Karl Lagerfeld is facing legal action over controversial remarks about overweight people.

The 80-year-old German designer - who is based in Paris - is the subject of a defamation complaint by French pressure group 'Belle, Ronde, Sexy et je m'assume' (Beautiful, Curvy, Sexy and fine with it) who want him to be fined for comments such as ''nobody wants to see curvy women on the runway'' and blaming ''fat people'' for France's public health deficit.

The group's spokesperson Betty Aubriere said they had filed a defamation complaint, as the designer had displayed a ''discriminatory'' attitude.

She said: ''These insults by celebrities must stop. We're sick of it.

''There are a lot of young girls who don't feel comfortable in their skin, and for them to hear comments like that is terrible for them''

Ms. Aubriere said 500 people have signed a petition against the outspoken Chanel creative director, with much of the support coming from young women who felt stigmatised.

She added: ''We've received messages from poorly young girls who are victims of insults at school and sometimes have to leave school.

''We want to see preventative measures in schools so that people understand that curves are often an illness or are genetic, and are not a symptom of poor diet.''