The Fashion World Is Embracing 'Heroin Chic' Again

“Heroin chic” is a fashion movement from the 1990s led by waif-like model Kate Moss. Judging from the looks at New York Fashion Week, it’s back.

The look generally involves pale skin, dark circles under the eyes, and extreme thinness, much like a heroin addict. Several books have explored the negative impact its popularity has on young people because it glamorizes drug use. Back in 1997, then-president Bill Clinton condemned it.

We saw models outside the BCBGMAXAZRIA show displaying the look:

bcbg models

Photo: Ashley Lutz

And interviewed the make-up artist who said he was looking to create “Kate Moss-inspired eyeliner that looks like “it’s been on for a while.”‘

Earlier this year, Cara Dorris at Brown University observed “heroin chic” on her school’s campus and described it in the following way:

The original models were often strung out in crumbling poses, wearing the blank stares of glamorized drug addicts. The fashion industry was forced to give them up after the ’90s and the arrival of healthier-looking models like Gisele — when abs became cooler than atrophy.

As I look around College Hill, it disturbs me to think some of us are trying to emulate these models. We forget that heroin chic owns its name for a reason — the models are beautiful but fleeting. They die at the end.

Meanwhile, the industry has shunned curvy fashionistas like Kim Kardashian. Even popular model Kate Upton is rarely seen on the runway wearing anything but a bikini or lingerie.

A fashion German magazine that swore off skinny models three years ago is now reconsidering.

While designers around the world have insisted they are committed to having healthier models, it appears that curves won’t be the standard for a long time.

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