Fashion week isn't just about pretty dresses and champagne: it's also about long hours for the people who work it. And some of those workers are children. The Times is reporting on the Council of Fashion Designers of America's efforts to ensure all models who work New York Fashion Week are over 16 years old. Last season, at least two agencies — Ford and Women — flouted those guidelines, and models aged 14 and 15 walked for a number of top designers, including Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch, BCBG, and DKNY. Ford, despite pledging to honor the CFDA age guidelines, has apparently not changed its practices this season:
Ford Models includes the hot newcomer Ondria Hardin in its show package, the portfolio of models it presents to casting agents, even though Ms. Hardin was reported to be 14 when she appeared in the Marc Jacobs show last season. Paul Rowland, her agent, did not respond to messages regarding Ms. Hardin and another reportedly underage model currently promoted by Ford.
Ford released a statement in response to the Times article, explaining that when it pledged not to put forward girls under 16 for runway work (in the CFDA's pre-fashion week open letter, published just two weeks ago) the agency didn't have any intention of keeping its word.
We take the age and maturity of our models very seriously. We work on a case-by-case basis alongside a prospective model's parents to make a determination as to whether they are ready to walk the runway. In most cases, the answer is no. But a select few demonstrate the know-how and maturity that are necessary to work earlier than they otherwise would.
Among the underaged models Ford represents are Ondria Hardin, who is 14 (turning 15 this summer) and Kremi Otashliyska. Hardin is pictured above in last fall's Prada campaign, which she shot aged 13. [On The Runway]
Meanwhile, Karlie Kloss — who started her international runway career at the September, 2007, Calvin Klein show, one month after her 15th birthday — is rumored to have canceled all her NYFW bookings for a "big opportunity." [Fashionista]
- A football player who just won a Super Bowl but nonetheless seems to be a big baby said that Gisele Bündchen "just needs to continue being cute and shut up." Bündchen was captured on video blaming some of her husband Tom Brady's teammates for the Patriots' Super Bowl loss. [NYPost]
- Kylie Bisutti, who won a Victoria's Secret modeling competition two years ago, has decided to retire from lingerie modeling because she feels it conflicts with her Christian faith. "My body should only be for my husband and it's just a sacred thing," she explains. [Radar]
- Patti Stanger, who walked in the Heart Truth Red Dress show yesterday (almost as if she were a real celebrity!) says she'd set up Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford, "because they both look straight." [The Cut]
- Paulina Porizkova says she is working on a "sort of memoir-ish" book. [The Cut]
- Apparently, people are making counterfeit Sex and the City perfume by the boatload. [WWD]
- Kanye West had lunch with Philip Green, the Topshop founder. Naturally, this has spurred rumors that Kanye might do a collaboration with the retailer. [Mirror]
- We wish Alexsandro Palombo, the fashion illustrator behind the excellent Humor Chic blog, a speedy recovery from the cancer he is currently battling. [WWD]
- Tavi Gevinson let New York capture her on video, packing for NYFW. [The Cut]
- Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor, who cofounded Juicy Couture, dip-dyed their hair turquoise to mark the launch of their new fashion brand, Skaist-Taylor. [WWD]
- Adam Levine and Anne Vyalitsyna might have broken up. [E!]
- Women's Wear Daily has a good round-up of the designer Facebook chats, show livestreams, Twitter thingamajigs, and social-media gewgaws going on this NYFW. [WWD]
- Y-3, Yohji Yamamoto's street wear collection for Adidas, is livestreaming its NYFW show on Facebook. [Facebook]
- Diane von Furstenberg says she only got two hours of sleep the other night. It's fashion week. [The Cut]
- There's a new show at the Museum at FIT celebrating the 50th anniversary of the CFDA. [WWD]
- Barneys is still struggling financially due to its heavy debt. The retailer has enlisted a law firm to help it renegotiate a $200 million revolving credit loan that's coming due in September. [WWD]
- The fourth quarter was good to Hugo Boss: sales rose 18% year-on-year, and profits increased to $130.9 million. Full-year profits for 2011 were up 34%. [WWD]