Supermodel Naomi Campbell waded into the size zero debate and declared: “Don’t blame the fashion industry.”
Campbell said underweight girls on the catwalk were suffering from a psychological illness and were not being pressured into looking skinny.
Speaking at the Elle Style Awards, where she was honoured with the model of the year title, Campbell said: “You can’t blame the industry for a psychological disease. It is a disease, like alcohol or drugs, and the industry is not to blame.”
Campbell praised recent initiatives to ban girls aged under 16 from the catwalk.
And she said her agency, IMG, had issued guidelines to make sure girls at fashion shows are well fed and that the backstage area is an alcohol-free zone.
Campbell was fashionably late for the awards at the Roundhouse in Camden, north London. Her car apparently failed to turn up and she had to hail her own taxi.
Asked to name her style icon, she chose her best friend and fellow model, Kate Moss, who was across town at the National Portrait Gallery exhibition opening.
“It’s always Kate. I love my Kate,” said Campbell, who wore a knee-length black dress by Azzedine Alaia.
Madonna won the top style icon award but failed to turn up.
Actresses Penelope Cruz and Joely Richardson provided the full-on glamour. Cruz, who lost out to Dame Helen Mirren at the Baftas, won best actress for Volver.
The Spanish beauty wore a black tiered dress by Oscar de la Renta and was presented with her award by Nip/Tuck star Joely Richardson, who shimmered in a silver mini-dress by Chanel.
Ashley Jensen picked up the best TV award for Ugly Betty.
The Extras star said: “Ugly Betty is a programme about fashion so winning this award is great. Everyone has embraced the show. I think there’s a little bit of Ugly Betty in all of us.”
Thandie Newton won best actress and Jude Law was named best actor, while Stella McCartney took home the award for best designer.
Singer Amy Winehouse won best British music act.
Winehouse showed up with trademark backcombed hair and declared her style icon to be “my nan”.
But her appearance at the ceremony sparked concern among onlookers, as her left arm was covered in livid red weals.
The star, who has spoken regularly about her penchant for taking drugs, scored a chart hit last year with her single, Rehab.