Farmers department store has issued an apology after criticism that it was promoting "gaunt" models.

An image from Andrea Moore's range I AM, currently stocked at Farmers, has been removed from the department store's Facebook page after causing a stir since being posted on Friday.

Twins Chiara and Norina Gasteiger represented by Clyne Model Management, shown in the photo, were called "gaunt and unwell" among a number of comments by unimpressed customers on social media.

In response, Farmers posted the following statement on Facebook:


"Dear valued Farmers customers! We appreciate you taking the time to send us your comments and concerns on a recent post for I AM. Please know it is not taken lightly and we in no way mean to promote an image for women in NZ to follow that could be regarded as unhealthy.

"We understand that no two bodies are the same and we always seek to show a range of body types throughout all our advertising. These images were supplied by the brand Andrea Moore as part of a wider campaign and were published by us. We will endeavour going forward to work closely with all our partners to ensure an appropriate image is portrayed.

"Thank you once again for your valued feedback."

Moore defended the models saying the imagery was not intended to cause offence, and that she felt for the twins, who had worked with the brand for three years, Fairfax reported.

"The twins are actually healthy, fun models who are busy university students ... We love working with them because of their sense of self-worth and uniqueness as twins," she told Fairfax.

Twins Chiara and Norina Gasteiger were called
Twins Chiara and Norina Gasteiger were called "gaunt and unwell" by critics. Photo / Supplied

"We have been in touch with the models and they were most upset by the whole thing. Fortunately, they have received a lot of support from their peers.

"The campaign was about preppy grunge, print with an edge. [It was not] about promoting unhealthy body types [or] anything else," Moore added.

Other comments on Facebook include Jo Austwick's who wrote, "You cannot look at these girls with their bones sticking out and believe that they are a good role model for a family store."

Retail store Glassons came under fire in 2014 when customers took to social media about a mannequin in their Albany store with visible ribs.

The incident sparked an online petition which garnered at least 15,000 signatures and the mannequins were subsequently removed from stores.

Hallenstein Glasson Chief executive Graeme Popplewell told the Herald at the time: "While these mannequins are not new to the business, we have taken on-board the feedback of New Zealand women in its entirety, and we unreservedly apologise for any upset we may have caused those who viewed the store displays."

An Auckland woman also complained on social about a "too thin" model in an award-winning Ponsonby hair salon's window, last year.

Clyne Model Management did not wish to comment on the matter today. The Herald has attempted to reach the Gasteiger models for comment.