This month the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned the Miu Miu advert depicting 14 yr old Hailee Steinfeld sitting on railway tracks.
The original complaint to ASA stated the advert was ‘irresponsible’ because it was suggestive of youth suicide. The standards watchdog rejected this concern, but ruled that the image broke industry codes because it showed a child in an unsafe location.
Prada defended the advert saying it was part of a ‘serious, high-fashion campaign aimed at adult women’. However for many this begs the question, if the target audience is clearly defined, what is the relevance of a 14yr old modelling clothes designed for adult women? Hailee is an Oscar winning actress and I believe it is her strong presence on screen and her gutsy, adult role in True Grit that contributed to Prada’s choice for their Miu Miu campaign.
For me, the choice of model only enhances the image, her innocence a stark contrast to the structured clothes. It is a striking moment caught on camera and perfectly communicates the sentiment of the campaign. However, in a time that children are growing up far too fast, I agree with the fear that they should remain children for as long as possible.
Whilst one of the images was banned, the above image was deemed as ‘reasonable’.
Only a month earlier, the same advertising regulator banned the Marc Jacobs perfume ‘Oh Lola!’ campaign, featuring 17 yr old Dakota Fanning.
The magazine based campaign showed the young actress wearing a short, delicate dress and holding a bottle of Marc Jacobs perfume in what ASA deemed a “sexually provocative” position between her legs.
ASA banned the ad in early October saying “We considered the length of her dress, her leg and the position of the perfume bottle drew attention to her sexuality. Because of that, along with her appearance, we considered the ad could be seen to sexualise a child. We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible and was likely to cause serious offence.”
It is hard to argue that this image is not overly provocative and when tied with the strapline of ‘Oh Lola!’, it only adds to the sexual nature of the advert.
As adults, do we really want to open glossy magazines and see children wearing £1000 Miu Miu blouses and appearing overtly sexual? Do we even notice the age or are we just drawn to the products themselves? It is an engaging topic and will no doubt be an revisited issue in future campaigns as fashion houses continue to push the boundaries.