In the push to raise trendy children and in light of the importance placed on celebrity, moms are now raising a generation of girls who wear fashions at the age of eight that, in reality, are geared more for adult women.
The trend does not show any signs of slowing down as a French lingerie company has targeted young girls for a high-profile ad campaign aimed at promoting a line of clothing, which is a compromise between loungewear and lingerie for children between the ages of 4 and 12.
Jours Après Lunes, translated Day after Moons, has three main collections for babies, girls, and females ages 13 and older.
However, critics are firing back at the ad campaign saying the ads that show the young girls wearing loungewear are sending a bad message and are comparing the photos to kiddie porn.
The creator of the line, Sophie Morin who is a stylist for major brands of lingerie, dubs the intimates “Loungerie,” which simply combines loungewear with lingerie.
She said she is shocked at the way the new photo campaign has caused such an uproar.
Sophie Morin has embraced the French company Jours Après Lunes that published the photos showing girls in make-up and with voluminous up-dos wearing panties, bras, camisoles and T-shirts from the range.
In the ad campaign, young child models stand like adults in sexy poses, some are dabbling with makeup brushes and accessories while others are holding a teddy bear. Their locks are perfectly tousled and their makeup-complete with blush, mascara and eye shadow-ranges from natural to dolled up.
In some of the images the girls prance around in their undergarments or stare sweetly into the mirror to entice the audience viewing the images.
In the “Fille” (girls) collection, young girls are clad in midriff-baring clothing, from striped bras to chiffon trimmed panties with satin bow accents.
The company's mission is to be "the first designer brand dedicated to 'loungerie' for children and teenagers, comprised of loungewear and lingerie to be worn over and under, inside and outside," according to its website.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Jours Après Lunes creator Sophie Morin defended her brand and the photographs included in the ad campaign.
Calling her brand “innovative and unexpected in the current landscape of teenage and children’s fashion,” the stylist explores the use of new materials that are silky smooth, like “second skin,” according to her site, and uses details from lingerie like ribbons, frills, and flounces “with the utmost respect for comfort.”
What she believes to be “innovative,” however, is not coming off that way to consumers. Fashion experts are criticizing the "innovative" line for its premature styles and sexualization of young girls.
A 15-year veteran in the industry, Morin credits her company as the first designer brand dedicated to the “Loungerie” genre, which she describes can be worn “over and under, inside and outside.”
What caused all the uproar?
Fashionista, which first reported the news, revealed, “What’s disturbing about the new line is not just the fact that it’s lingerie for people who probably shouldn’t be old enough to even know what lingerie is, but the photographs on their website.”
Reports say the little "filles" are styled like grown women with Amy Winehouse hairstyles, sunglasses and pearls. There are also young girls luring into the camera with Thylane Blondeau-esque seductive gazing and reclining poses.
Thylane Loubry Blondeau was a young girl featured in a French Vogue pictorial where she was posing in heels, couture dresses, and pounds of make-up and many are saying this is way too racy and mature for a child.
"Blondeau Shewas is a 10-year-old French model who also caused much conflict in the fashion industry when she was featured in a provocative spread in Vogue Paris," one commentary reads.
"Her sultry poses, dark makeup, and suggestive outfits, including a low cut metallic dress paired with chain strap stilettos, caused an uproar in America about the restrictions that should be placed in fashion, especially for young children."
"It's not so much the hair and make-up that are turning people off it's that she already knows how to make a 'come hither' look with her eyes. It's weird and making everyone uncomfortable. It's like a case of playing dress-up gone horribly wrong," the commentary reads.
But Morin said she is genuinely surprised by all of the debate surrounding her line and wants to clarify that her brand has nothing to do with Blondeau.
She shared in an email to The Christian Post, which was translated from French to English, “The mix that was done in the press is totally wrong.”
“Extremely dubious interpretations made by the press were born because of the controversy surrounding pictures of [Blondeau],” Morin stated. “And journalists who sought the material and photos wanted to continue to feed their articles on the subject," she wrote.
“My brand has existed for over two years and my company is very serious. I am active in several lingerie and children’s fashion trade shows that are reputable and known worldwide.”
She also shared that at no point in time did any fashion professionals, exhibition organizers, customers or distributors ever criticize her company, whom she thanked for their trust.
Revealing a little bit about the history of her brand, Morin told CP that she developed her line in order to create underwear with material comfort.
“Between underwear that is very uncomfortable in 100 percent cotton and other sexy brands distributed by women, there was no alternative for children – that is, underwear created with material comfort," she said.
“I just wanted to offer children soft and comfortable underwear and support girls ages 14 to 20 to wear more sober clothes that correspond to their age, and are not registered as vulgar feminine brands,” she added.
The materials she chose were used because they were high quality, including cottons with elasticity, soft and easy to maintain viscose fabrics, and microfiber, which was not tapped into by the children’s fashion industry.
“There is no vulgar connotation: the material is totally opaque, not transparent, and there is no lace. The style is borrowed from children’s fashion with grosgrain knots, rubber bands, jersey fabrics... and the large all-over stripes... are inspired by the marine themes often repeated in ready-to-wear clothing.”
The two “triangles” in the collection were actually bathing suits for the younger girls while the other garments offered no support like from a bra.
As to the “over and under, inside and outside” aspect mentioned on the site, Morin stated that was just another way of saying that tops can be worn either under a sweater to keep warm during the winter or in the summer with jeans.
The veteran also revealed that the pictures in her brand were taken out of context, and that all the photographs showed were children playing children’s games.
“If you look in detail, you will find many small pieces of children’s games: farm animals, doll accessories, cake timber. There is no other meaning...there is only one interpretation: that of children playing together.”
Children were also not wearing heels, nail polish, or lipstick she exposed. “Hairstyles are exaggerated as are the games and the world of children. The models are wearing sunglasses like all children [and] we sometimes see their belly or legs like we see at the beaches.”
The models were professional and not at all in the likeness of Lolita, she added, referring to several criticisms that compared the young girls to Lolita.
When asked if she felt that her brand was contributing to the sexualization of young girls, she responded, “All children wear underwear, right? A lot of brands develop children’s underwear, right? A lot of children wear bikinis on the beach, right? I have invented nothing new.”
“My collection is very basic and consists of pants, tops, and only two bikinis for my consumers at the beach.”
“There is a confusion in language between English and French: in France, lingerie means underwear and is not meant to have a sexy notion while in English it does,” Morin further wrote.
The term “Loungerie” was coined by large firms and international stylists and did not have any sexual connotation as well, she explained to CP. In France, the term referred to the linen industry, which created underwear for women, men, and children.
“There is again no sexy or sexual connotation in French for these words,” she emphasized. “My brand is aimed at a French audience.”
Jours Après Lunes was not sold or distributed in the United States or in the United Kingdom, where much of the controversy has recently stemmed from.
“It is time to put things in their place and to address serious problems such as displays of pornographic magazines on the newsstands exposed daily in front of our children!” Morin concluded.
While the French designer’s site may not have directly intended to sexualize girls or create any negative attention for children, it continues an ongoing discussion on what appropriate measures must be taken for the protection of children and young teens involved in media, however devious, or in this case, pure the intentions.
The youth today are entrenched in media and it is now integrated fully into their lives.
Amy Lupold Bair, an author for Lifetime Moms, said young girls wearing slinky outfits and underwear has become the norm in today's society.
Blair said in the push to raise trendy children has to stop and parents must reevaluate the importance of fashion and teach young girls that conservative can be attractive and just as appealing.
"I’ve had a young teenage girl show up at my door Halloween night in a Playboy Bunny costume," Bair said.
"I know what I’m up against. But as a mom I’ve put my foot down and said, not in this house. If she wants me to paint her nails, that’s fine. I just don’t want her to think she has to because of some tween star on TV. If she prefers skirts over pants, that’s great, too. But I’d much rather that be because they’re comfortable, not because of a picture on a grocery store shelf."