Here’s a breakthrough way to make sure your runway is populated by the 16-and-over set — card the models! Starting next week during the Spring 2012 shows, Diane von Furstenberg and the CEO of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Steven Kolb, are advising designers to ask models for identification in order to support an effort to make sure the denizens of the runway are over 16 years old. (Von Furstenberg herself took some heat last season for accidentally hiring Hailey Clauson, at left, who was 15 at the time of the show).
Of course, that age limit represents a recommendation, not a rule. The designers who do wind up carding their Fashion Week hires deserve some credit for more or less volunteering to at least try showing their clothes on semi-adults. And we doubt the tents at Lincoln Center are going to be equipped with club-like ID scanners — there’s nothing keeping savvy, too-young models (and their agencies) from getting a hold of fake IDs, just like any teen faced with an age-related obstacle.
Will the CFDA’s advice have any effect on the ages of the girls (and we do mean girls) who get cast this season? Michael Kors probably put it best when he told Interview that after trying to enforce a 16-over-rule beginning two years ago, every model at his casting calls was, curiously, suddenly 16: “Next girl walks in — she’s from Eastern Europe and 16. Next one? Eastern European and 16. I was like, “Was there a bus?”