Let’s Discuss: Is Hailee Steinfeld Too Young To Be The Face Of Miu Miu At 14?

Hailee Steinfeld at the Miu Miu Ready to Wear Autumn/Winter 2011/2012 show in Paris on March 9, and at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in L.A. on Jan. 30.
Photo: Getty Images

Ok. *Deep breath* I guess this is where I have to add the preemptive disclaimer that what I talk about in the “Let’s Discuss…” column is not necessarily the viewpoint of MTV, Viacom, its subsidiaries or the youthful production assistants whom I adore but share few references with because I am older than hate. Also, limestone. And fruit. And while that’s THE most self-aggrandizing crap ever that any large-scale corporation would be affected by what I say, AND while I know my gorgeous MTV Style babies mostly ignore me when they’re not prodding me with a bedazzled stick to make sure spinster mama’s still breathing, I’m pretty confident that what I’m about to say is going to be an unpopular opinion.

I think Hailee Steinfeld is too young to be the face of a designer campaign. Sorry. I KNOW that the
Oscar-award nominated actress has been KILLING IT on the red carpet. And I know that Miu Miu is the little sister to Prada. A sort of Skipper to Miuccia’s Barbie, if you will. And I do realize that Ms. Steinfeld used to model as you’ll see the example below to the left. The right is Skipper nailing a satin midi skirt and a sheer, bejeweled shirt like she was BORN in ’em.

Hailee Steinfeld in a 2007 Guess ad campaign and at the Orange British Academy Film Awards in London on Feb. 13.
Photo: Guess/Getty Images

And also, there’s this one. Friggin’ ADORABLE. I know this, I have EYES.

Hailee Steinfeld in a Fall 2007 Guess ad campaign.
Photo: Guess

I do also know that there are models a scant year older that routinely grace magazine covers and trot down runways for all the world to see in undoubtedly gorgeous but skimpy outfits. But, and maybe this is just me, models are SUCH phenotypic anomalies that they sort of have nothing to do with regular, young, female, girls. And again, this is where I duck darts behind my VERYVERYVERY old wizened age because I no longer get the remotest bit threatened or hostile around beautiful, Amazonian, willowy, couture-wearing girls because it’s like watching a gazelle do the dishes or cheetah playing hopscotch with a merman—it’s like, SUUUURE that is an AMAZING thing that is occurring but *shrug* because of COURSE I don’t look like that. I am a human who types for a living.

ANYWAY. My point is this. I just feel like the platonic ideal of beauty these days seems a little screwy and is quickly becoming more bonkers. Not to say that this has never before been the case (I did live through “heroin chic,” I’ll remind you) but we seem a little more obsessed with youth culture and lionizing CHILDREN for their choices in a way that I honestly find troubling. I think Hailee Steinfeld is beautiful, truly lovely, and I, like anyone else with an opinion on fashion, appreciate that she always look thoughtfully turned out and age-appropriate with a fresh face.

I just think that between Lanvin and Versace making a children’s line, and conversations about Elle Fanning wearing head-to-toe Chanel for an Interview magazine spread at 12, there’s a discussion that needs to happen that doesn’t have to do necessarily with a fear of sexualizing kids or making them look older or damaging their psyches, etc., etc., mostly because, heck, these girls are FAMOUS,and normalcy has somewhat been chucked out to window to land on a majillion-dollar three-picture deal.

My concern is that I don’t want 12-year-olds to know about $500-$1,200 ballet flats. I don’t want them to get it twisted that they have to dress in the demure gown that a 50-year-old who had to endure four divorces to claw her way to a specific tax bracket would also wear. I guess my take on the whole thing is that a) please don’t plummet into hellish credit debt if you’re still in school and somehow you think Hailee getting a campaign that allows her to wear Miu Miu all the time at 14 and infants wearing Lanvin means you’re ’behind’ or something and b) please ignore MOST of this and just continue to thrift/eBay/scrounge/EARN/make/borrow clothes that aren’t just owned by three MAJOR fashion conglomerates because that’s the message you’re getting. And mostly, just forgive me because sometimes I’ll forget and force more of the same on you and that’s when YOU will have to poke me with the dazzle stick to have me hop to attention. So yeah, am I completely off the mark? IS she too young? I mean, this Guess campaign was in 2007, which is NOT that long ago… Right? Who knows. GAH…