Italian fashion label Miu Miu have recently confirmed the ‘face’ of their Autumn/Winter collection: True Grit actress, the fourteen year old Hailee Steinfeld. Fashion has never been feminism’s greatest ally, and aside from any arguments about its glorification of (often) unhealthily thin frames – what is perhaps more disturbing, is its heralding of adolescent girls as a sort of female physical perfection.
Fashion is about extremes, and as most fashion editors will dutifully bleat, about aspiration. But why are we aspiring towards adolescence? In regard to thin models designers often trot out the patronising argument that they use skinny models as the women buying the clothes want to be skinny (and given the media’s celebration of thinness, who can blame them). Though what is the argument in favour of using fourteen, fifteen and sixteen year old models – models who are themselves going through a period of ephemeral change and will, in a few years, find former images of themselves unattainable? Why is the ideal of childlike fragility used to advertise clothes to usually older women?
Miu Miu – what with charging an average of around £800 a dress – is generally worn by women well into sexual maturity. It is interesting that an expensive designer label, rather than reaching out to successful professional women and perhaps even celebrating the luxuries maturity might afford (some) women, instead choose to represent their brand with an image of adolescence.