NEW YORK - A former Ralph Lauren model whose image in a roundly criticized advertisement was digitally slenderized said Wednesday that the apparel maker did not renew her contract because she was "too large."
Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. is contending that it dismissed Filippa Hamilton because of a contract dispute and that the photo was mistakenly released.
"They fired me because they said I was overweight and I couldn't fit in their clothes anymore," 23-year-old Filippa Hamilton, who worked for the company since she was 15, told the Daily News. She said she considered Polo Ralph Lauren her second family.
The company acknowledged in a statement that the image of Hamilton that appeared last week in a Tokyo mall had been digitally altered.
She went public after the photo surfaced.
Hamilton, a New York resident who is half-Swedish and was raised in France, has been looking for another job since she was let go in April, said Jesse Derris, her spokesman at Sunshine Sachs & Associates. She has not decided whether to sue, Derris said.
The photo's emaciated depiction of her, with hips about as narrow as her head, could make young women "think that it's normal to look like that - and it's not," the 5-foot-10, 120-pound model told NBC's "Today" show.
"I saw my face on this super-extremely skinny girl, which is not me; it's not healthy, it's not right," she said.
Polo Ralph Lauren claimed she "was too large," she added, saying that she's a size 4 and that her weight has remained constant during eight years as a model for the iconic American brand, which has dressed U.S. Olympic teams.
In recent years, designers have typically sought models that fit into clothes that are a size 4, or even 2 or 0.
In a statement, the company said the "very distorted image of a woman's body" - Hamilton's - was "mistakenly released" and displayed in the Japanese department store.
Bloggers also posted the photo on several Web sites, fueling the controversy.
On Tuesday, Polo Ralph Lauren released a statement that read: "We take full responsibility. This error has absolutely no connection to our relationship with Filippa Hamilton," who is a "beautiful and healthy" woman.
That relationship ended last April "as a result of her inability to meet the obligations under her contract with us," a contract whose terms are confidential, according to a Polo Ralph Lauren spokesman.
Derris said Hamilton was not available for an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday afternoon.