H&M Responds To Donatella Versace’s “Real Women”-Can’t-Model-Our-Clothes Controversy

H&M has responded to a claim by The New York Daily News that Donatella Versace would not approve photographing the new Versace for H&M line worn “real women.” Initially, H&M expressed an interest in casting “real women,” rather than professional models, in a promotional feature for the Daily News. The Model New Yorkers photos were intended to involve recent college graduates wearing pieces from the collection. Perplexingly, the idea was quickly shot down by H&M. Apparently, a publicist for the retailer contacted the Daily News to explain that the photo feature would probably not go forward as Versace had to approve the concept — and “Donatella will likely not approve shooting the collection on real women.” Ouch.

The fashion blogs Racked and Styleite reported yesterday that the Daily News sent H&M photos of a few of the women that were set to be modeling the collection, but only one was approved. Last night, H&M responded to the allegations:

We are very surprised by the New York Daily news article and do not understand how they came to this conclusion. We can only explain it as a misunderstanding and a series of miscommunication [sic]. H&M is a democratic fashion brand and it is not our policy to decide models for fashion features in media. Both H&M and Versace have, over many years, cast from a wide and diverse pool, not only of models, but of celebrities and personalities reflective of all ethnicities, gender, ages and sizes.

A “misunderstanding”?  Maybe so, but H&M failed to explain what was misunderstood and what the Daily News reported — that Donatella would not approve regular folks modeling Versace for H&M clothes — makes a lot more sense. This kerfluffle is confusing considering the house of Versace and Donatella herself chose to create a diffusion collection with a mass retailer, which will in turn be worn by — gasp! — real women, some of whom may be considered “off-brand” to the luxury retailer.  I, for one, would love to see the Model New Yorkers feature. Wouldn’t we all?