A 10-year-old model's low-cut dress, stiletto heels, heavy makeup and sultry gaze in a Vogue Paris fashion editorial has raised some eyebrows around the Web.
Lots of little girls dress up in their mothers' heels and dresses, but photos of Thylane Loubry Blondeau dolled up to look like a grown woman are, to some, just too convincing. "Creepy" and "weird" are among the more common words used in the headlines that have cropped up regarding the fashion editorial.
The photos actually ran months ago, in Vogue Paris' December/January issue, and they received some criticism at the time. But the images of Blondeau - the daughter of a fashion designer and a former soccer player - have recently ignited the blogosphere in a debate about what is and isn't appropriate treatment for child stars, though it's unclear why the photos are just now receiving so much media attention.
The Los Angeles Times addressed the photos in an article Friday headlined, "10-year-old Vogue model: Pretty or pretty weird?" The New York Daily News wrote Thursday, "Thylane Loubry Blondeau photos: 10-year-old model's sultry Vogue spread sparks controversy," and the International Business Times dubbed the images a "sexualized photo spread."
In the pictorial, Blondeau appeared with other child models dressed in adult clothing, wearing heavy makeup and sporting shoes, furs and jewelry that were clearly too big for their diminutive bodies. At the time the pictures came out and were met with moderate outrage, Jenna Sauers wrote a post for Jezebel, a blog dedicated to "celebrity, sex, and fashion ... without airbrushing," that added some context to the photos.
Many of fashion's most famous faces got their starts well before they were adults, Sauers wrote. As opposed to taking a 14-year-old and making her look convincingly like an adult, the Vogue Paris spread created a satirical image of youth in the fashion industry by being clear that the models were actually children.
"But it's also obvious from the over-the-top styling and the overall lurid quality that this story is a parody and a critique of the fashion industry's unhealthy interest in young girls, not an endorsement or a glamourization of it," Sauers wrote.
Sauers also pointed out that the cover model for the issue featuring Blondeau's pictures is 16-year-old Daphne Groeneveld, but few if any have taken issue with her adult appearance.
Joining the more recent conversation, Sauers reinforced her opinion about the photo spread but noted that Blondeau's entire body of work does, in fact, reflect the hypersexualization of models who are too young to be viewed in such mature light.