>> Just before last season, CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg encouraged designers to forego hiring models under 16; however, after her show last season, von Furstenberg discovered that she had hired 15-year-old Hailey Clauson to walk, and subsequently issued an apology.
This season, von Furstenberg and the CFDA are taking preventative measures further, recommending that models produce a valid ID on the show day, ensuring that they are a minimum of 16 years old. “The casting agents for the Diane von Furstenberg show will be doing this and we encourage others to do the same,” the letter which von Furstenberg and CFDA CEO Steven Kolb sent out yesterday, stated. It also noted that all top model agencies had pledged not to send models under 16 for shows.
Von Furstenberg is not the only major New York designer who has had issues with model-age confusion. Michael Kors tells Lauren Hutton in the new issue of Interview: "I still think it’s weird when models come in on go-sees. I don’t understand how anyone can think that a model is a mannequin. I like to think of them as just women ... When they come in, I’m always like, 'Where are you from? Tell me about your life.' That’s the first thing I say. We were laughing, though, because two seasons ago, I said, 'You know what? These girls we’re seeing are too young. They are children.' It’s silly ... I said two years ago, 'No models under 16.' Well, of course, right after I said that, we started seeing all of these girls from Eastern Europe, and every girl who’d walk in, you’d say, 'Hi. What’s your name?' And she’d be like, 'I’m Svetlana.' I’m like, 'Svetlana, where are you from?' 'Ukraine.' 'Svetlana, how old are you?' '16.' Next girl walks in — she’s from Eastern Europe and 16. Next one? Eastern European and 16. I was like, 'Was there a bus?' But I still think it’s a tricky thing because no matter how beautiful you might be at 15 or 16, the simple truth is that you haven’t lived enough to really know how to project anything in a photograph. It’s like a kind of blank beauty."