Dior criticised for recruiting 14-year-old model as face of the brand

Teenage model Sofia Mechetner who has stirred up controversy for her appearance in catwalk show was recruited by the designer himself after she walked in his store

Emma Akbareian
Tuesday 28 July 2015 17:02

Sofia Mechetner's appearance on the catwalk in the Christian Dior autumn/winter 2015 haute couture show has been the subject of much debate given the model is only 14.

Mechetner grew up in Tel-Aviv before being spotted by an Israeli model agent and referred to small French agency, a stroke of luck meant she ended up bumping into Dior's creative director Raf Simons in one of the label's shop in Paris and was swiftly signed by the brand.

Mechetner, who has reportedly signed a lucrative two-year deal with the French fashion house worth £170,000, scored the prestigious slot of opening the brand's couture show earlier this month in Paris.

Sofia Mechetner backstage at Dior autumn/winter 2015 couture

Unsurprisingly, the recruitment of the teenager has sparked criticism - she walked the runway for the brand in an ethereal, sheer white dress.

The employment of models at such young ages is not unheard of, Kate Moss was just 14 when she was discovered by Storm Models, however the industry has been making moves in the last few years to prevent the use of underage models.

The British Fashion Council banned models under the age of 16 from appearing at London Fashion Week. The CFDA has followed suit issuing guidelines to designers taking part in New York Fashion week which discourages use of underage models.

Similarly in 2012 the editors of every edition of Vogue agreed not to use models younger than 16 in editorial shoots.

No such rules exist in Milan, where last year a similar argument occurred when 14-year-old Dutch model Roos Abels took part in the Prada show.

Mechetner's agent Roberto Ben Shoshan defended her new role for the brand, telling I-24 News that a chaperone is "24-hours with her, she's sleeping in the same room as her, she's going with her to the auditions, to the catwalk, so I think it's okay".

Mechetner herself responded to the controversy telling the Jerusalem Post: "Fashion nudity is about art and not about sexuality."

MP Caroline Nokes who heads the parliamentary group on body image also waded into the row commenting:

"Use of this young girl is just a disappointing step backwards. We want to protect young people from what can be a very exploitative industry. To have young people being photographed provocatively - the industry really has to clean up as inevitably others will follow suit. She looks every bit underage."

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