Did This Miu Miu Ad Deserve To Be Banned?

Photo: Courtesy of Miu Miu.
Whether it’s in photoshoots, on the runway, or at open casting calls filled with aspiring stars, the problem with employing underage models remains one of the most prevalent issues in the fashion industry today. Hiring these too-young girls not only violates child labor laws (which state that 14- and 15-year-olds can't work more than three hours per school day), but many argue that dressing children up in high fashion feels exploitative — sometimes sexualized. While protecting young girls against the industry's pitfalls is by all accounts a good thing, a new ruling from the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority might take this policing too far. 

WWD reports that the ASA has officially banned Miu Miu's spring 2015 campaign in the U.K. due to a single complaint regarding the Steven Meisel-lensed ads. The reason? The model, Mia Goth, looks too young in the images. Despite the fact that the 22-year-old (who was 21 when the campaign was shot) is legally of age, the ASA states that the photos appear to “show a child dressed as an adult in a sexually suggestive pose." 

The organization claims that Goth's outfit (a ruffled top and trousers from Miu Miu's spring 2015 collection), her bare-faced beauty look, and the fact that she's laying on an unmade bed, give the illusion that she's under 16 years old. “We considered that her youthful appearance, in conjunction with the setting and pose, could give the impression that the ad presented a child in a sexualized way,” the ASA said. Meisel's signature nostalgia-tinged composition (which he's showcased in past campaigns for Lanvin, Prada, and Balenciaga) didn't help, either. The ASA claims it gives the images “an air of vulnerability,” and the resulting aesthetic “a voyeuristic feel."

It should be noted that Miu Miu's founder and designer Miuccia Prada is no stranger to underage-model controversy, even casting a 14-year-old in her fall 2015 show. But, considering Goth isn't underage — and the ruling rests upon a single complaint — does the decision to ban the ad seem extreme? Weigh in below. (WWD
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