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Every so often, a model comes forward with a story about being rejected from a fashion show for her size — a disturbing scenario, considering how thin most so-called 'straight-sized' models tend to be, anyway.
The latest troubling account comes from a 20-year-old Danish model named Ulrikke Hoyer, who was allegedly dismissed from Louis Vuitton's recent 2018 Cruise runway show at the very last minute for being, in her own words, "too big." This, despite the fact that - according to her her profile on Models.com - Hoyer was a worldwide exclusive for Vuitton's fall 2016 show. (She's also been featured on Vogue.com, where she was called "an ideal [Nicolas] Ghesquière girl," and this past September, the New York Times dubbed her its no. 1 "new model to watch.")
Back in April, Louis Vuitton showed interest in having Hoyer, who is 5'10" with a 24" waist, walk in its 2018 Cruise show - which was taking place in Kyoto, Japan on May 14. When she flew to Paris for her fitting on April 25, Hoyer says she was "confirmed to the show" before she'd even put her own clothes back on. Hoyer says she knew she wasn't in her "skinniest 'show-shape'" at the time, but was thrilled that LV wanted her, anyway. By the time she flew the 23 hours to Japan, she was relieved to find that her hip measurements were .5 cm smaller than they had been at the time of her fitting.
But things went downhill when she had another fitting a few days before the show. Though things seemed to proceed without a hitch, Hoyer was told that she'd need to return for an additional fitting the following day, after which she received word from her French agent that the casting director thought Hoyer had "a very bloated stomach" and a "bloated face," and that she was to consume "only water for the next 24 hours." The following day, Hoyer was scheduled for yet another fitting - but before it could happen, she learned that LV had cancelled her from walking in the show, entirely. This time, she was told, her back measurements were an issue. Following dinner that night, she was on a plane heading home, feeling humiliated and defeated.
"This is not about me being canceled from a show," Hoyer writes. "I've tried that before (all girls on my level have) you win some and you loose [sic] some that's the game. But I cannot accept the 'normality' in the behavior of people like this. They find pleasure in power over young girls and will go to the extreme to force an eating disorder on you. If this comes from them or some of the fashion houses I don't know as I've only been dealing with the casters."
She makes sure to point out that she doesn't blame Louis Vuitton creative director Nicolas Ghesquière for the incident ("[he] is super nice and treats everybody with respect and even remembers all the girls names"), but says that runway pieces are "made for women to have eating disorders. Go watch the show and see for yourself, even the smallest tightest pants are loose on the models they book."
Hoyer continues, "I am glad I am a 20 and not a 15 years old girl, who is new to this and unsure about herself, because I have no doubt that I would then have ended up very sick and scarred long into my adult life."
Fashionista has reached out to Louis Vuitton regarding Hoyer's story and will update this post if we hear back. You can read her full explanation of the debacle on her Instagram post, below.
UPDATE, May 19, 1:45 p.m.: Ashley Brokaw, the casting agent who worked with Louis Vuitton on its 2018 Cruise show, has responded to model Ulrikke Hoyer's allegations that she was fired for being "too big," and was told to consume only water for the 24 hours leading up to the presentation. And let's just say, the claws are coming out.
Speaking to Business of Fashion, Brokaw denies telling Hoyer to only drink water, saying instead that she suggested models drink water over coffee, soda or alcohol to avoid the effects of jet lag. "Nobody would ever tell anybody not to eat. It’s just not true. We have girls who are travelling for the first time from far away and they land and they want to beat the jet lag, so they start drinking tonnes of coffee and become dehydrated." She called Hoyer's account of the matter a "misunderstanding," saying, "Somehow Ulrikke felt she had a message that she was only supposed to drink water and not eat food, the rest of her experience is maybe coloured by that."
Brokaw did, however, say that Hoyer was let go from the show because the clothing that apparently fit her (and her 92cm/36-inch hips) in Paris no longer did in Japan. "For whatever reason she came in for her fitting [in Tokyo] and the coat [made specifically for her] didn't fit properly. Once we were in Tokyo we were very limited by what we could do. We didn't have the atelier to remake anything and we didn't have a lot of other options to try on her, although we did try some other things on her and nothing quite worked. So it was a situation that was devastating all round." Brokaw says that Hoyer's accusations have now led to her family receiving death threats.
As for Hoyer, she's sticking with her story. "I actually lost weight when I arrived in Tokyo, but they thought I was too big,” she says, denying Brokaw's claim that her runway looks no longer fit her. “Every outfit in that collection is made for a specific body and that specific body and it was fitted for me. I completely fitted the dress, in Japan as well." She goes on to say that none of the other models were told to drink only water.
"I didn't write this story to have other people say, 'Oh poor thing!' or anything like that," explain Hoyer. “I don't want people to feel sorry for me because I don't care that I didn't do that show — I have been cancelled from shows before. It's more about speaking out about these huge problems that are in the industry and some of the really big high end fashion houses are part of these problems. If a girl comes into a fitting for a size zero dress and she's 0.5cm too big or whatever, she will always be the problem. The dress will never be the problem. [...] I know by saying my story and speaking out I'm risking it all, but I don't care. Maybe this was my last job, then that's it. I'm done with working for people that will treat me this way."
Head to BoF to read both Brokaw and Hoyer's statements in full.
UPDATE, June 8, 2:55 p.m.: The Danish Ministry of Health and the Danish Ethical Fashion Charter issued a statement dating June 1 urging the fashion industry to "take responsibility for the models working in the industry and for the many young people influenced by fashion." The statement specifically mentioned Hoyer's account, claiming that it ought to be an impetus for the global industry to take positive action.
"It is of high concern when stories surface in the media about models being dismissed from fashion shows because they are not skinny enough despite fitting into the smallest of clothing sizes," read the statement as shared on Danish website Soundvenue. "Many young people, especially young women, struggle to achieve unrealistic beauty ideals, which the fashion industry takes part in creating."
The statement then went on to encourage Louis Vuitton and the industry at large to be more proactive about the messages it sends about body sizes and beauty, pointing to the Ethical Fashion Charter's own set of core values as an example of what it looks like to treat models with respect.
Hoyer shared a link to the piece in her Instagram on Thursday, as well as re-posted an image from model management company 2pm with the text "Danish Ministry of Health sends an official letter to Louis Vuitton in the wake of no response."
Louis Vuitton has not yet responded.