A tipster forwarded us this new editorial from the fashion magazine Pop, which features
17-year-old 16-year-old model Hailey Clauson, a porn star identified as "Destiny," an unnamed nude woman, and an unidentified man who in one picture is shown with his hands around Clauson's neck. To call this editorial "disturbing" is an understatement.
The spread, which was shot by photographer Tyrone Lebon and styled by Max Pearmain, alternates bizarrely between brightly-lit studio shots against candy-colored backgrounds, and pseudo-Terry Richardson sexploitation with Clauson posing with porn stars in a white-walled room. There are also some shots of Clauson making out with her own reflection in a mirror, and holding a baby; you can see thumbnails of the entire spread at Pearmain's blog [NSFW]. If the editorial has some kind of a theme — other than "the absolute creepiest shit we could imagine making a 16-year-old girl do to be in our magazine" — it's not readily apparent from the pictures.
Clauson has been working as a model since the age of 14. Before her 16th birthday, she'd already walked for Calvin Klein, Versace, Christian Dior, Lanvin, Hermès, Miu Miu, and Louis Vuitton, become a face of Gucci, and been photographed for Vogue Italia. When a 15-year-old Clauson walked for several designers in New York, where the Council of Fashion Designers of America recommends that girls under 16 not be hired for runway work because of the long hours and limited breaks, it made headlines and she became a poster child for the issue of young girls working the runways — not least because among the designers she had worked for was CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg, who said she had no idea Clauson was underaged. This season, von Furstenberg announced she would be carding all the models at her casting, and encouraged other designers to do the same. (Although at least some models who were interviewed by the press said that didn't happen.)
Her age was also a factor in a 2011 lawsuit, since dropped, that Clauson's parents filed against photographer Jason Lee Parry. Salacious photographs of Clauson taken by Parry the month the model turned 15, photographs that were supposed to be for publication in a small European fashion magazine, turned up on t-shirts at Urban Outfitters. Although the primary issue in the suit was the question of whether Parry had the right to license those editorial photographs for that commercial use, Clauson's parents used the suit to draw attention to Parry's sexualization of their daughter, which they said they objected to:
"She is posed in a blatantly salacious manner with her legs spread, without a bra, revealing portions of her breasts," the lawsuit alleges. "The image of Teen in a spread eagle position making her crotch area the focal point of the image may portray a child in a sexually suggestive manner and may be in violation of one or more federal and/or state laws."
It is strange, in light of that lawsuit and the barrage of publicity it received, that less than one year later Clauson, her agency Next, and her parents would permit her to participate in a shoot as sexualized as Pop's.
To my eye, though, the most disturbing image from the story by far is the one which depicts Clauson being strangled by an unseen hand. For a magazine to sexualize violence against women in this way is frankly disgusting. This is not fashion, and this is not an appropriate way to depict any woman in a fashion spread — no matter her age. But to do this to a teenaged girl, when teenaged girls are among the groups most at risk of suffering violence at the hands of the men in their lives, is arguably even more offensive.