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What’s So Inspiring About a 15-Year-Old Model?

If fashion's like high school, Karl Lagerfeld's the creepy vice-principal: terrifying, inaccessible, everywhere. 

This week, Karl the Kaiser will be in New York to shoot the Chanel Spring 2013 campaign and stink up the city with his noxious odor, a delicate blend of design genius and moral vacuity, with some Diet Coke undernotes. Ugh, keep that sh*t in Paris. 

The designer's longtime muse, Stella Tennant, will star in the campaign alongside newcomer Ondria Hardin. Hardin is less a newcomer to the modeling world (she appeared in Prada's Fall 2011 print campaign, did an ultra-controversial walk down Marc Jacobs' Fall 2012 runway, and paraded all up and down the European catwalks this past season, making appearances at Chloe, Valentino, and Dolce & Gabbana) and more a newcomer to the planet Earth — Hardin is fifteen years old.

Her Marc Jacobs strut was a violation of the CFDA Health Intitiative, which attempts to improve working conditions for models and make the fashion industry marginally less terrible. Karl's like, Thanks but no thanks! It's not fashion unless you're exploiting someone. Nothing like spitting in the face of an honor code to feel like a big man. 

There is so not a shortage of over-sixteen models, I can't even make a joke about it. In fact, have you seen women? There are many beautiful ones. The fact that designers can't even stick to a sixteen-and-over age guideline in the models they cast is plainly sick, and thinking about it makes me nauseous. Hardin is a lovely girl and takes great backstage photos and I'm sure she's very nice, but the one thing that truly seperates her from other teenage models is her tabooed age.

“She doesn’t look 15. She looks 18 or 19,” the designer told WWD.

Then why cast her at all? Lagerfeld wants to push back against even the most permissive age restrictions, because better working conditions for models would give young women in fashion more power. Maybe eventually even the power to say no to him. 

And what's Karl if people aren't scared of him? Just an old guy with a ponytail. 

Image via IMAXtree

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