>> Filippa Hamilton, the 23-year-old French model who has appeared in scads of Ralph Lauren ads since 2001, is at the center of quite the scandal for the brand. Her contract was renewed by Ralph Lauren at least four times until her employment was terminated in April — when the brand wrote her a letter, according to Hamilton. "They fired me because they said I was overweight and I couldn't fit in their clothes anymore."
Ralph Lauren confirmed last night that despite Filippa being a "beautiful and healthy" woman, the relationship ended "as a result of her inability to meet the obligations under her contract with us." The 5-foot-8, 120-pound model, who appeared on the Today Show this morning — video here — says that her weight hadn't fluctuated since she started working for the company.
But part of all the attention is coming because post-termination, a Ralph Lauren advertisement which ran only in Japan (below) turned up online — and portrays Hamilton with a much smaller body than head. Earlier this month, after attempting to sue sites which had posted the image, Ralph Lauren issued a statement:
"For over 42 years we have built a brand based on quality and integrity. After further investigation, we have learned that we are responsible for the poor imaging and retouching that resulted in a very distorted image of a woman's body. We have addressed the problem and going forward will take every precaution to ensure that the caliber of our artwork represents our brand appropriately."
Hamilton relayed on the Today Show that she wasn't upset about the termination, but was when she saw the image. As she told the New York Daily News this morning, "I was shocked to see that super skinny girl with my face. It's very sad, I think, that Ralph Lauren could do something like that." She doesn't plan on suing the company, which said in last night's statement: "The image in question was mistakenly released and used in a department store in Japan and was not the approved image which ran in the U.S. We take full responsibility. This error has absolutely no connection to our relationship with Filippa Hamilton."
Gallery of Filippa's advertisement work for Ralph Lauren over the years below.