Designer Marc Jacobs is flouting fashion industry recommendations by sending 14-year-old models down his catwalk. “I do the show the way I think it should be, not the way somebody tells me it should be,” Jacobs told the New York Times after his Manhattan presentation. "There is no controversy." Health initiative guidelines set by the Council of Fashion Designers of America—which includes Jacobs on its board—recommend that runway models be at least 16 years old. The age limit has been touted as a sign of progress in an industry plagued by anorexia. "The industry's hiring of prepubescent-appearing teenage girls as models of adult clothing sets an unrealistic standard; the curves that define the female figure are absent," said council president Diane von Furstenburg. Models who attempt to maintain a child's body into adulthood "run the risk of eating disorders," she warned.
The girls in Jacobs' show, Thairine Garcia and Ondria Hardin, are represented by Ford Models, which apparently also ignores the council's recommendations. While Ford supports the idea of health initiatives, it hasn't agreed to an age limit, reports ABC. Even the council itself said it's ultimately up to a designer. What's curious is why Jacobs decided to use the girls in designs that largely covered them up, and shadowed them with large hats. Maybe it's because the hats, as the Times points out, were "Dr.Seuss-style." The "cleaning staff could have been under those hats, and nobody would have been the wiser," quips writer Eric Wilson.