July 27, 2008

Face or figure?

The question of “After 40, it’s your face or your figure,” wouldn’t be raised in Italy because the body counts more than the face, period. High fashion designers in this country produce their pret-a-porter collections for sizes 40-46, the rough equivalent of U.S. 6-12. “They want you as their customer only if you fit into these sizes,” an Italian psychologist friend of mine noted drily. Lucia has the money to buy Armani or Versace but her body does not meet their requisites. Lucia also pointed out to me that in body-obsessed Brazil, shopkeepers are obliged to display sizes 14-16 as a way of combating anorexia. “Anorexia is the only psychological problem directly related to social expectations,” she commented.