New York Fashion Week kicks off Sept. 6, 2012, which means runway models are dieting, smoking nonstop or doing drugs in order to squeeze into the tiny, size-zero sample outfits that are de rigueur on the catwalk.
According to 5-foot-10 Russian model Kira Dikhtyar, girls who are already slender are doing whatever it takes to achieve that long, lean look that's the holy grail in high fashion.
“Packs of cigarettes, daily colonics, laxatives, diet pills, Adderall, prescription drugs that suppress the appetite [are some of the weight-loss techniques]," Dikhtyar told Fox News. "I’ve heard stories that some modeling agents encourage girls to do speed and cocaine in order to speed up metabolism and eat less."
Kira says her peers are turning to all kinds of unconventional and dangerous methods to shed excess fat or water weight before strutting their stuff on the catwalk before hundreds of international photographers.
"All kinds of injections are becoming more and more popular, from HCG injections that go with a 500-calorie diet plan to T3 thyroid injections that healthy models inject in an attempt to speed up their thyroid function, which results in a faster metabolism," she says.
Still other models turn to hypnosis to control their hunger, while others swallow cotton balls in a desperate attempt to quell their empty stomachs.
“From taking water pills to fat flushes, models do everything they can to flush out any excess fat or water weight before hitting the runway,” says fashion designer and former model Jackie Christie.
“I’ve seen models do ridiculous cleanses and diets – the lettuce soup diet, the lemon juice diet, extreme diet pills, etc. I’ve even heard of models detoxing a full month before a show and working out three times a day. It’s insane.”
Fashion insiders say models turn to extreme measures because of the high-profile nature of Fashion Week. Designers want global exposure for their clothes, while models want exposure to boost their careers.
"The models chosen are typically slim and androgynous so that audiences are not distracted by a curvy hip or full bosom,” says stylist and author David Zyla.
So why are rail-thin models the most sought-after for runway shows even though their physiques don't mirror that of consumers?
“Designers are showing their garments to the majority crowd who are mostly retailers," says Krystle Kelley, president of Desert Models Agency in California. "The collections are also considered drafts, and those drafts are fitted to a mannequin that is size 0 or 2 dress size.
"The other concern of the designer is for the garments to flow as well as be mesmerizing on the catwalk, and the way to accomplish that is for the dress, pants, gown etc., to be long. The only way to fit a long garment is with a model who is thin and tall.”
While the fashion industry has been making an attempt to promote a healthier body image by banning the use of anorexic-looking models, insiders say the aesthetic ideal of the size-zero model will always be in vogue.