Model Karlie Kloss’ ribs airbrushed out of Numéro magazine photo

Editors at the high fashion publication have been criticised for digitally altering an image of the model, to make her appear less skinny

The art team at Japan’s Numéro magazine has sparked a controversy by airbrushing out model Karlie Kloss’ ribs from a recent shoot.

In a fashion editorial in the October issue the 20-year-old model’s ribs appear less prominent than in the original photo shot by photographer Greg Kadel.

[Related article: Lady Gaga's extreme retouch for Vogue cover]

Left: Photographer Kadel's original image. Right: Numéro's edited version.
Numéro has been criticised for being overzealous with the airbrushing tool by smoothing Kloss’ ribcage in the photo, which shows her leaning back with her hands behind her head.

Kadel was shocked to see that the results of his original work had been so radically altered. His studio responded to the photos with the following statement:

“It was Greg’s desire to represent Karlie as she naturally is ... slender, athletic and beautiful. That is why he released the images as he intended them to be seen by the public. He is shocked and dismayed that unbeknownst to him, Numéro took it upon themselves to airbrush over his original images. Greg stands by his original artwork and cannot stress enough that he not only was unaware of the magazine’s retouching but also finds the airbrushing of Karlie unacceptable and unnecessary.”

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The reaction online however has left fashion critics divided. In favour of Kadel’s work a blogger for Fashion Copious wrote:

“I prefer Kadel's original to Numéro's manipulation. Anyone who stretches back like that will have their ribs show through. It’s natural; unlike the edited image.”

Another supporter tweeted: “AWESOME editorial feat. miss @KarlieKloss for numero mag... liking the ribs! [sic]”

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While others were not quite sure about Kloss’ body another Twitter user commented: “Karlie Kloss looks horribly thin in the original Greg Kadel photo but I still think she’s stunning.”

This isn’t the first time Kloss’ photo have fuelled debate. The decision to airbrush the model’s ribs may have been a defensive move by the editors of Numéro magazine after images featured in Vogue Italia showing a skeletal Kloss were posted on pro-anorexia sites last December.

Kloss’ rib removal adds to the pile of airbrushing stunts to have gripped the fashion industry recently. Back in August it was revealed that Lady Gaga’s Vogue cover had been touched up to make the singer appear slimmer.