As I was foraging through my wardrobe for shoes to match my denim-skirt-and-blazer ensemble one recent Tuesday, I reached towards my silver peep-toes and thought of Suri Cruise. Not 30-something Carrie Bradshaw, but a three-year-old. Such was the subliminal effect of the Suri-obsessed glossip media, a three year old had managed to enter my mind's repertoire of fashion muses... along with Lady Gaga and Carrie Bradshaw. I dubbed that day 'Suri Shoesday' and vowed to never think of it again... until I read about US Weekly's latest issue, featuring Ferragamo-loving Suri and her tomboy counterpart Shiloh on the cover.
Perhaps it is a natural progression from the celebrity yummy-mummy trend, and the consumer and publishing world's response to said trend, but our preoccupation with tiny tots has spawned a fashion subculture that borders on profane. Take, for instance, the oohing-and-ahhing over the Paris Vogue "Enfants" supplement doing the rounds on fashion blogs (like this), accompanied by text such as "feast your eyes on this" wedged between posts showing smoking models, Lara Stone's buxom body and discussions of photographer Terry Richardson's ethics. Get your kids with your kink!
By the same token, the Enfants supplement comes with an issue showcasing Paris Vogue's usual edgy, sexy fashion editorials. Carine Roitfeld's styling often incorporates bare breasts, cigarettes and erotic elements (she talked about her ease with such things with The Telegraph). I can appreciate that culturally the French do things differently (the Gauls are geared for sex) and that this supplement is a treat for readers who are mothers, aunts, etc.
Still, there's something disconcerting about the Enfants fashion editorial: perhaps it is that these little girls appear to be brooding in their ballet poses and pointe shoes; looking pensive rather than playful in the moody lighting. Or that they look like mini Charlotte Gainsbourgs or RUSSH magazine models? Or is it just that I can see these ensembles being sported by the girls (and women) who once looked to the likes of Carrie Bradshaw for fashion inspiration?
In the March edition of Cosmopolitan Australia, editor Bronwyn McCahon confessed to requesting a fringe like Suri Cruise's at the hairdressers, while in the April edition of Vogue Australia, mother and journalist Kerrie Davies writes in 'In My Shoes': "With the tandem advent of eternal youth and ageless style there's no longer such a defined difference between a mother and a daughter's wardrobe."
Davies goes on to cite marketing expert Amanda Stevens, who says mother-and-daughter teams are being dubbed the "four-legged consumer" and author Deborah Tannen who says clothes swapping between mum and daughter is "partly a confirmation of their intimacy, but more than that, mothers think: 'Hmm, I can fit into her clothes. I look youthful, I feel youthful. This is valued in our society... ".
It's one thing to covet Demi Moore's youthful looks and swap cherished pieces between mother and daughter, but another entirely to fawn over a fashion spread featuring a 10-year-old in the context of a grown-up fashion blog or edgy fashion magazine. Channeling the Zeitgeist or childhood exploitation in a consumer driven culture? I'd personally prefer to be "referencing" a grown-up Carrie Bradshaw than a tiny tot in a tutu when I get dressed for the day.
- Tiny Tots, High Heels
- The Kids Are Taking Over (Playlist)
- Kids are a visual extension of their parents. True or fales? @ Mamamia
Girl With a Satchel