Haute couture

Return of underage models on fashion runways stirs debate

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 06: Models walk the runway during the Christian Dior show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2015/2016 on March 6, 2015 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)


The story of a 14-year-old Israeli girl, Sofia Mechetner, who went to Paris to pursue a modeling career and landed a job as a model in Dior’s couture show is making waves in the fashion world. And she’s not the only teenager to snag a high-profile job lately. Lily-Rose Depp, 16, the daughter of actor Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis was recently named the face of Chanel’s new eyewear campaign. Cindy Crawford’s 13-year-old daughter Kaia Gerber will be featured in an upcoming spread in the CR Fashion Book. All of this is fueling a new debate about an old question in the fashion business: What age is too young for this sort of modeling work? Gerber is depicted in one photo sporting thigh-high platform boots. In New York State, for instance, models under age 18 are treated as child performers and subject to all of the attendant regulations. And IMG, a modeling agency, reportedly doesn’t allow models under the age of 16 to do runway work. Meanwhile, some see Kaia Gerber as a story of “Hollywood royalty: the next generation.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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