A little while back, Tom Ford guest-edited an issue of French Vogue that featured a lot of images on the theme of age: Crystal Renn was a past-her-prime plastic surgery casualty, mature models groped each other in a racy ed called Forever Love, 70-year-old Betty Catroux sat for a portrait and a then-15-year-old Daphne Groeneveld posed seductively on the cover alongside Ford himself.
But what we remember most was this:
- By Sharif Hamza for French Vogue
At the time, we said the all-little girl spread was “unsettling,” whether it was satire or not. Turns out the star of the ed is a model from the Ivory Coast named Thylane Lena-Rose Blondeau. She’s got a striking level gaze, a grown-up pout and dancer’s legs. She’s racked up editorials all over the place and starred on a Vogue Enfants cover. She is also ten years old.
On Friday, Fashionista pondered if the 10-year-old’s sudden success was disturbing or not. While over at a Tumblr dedicated to Blondeau, such concerns were dismissed as American “uptight culture.” For example:
It’s all a matter of culture. If she’s raized that way and mostly of european ppl have, how could they see a problem in it? Just because America have a more uptight culture, it doesn’t mean the other ones are wrong and “too sexualized”
First off, sic, sic, sic. Secondly, this isn’t a situation where we have a naked little kid on a beach. This is a situation where we have a child being consistently photographed like an adult. For example:
Put five (four?) years on her and that’s a Diesel ad. Feel free to call mea Puritan if you wish, but I will remain unsettled by this. I will also wonder if you know what Puritan means.
Here’s a slideshow of Thylane’s fashion work. Plenty of it is age appropriate, some of it arguably isn’t.
Sure, it’s not technically NSFW, but you probably wouldn’t want your boss spotting a topless 10-year-old on your computer, either. Yes, please note that the final slide depicts her essentially topless.
[UPDATE II: If you'd like to learn more, here's the explanation.]
[UPDATE III: Her mother, Veronika Loubry, has responded]