Hailee Steinfeld, the 14-year-old star of 2010 film “True Grit” has found herself in the middle of another gritty situation. A fashion ad featuring her has been banned in Britain.
Great Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) took issue with the ad, created by fashion house Prada for its Miu Miu brand, because of the way Steinfeld was depicted.
A complainer said her apparent tearful pose, alone, sitting on a railroad track, was “suggestive of youth suicide.”
The authority, which has the power to ban ads from being displayed in public, stopped short of agreeing, but did conclude that the ad pictured a minor in an unsafe condition, according to London’s Telegraph newspaper.
Prada countered that the ad was part of a “serious, high-fashion campaign aimed at adult women.” It also said the ad was limited to adult, high-fashion magazines.
Which begs the question: Why use a 14-year-old girl for an adult line of clothes?
Prada also claimed the image was meant to portray the actress in between takes of a film, waiting for the next scene to begin.
But the ad raises questions, nonetheless, about using underage models in adult advertising campaigns.
The trend is pronounced in Europe. Thylane Blondeau is one of the hottest new models in French fashion. She’s 10 years old.
Blondeau is said to have a face reminiscent of legendary French sex kitten Bridget Bardot and a gap-tooth smile that mirrors top model Natalia Vodianova, who is all of 19.
She’s already appeared in sexy, even topless photo shoots, wearing adult clothing. One recent spread in French fashion industry bible Vogue Paris, caused an uproar.
Supermodel Kate Moss’ step-sister Charlotte “Lottie” Moss recently debuted as a professional fashion model, and she is 13. Kate was 14 when she started.
The standards agency has been on the warpath of late. It also banned an ad featuring 17-year-old Dakota Fanning, suggestively posed with a large perfume bottle between her legs.
The bottle, shaped like a large spearhead was tilted suggestively toward her crotch.
Designer Marc Jacobs also caused an uproar for using Dakota’s 13-year-old sister, Elle Fanning, in an advertising campaign.
The reaction in the fashion industry has been mixed, although some are outraged.
“I find it obscene that children of 13 and 14, no matter if she is a star, no matter how sophisticated, are used to peddle designer fashion, said Liz Jones, style director London’s Daily Mail. “[It’s] surely as bad for teen girls as smoking or underage sex.”