A third of the models who appeared in Madrid's civic-sponsored Cibeles collections last year were banned from the same fashion event this September. The move -- which triggered debate in and beyond fashion circles around the world -- came after city officials declared that the women's extremely underweight figures would encourage eating disorders.

And even now, in skinny-worshipping Japan, there is one man who is boldly challenging the "emaciated beauty" norm and striving to make people realize that a woman's charm is in her fleshiness.

"I was always attracted to women who are somewhat round and soft, rather than the many girls who look like walking skeletons," said Seiji Nonaka, the 40-year-old owner of a company that designs and sells T-shirts.