We Feel Weird About Elle Fanning’s Fashion Muse Status

Okay, okay, so I get it: fashion’s always on to the next. The newest, the weirdest, the most avant-garde — and apparently, the youngest. And that’s why the Fanning children, Elle and Dakota, have been on fashion’s sweet radar for the last year or so, making the rounds in magazine editorials, on blogs and in designers’ campaign videos. Dakota, the elder Fanning, is the ripe old age of 17, and so we’re somewhat less troubled by her meteoric rise into the sweet embrace of fashion’s bosom. But younger sister Elle Fanning is only 13 years old. And she looks it!

So what, you say?
There are two reasons why this is troubling. On one hand, if you’ve seen “Super 8,” it’s strange to reconcile seeing Fanning look like a girl her actual age, when fashion mags continually dress her up to look twice that. Her body in adult clothes from Rodarte, or Vuitton or Stella McCartney becomes over-sexualized in the process. The machinations of a high fashion photograph — the lighting, the clothes, the makeup, the posing — take Elle Fanning from 13-year-old girl to sultry Lolita.

And on the other hand, what does it say (AGAIN) when designers are looking to a 13-year-old’s underdeveloped body as some kind of fit ideal? Certainly no adult woman has the proportions of a gangly prepubescent, so why must designers insist on idolizing the forms of younger and younger models? Elle Fanning and her sister are hardly the only ones, but they are certainly some of the most famous underage models around.

What do you think about the Fanning’s famous faces being used to push high-end fashion?