Oliviero Toscani’s new “No Anorexia” advertising campaign for the Italian fashion brand Nolita (nolita.it) has provoked new discussion of the illness and its relationship with the fashion industry. Toscani’s photograph was revealed on giant billboards and throughout newspapers during the beginning of Milan fashion week (22nd to 29th September 2007), and has received worldwide attention.

Being thin in fashion has remained a hot-button issue since the days of heroin-chic back in the 90s, and has gained more weight in the last year with the banning of “underweight” models from certain runways.

Oliviero Toscani says: “It’s very interesting that in the end a fashion company has understood the importance of the problem, and with full awareness has found the courage to take the risk that this campaign involves.” According to Toscani, Luisa Bertoncello, the Managing Director of the Flash & Partners Group which owns the brand Nolita was also “shocked by the explicitness and blatant truth portrayed in the photos,” when she saw them the first time.

The campaign is supported by Livia Turco, the Italian Minister for Health, who says: “An initiative like this can effectively open an original and privileged communications channel with young people with a message of great impact that can promote responsibility towards the problem of anorexia.”

Oliviero Toscani is well known for his shocking aesthetics. In the 90s, he called attention with his pictures of dying HIV patients and overcrowded refugee ships for the Italian fashion brand Benetton.