The designer put the fashion industry on blast for pushing models to pose in exploitative and provocative shoots

After debuting his Emporio Armani Fall 2020 collection during Milan Fashion Week, Giorgio Armani put fellow fashion designers on blast for pressuring models to pose for provocative and risqué shoots.

“There is so much talk about women being raped, but women today are regularly ‘raped’ by designers,” Armani, 85, said backstage after his show on Friday, according to Women’s Wear Daily. The outlet reports that the designer was explaining how many models in the industry feel pushed to wear garments not necessarily appropriate for their age.

“I am thinking of certain ads where women are shown in a provocative way, half naked, and many women feel pressured into looking like that. That for me is rape. It’s unbefitting,” the designer continued.

Giorgio Arman
Credit: WWD/Shutterstock

Armani also had a message to fashion journalists, urging them to speak with designers’ about their collections rather than trying to pigeonhole their runway looks into trend buckets.

“I am tired of hearing about trends. They are nothing. I want to improve the woman who lives now. There’s all this musing about the past as a trend, but I don’t agree with it at all,” he urged. “So please stop writing about trends.” he urged the journalists assembled backstage for a briefing about the collection. “Write about what [Alessandro] Michele did at Gucci, what Miuccia Prada did at Prada and what I am doing, but let’s not play this game. You should get to the bottom of it, what is the thinking behind what we do. Stop being dominated by raving about the Nineties [as an example]. I am at a moment when I can say what I think.”

He concluded with: “Look around, they think that by wearing black leggings and a bomber they become modern. Excuse my outburst and the strong words, but I felt like I had to say this.”

Armani’s comments come in the wake of the #MeToo movement, as models continue to speak out about experiencing harassment in the workplace.

Kate Moss, who regularly went without clothes as a teen in fashion shoots, revealed in September 2018 that she never actually felt comfortable stripping down.

“Yeah there was pressure [to pose topless],” Moss told Megyn Kelly in an interview. “I worked with a woman photographer, Corinne Day, and she always liked me with no top on. And I did not like it at all when I first started. [Photographer] Mario [Sorrenti] was my boyfriend so I was kind of used to it, but I still was always like, ‘Can I just put some clothes on?’ But that was the job and so we kind of just did it.”

Kate Moss - 06 Apr 1992
Credit: Vic Singh/REX/Shutterstock

However, now Moss thinks young models have more of a choice when it comes to posing nude than she did when she first started. “They don’t have to do it if they don’t want to do it. I wouldn’t let my daughter do it. I look at her now and she is 15 and to think I was going topless at her age, it’s crazy,” the supermodel said.

Since the start of #MeToo, multiple high-profile fashion photographers have come under fire for their behavior towards models.

Starting in October 2017, Condé Nast reportedly blacklisted fashion photographer Terry Richardson, who has photographed everyone from Rihanna to Miley Cyrus, from working with magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair and GQ in the wake of years of sexual harassment allegations. Richardson has denied engaging in any non-consensual sexual activity with models.

In January 2018, an exposé in The New York Times accused Mario Testino and Bruce Weber of sexually harassing more than a dozen male assistants and models.

According to the Times, the male models and assistants detailed allegations of sexual harassment against Testino — who has done photo shoots with such celebrities as Prince William, Princess Kate and Serena Williams — that included unwanted sexual advances, groping and masturbation.

In a statement to the Times at the time, Lavely & Singer — the law firm representing Testino — said the specific allegations against Testino were made by individuals who “cannot be considered reliable sources.”

The Times also reported that 15 current and former male models had made sexual misconduct allegations against Weber. The detailed allegations of sexual misconduct made against Weber included “breathing exercises” led by the photographer, which allegedly resulted in groping and coercive sexual behavior.

In a statement made to the Times, Weber said that he was “completely shocked and saddened by the outrageous claims being made against me, which I absolutely deny.”

“I have used common breathing exercises and professionally photographed thousands of nude models over my career, but never touched anyone inappropriately. Given my life’s work, these twisted and untrue allegations are truly disheartening. I’ve been taking pictures for over 40 years and have the utmost respect for everyone I’ve ever photographed. I would never, ever, try to hurt anyone or prevent someone from succeeding — it’s just not in my character,” he continued.