Fashion musing and arithmetic*

So we've gone from cajoling women to dress like children, and ogling children dressed like adults, to actually using children as "fashion muses". (Above, 14 year old actress Hailee Steinfeld as the new face of Miu Miu, and 13 year old Elle Fanning modelling for Marc Jacobs.) I'm not clear why this annoys me so much: is it the "exploitation" of underage girls? No, no, no. Is it the gimmick-novelty of using children in serious fashion? Possibly. But this gimmick has far less épater la bourgeoisie strenuousness than, say, parading supermandels Andrej Pejic or Lea T. No, I think it's only because I find the child-muse marketing so boring.//

I had just been formulating my thoughts about this when I saw the piece in the New York Times about 15 year old fashion wunderkind/industry insider Tavi Gevinson. For those of you who might not keep up with such things, Style Rookie is her blog, Rookie is her new magazine, she's written for Harper's Bazar and if you have any further questions talk to her publicist. Tavi was profiled last year in the New Yorker where, in an exquisitely sadistic moment, she was prompted to worry about her future relevance as she grows up.

Anyway, I left a fairly cranky comment on the
Times piece about, among other things, Tavi's style sense. Gah! I'm insulting teenagers now. Afterward I realized that bile was misdirected: I have no issue with the girl— she's got a lot of what people long ago used to call Moxie. In fact, if I'd stumbled on her blog myself I'd be sort of enchanted: she's droll and enviably self-possessed. No, my bitter pearls were directed at the marketing juggernaut of publicists, mom-managers, product tie-ins, exclusive wedding-rehearsal-dinner-photo-sellers and ass X-ray takers that flogs things relentlessly and indiscriminately in order to corral my 1 millimeter of mental bandwidth and drain my wallet.//

If peevish-and-in-one's-40s ever becomes fashionable I am your new muse.

*Anna Piaggi + Michelle Williams = Tavi Gevinson



A bird in the hand said...

My question is, who is child-muse marketing aimed at anyway? If Marc is using a 13-year-old model, he's certainly not designing for women...


angela said...

Hi Bird-- I had an interesting comment on my FB post on this:
"Although there is an uncanniness that is interesting for me in the Tavi G. phenomenon...a nostalgia for unhinged child-creativity (familiar) embodied in strangely nostalgic-but-inscrutable fashion child (unfamiliar)"

So this unhinged child-creativity-- is key. That SENSIBILITY could be relevant and fun for anyone/everyone in fashion. But that doesnt come across at all in Miu Miu or MJ. The use of children-as-muse comes off as hollow marketing ploy. Simply presenting me with a 13 year old in clothes you want to flog is boring and annoying.


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