Monday, November 18

Fashion or whatever: _Child stars flaunt too much style too soon_

Making ripples in the clothing industry, kid fashion icons are dressing far beyond their years

Taylor Momsen of "Gossip Girl" fame models the Material Girl line for Macy's. Momsen's edgy personal style includes heavy black eye shadow and stripper heels. (MACY'S INCORPORATED)

Taylor Momsen of "Gossip Girl" fame models the Material Girl line for Macy's. Momsen's edgy personal style includes heavy black eye shadow and stripper heels. (MACY'S INCORPORATED)

Teresa Jue / Daily Bruin

I knew Willow Smith was going to have some sort of influence on fashion when she debuted her whiplash-friendly, heart-shaped mohawk in her music video.

It all began when I spent my prerequisite 10 hours per day on Facebook before I actually accomplished some work, and I noticed that 10-year-old Smith’s distinct style in her music video for her song “Whip My Hair” had inundated my news feed.

Smith has fallen under the microscope of fashion, what with her plethora of hairstyles to whip, her outfits, even her crystal-encrusted nails. The fashion website devoted a post to Smith’s outfits during Milan Fashion Week, while analyzed her various hairstyles, throwing around the term “beauty icon” to define her look.

Since when did children become fashion mavens? I’m still in the phase where I think children should be wearing “Dora the Explorer” backpacks and shopping for plastic jewelry at Claire’s. Now I see veritable toddlers roaming around Urban Outfitters and shoving bandage skirts in their mother’s arms.

But at least Smith’s style is the tame tween version of Rihanna’s greatest style hits. Another young trendsetter, 17-year-old “Gossip Girl” actress Taylor Momsen has literally sent waves of panic among the old folk with her risque style, including copious amounts of black eye shadow, lingerie as outwear and even Lucite stripper heels with a convenient slot for dollar bills.

Fashion and Student Trends assistant website editor Kourtney Kientzy said that Momsen’s rock star style incorporates many of the trends that she sees on campus, such as studs and leather jackets mixed with more feminine elements. Kientzy said that Momsen’s style, while risque, is indicative of her edgy aesthetic.

And I think Kientzy is correct in her analysis, since I did see a Momsen doppelganger, raccoon-eye makeup and all, attempting to teeter down Bruin Walk the other day in some rather high heels. While Momsen’s fashions have trickled down to the masses and among the stylish on campus, I can only anticipate the number of Smith-inspired mohawks that will be popping up in the crowds.

If we’re going to delve even further into the child-style genre, Suri Cruise is another kid mannequin with a legion of fans who follow her cutesy style. While second-year undeclared student Lindsey Engbrecht said that Cruise may be too young to even know what she’s wearing, Cruise’s mother Katie Holmes told New York Magazine that her daughter has been picking out her own clothes since she was 1 1/2 years old and that Cruise even tells her what to wear for red carpet events.

I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but I still wouldn’t want a preschooler telling me what to wear, let alone my own daughter.

While I may be an old hound in comparison to these puppies, I’d like to think that children should be children for a change and not have to dictate any sort of fashion statement. I’m sure many of the styles of the aforementioned pop tarts, such as Smith and Momsen, orchestrate a distinct style because it’s part of that thing called publicity, and I’m sure they also wear things because they like them.

At the same time, there’s a fine line between exploiting yourself and injuring your neck for the sake of looking cool and swinging your mane around.

Oh, kids these day. One moment they’re smearing their own spaghetti on the walls and throwing tantrums in the supermarket, and the next moment, they’re wearing Chanel, attending Milan Fashion Week and amassing a collection of stripper heels.

Should kids be fashion trendsetters or should they sit down and watch Elmo? E-mail Jue at [email protected]

“Fashion or Whatever” runs every Wednesday.

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