PARIS (AFP): France's waif obsession means its fashion sector snubs many women with bigger body types, but there is no need for a ban on ultra-thin models, said the patron of a plus-size Paris catwalk show under way this weekend. "It's a cultural blockage," explained Clementine Desseaux, a 26-year-old French model who lives in New York. The brunette gets year-round catalogue and campaign modelling work in the US, where she emigrated four years ago, compared to rare jobs in France as American department stores recognise that most women aren't slim, she says.

"In the United States, it's a market apart. You can make a career as a plus-size model. In France, it's not a career, it's a hobby; there are no clients" Desseaux said. But, she added, "it's not for lack of demand: there are a lot of round women here. Parisian women are round, too. You mustn't think they are all small and thin!"