Eighteen-year-old Georgia May Jagger has two claims to fame. First, that she is Mick Jagger’s daughter. And second, that she made her modeling debut at 17 years old, appearing topless in a Hudson Jeans ad. Subsequently, it’s been difficult to consider Jagger without defaulting to talk about scandal. Despite the fact that Miss Jagger claimed Model of the Year at the British Fashion Awards, the teen’s work has continually been uber-sexual. (Of course, perhaps it’s hypocritical to make an example of Georgia when the fashion industry is sending 13-year-old girls down the runway, but nevertheless, she’s become a point of controversy.)Which is why I was struck by two things upon seeing her spread for W‘s September issue. My first thought of the ’60s-inspired, nouvelle vague-influenced photos was this: Wow, these are really good, and for once, it looks like Georgia Jagger is doing work that comes off as professional. The second thought: Why is nobody talking about these photos yet? It would seem in the fashion blog world, any Georgia news is news to report, and more often than not, we report it as something that’s slightly off on the moral scale.
Taking a closer look at the spread, something seemed off to me, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it …
It took me a while to realize that just because W didn’t portray Jagger as overtly sexual (there’s one photo of her on a bed that is an exception) doesn’t mean that some bizarre hypersexualization wasn’t going on. For starters, she is a child whose primary claim to fame is having parents who exemplify the fashion and culture of the time that W recreates in this spread, and having her dress up as if she were a contemporary of her parents almost seems to infantilize her more. As if she were a naive child playing dress-up.
I also have to agree with the many comments in the air right now about how “Mad Men” has brought back stereotyped sexuality and sexism and made this attitude appealing again. Somehow, “vintage” sex always has a quaintness to it that makes it feel less obscene. Here, Georgia gets the “Mad Men” treatment, not just through the retro fashion and vintage color palette, but also through her portrayal of a woman from the period. Her blatant emotionlessness speaks to the norm of women from the era who were forced to repress their sexuality, and appear as serene Betty Drapers. This allusion draws more attention to sex beneath the surface, and emotionlessness can be especially sexual in this New Wave-y way.
I’m still torn, because, aesthetically, I love these pictures. I love the hair and the mise-en-scène and the fashion. And yet, I still feel as though the underlying meaning is both dark and unsettling. [W]