formal complaint against them.

    In the New York Courts Rules of Professional Conduct there is Rule 3.1: Non-Meritorious Claims and

    (a) A lawyer shall not bring or defend a proceeding, or
    assert or controvert an issue therein, unless there is
    a basis in law and fact for doing so that is not frivolous.
    A lawyer for the defendant in a criminal proceeding
    or for the respondent in a proceeding that
    could result in incarceration may nevertheless so
    defend the proceeding as to require that every element
    of the case be established.
    (b) A lawyer’s conduct is “frivolous” for purposes of
    this Rule if:
    (1) the lawyer knowingly advances a claim or defense
    that is unwarranted under existing law,
    except that the lawyer may advance such claim
    or defense if it can be supported by good faith
    argument for an extension, modification, or reversal
    of existing law;

    Their DMCA takedown notice was frivolous and advocated a position which is explicitly prohibited by law. You know it. Your lawyers know it. They’re a law office so if they don’t know it then Rule 1.1 : Competence comes into play. These lawyers are going to do the same thing over and over again and they are going to get away with it because the worst thing that happens to them is a rare entity such as yours tells them to go away. If you don’t file the formal complaint about their actions then they will keep doing this and little people who are scared to death of lawyers are going to continue to be bullied into submission.

    The link to the form used and the address to which the complaint should be sent is found here:

    PLEASE do the right thing, Boing Boing. File the formal complaint over the fraudulent DMCA takedown you received. You have a chance to stand up for the little guys here – please don’t back down.

  66. Ralph Lauren would be wise to release the original image now and donate a lot to some healthy body image organization. They’ve already admitted THEY did this. I won’t buy RL again. 1 in every 3 girls in the U.S. will have any eating disorder at some point in her life. The fashion industry needs to get a grip. It’s health vs. death no matter what end of the spectrum anyone is on. HEALTH should be the focus. HEALTHY is beautiful.

  67. It is indeed a scandal to use and misuse photoshop to create this anorectic look, which isn’t female at all and a danger for young girls to try to look the same!!!!!
    Pleas give us real normal models and no more photoshopping regarding women…It isn’t sexy at all, ask men about this!!!!

  68. Some posts seem to think one “horrible” photoshopper at RL did this and is most likely getting the ax. More likely, some poor photoshopper at RL was given design direction by some art director, executed, and then the new image traveled across the desk of a bevy of people who signed off on it. Blame squarely lands on RL as a coroprate entity, not any one person within.

  69. I agree with Mingano above. I hope that Boing Boing files a complaint against these nasty rude lawyers who think they can just do whatever they want.

    And PRL, if you are reading this I am NO LONGER buying any of your clothes that are apparently marketed towards mostly pretty white people.

    PRL is exclusionary.

    I’m buying my Polo’s elsewhere from now on.

    If you get your stupid law firm to publicly apologize to BB then MAYBE i’ll rethink going elsewhere for my polos…

  70. This is the actual ad. I know. I was a retoucher on the account. The art director up at Ralph has an eating disorder. The retouchers, all of us, kept telling them that it looked ridiculous, but they didn’t listen. I worked at a prestigious pre-press agency in NYC, and this kind of thing happens all the time.

  71. Also no apology for destroying the self image of millions of women. This should be illegal, and everyone responsible should be blacklisted from the industry.

  72. I met the girl — she was thin. Then she blew away :) Poor thing, they are all work for hire, and that’s that.

    But the story is — RL get’s more buzz about themselves by doing this — more trips to website, more buzz… sales.

    As one person wrote, as a male, it’s kinda silly, where does body image come from?

    I do see manipulation as a reality — but it was all along from Hollywood, etc. by picking and dressing women & men in a way that would favor them and their products.

    No story here — if they are extreme in doing it… well it might offend some — but I guess I’m more interested in price, quality, etc. I talk to the boys now that every image they see has been altered, that it’s not what things “really” look like…

    So, why is this a surprise? Unless Ralph L. said they would not alter photos — but the reality is even before the digital age — people altered things via lights, makeup, lenses, etc. dark room magic, and coloring on the magazine.

    If there is a story, the legal nastiness — against Boing Boing… silly. Anyone who’s promoting your website brand, even bad reviews… ya’ll have heard Cory on the topic, so I’ll spare ya.

    Keep up the good work!

  73. I think she would take a larger hat size than her waist size! Surely you have done them a positive service by pointing out how bad their current photoshopper is, giving them a good reason to sack the careless twit and get a better staff member. As such this sort of staff appraisal that you’ve provided should result in Ralph Lauren PAYING you for your good work ;)

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