This is the latest shock image to jolt the fashion industry into action over the problem of anorexia.
The picture of emaciated Isabelle Caro, 27, an anorexic who weighs just 31 kilos (4 stone, 12lb), has been displayed on Milan billboards as the city celebrates its fashion week.
Caro, who is French and has her own blog site, said that she had suffered from anorexia since she was 13 as the result of a “difficult childhood”.
She added: “I’ve hidden myself and covered myself for too long. Now I want to show myself fearlessly, even though I know my body arouses repugnance. “I want to recover because I love life and the riches of the universe. I want to show young people how dangerous this illness is.”
The campaign was paid for by Italian clothing company Flash & Partners to publicize a fashion brand for young women called Nolita and the photograph was taken by Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani.
Flash & Partners said in a statement that Toscani’s aim was “to use the naked body to show everyone the reality of this illness, caused in most cases by the stereotypes imposed by the world of fashion”.