Chanel under fire for using 16-year-old model to star in latest campaign

Chanel under fire for using 16-year-old model to star in latest campaign

The house of Chanel has long been respected as the pinnacle of luxury design - functioning as a veritable badge of honour that not only signifies one's place of society but affiliates consumers with fashion's "in" crowd. As such, young models and established celebrities alike have been compelled to seek work with the label, which has been credited for consolidating the star of everyone from Catherine Deneuve to prodigious nineties supermodels, such as Claudia Schiffer, Christy Turlington and Kate Moss.

While the concept of the "ingénue" is a much coveted and replicated theme in editorials, the latest model to front a Chanel campaign is evidently too close to a real life ingénue for comfort. Born into fashion royalty, Kaia Gerber, is the 16-year-old daughter of Cindy Crawford. And from the moment she blew out the candles on her birthday cake, she was launched onto catwalks around the globe for the industry's quarterly carnival: fashion week.

Although, for you and I, this may seem like a daydream come true, it's evident that we'd be hard-pressed to remember that Kaia is a 16-year-old after looking through the ensuing images. And this is precisely the issue that many had with her recent Chanel campaign.

While Kaia Gerber's new photoshoot for Chanel is certainly stunning, the question remains whether it is appropriate. The French fashion house has been attacked by some for using Cindy Crawford's 16-year-old daughter in SS18 accessories campaign.

Gerber, who is pictured reclining on a chaise in Gabrielle Chanel's Parisian apartment at 31 Rue Cambon, modelled the brand's SS18 handbag collection. Carrying the "Gabrielle" bag in tweed and patent leather, (which is expected to retail for around £3,000) the young model was dressed in a thigh-skimming skirt, and a bra top that some followers of the label denounced as "provocative".

Believing that the legs and torso of a 16-year-old should not so blatantly be on display, people took to social media to voice their condemnation. "She should have a lunch bag she is a kid!" one Facebook user wrote, while another corroborated "She is beautiful. A beautiful girl. Too young."

A third individual added that Gerber was "barely dressed" in the photographs, which were shot by the brand's head creative director himself, Karl Lagerfeld. 

Kaia, who turned 16 in September of last year, is the daughter of famed nineties supermodel, Cindy Crawford, and businessman, Rande Gerber.

The young model made her fashion debut aged just 10, modelling for Young Versace. Since then, she has gone on to star in a slew of campaigns, and has even walked the runway for Marc Jacobs, Burberry and Prada. At that point, however, her mother was reluctant to let Kaia enter the world of modelling, explaining "At this point, she's too young to pursue a career. There aren't even a handful of jobs for a 10-year-old girl."

And speaking on the pressures that women face upon entering the fashion industry, the 52-year-old icon elaborated, "I have a daughter who is entering this world, and the expectation is for them to be even thinner now. I was always a size 6; I was never super-skinny and I never felt bad about it... You could have boobs, you could have hips, you could have a little extra flesh. Now, the models are expected to be so much thinner."

However, the fact remains - Kaia is a 16-year-old, working on her own volition - and while some may consider her to be scantily clad, the clothes in question are everyday items that many women don: a top and a skirt. After all, is it not high time that we stop commenting on what women choose to wear?