A French clothing designer is under fire for developing a new line that is basically lingerie for children -- except they're calling the skimpy, beribboned collection "loungerie" instead.
Jours Apres Lunes ("Days After Moons") bills itself as "the first designer brand dedicated to loungerie for children and teenagers, comprised of loungewear and lingerie to be worn over and under, inside and outside."
Lingerie designer Sophie Morin said on her website her goal was to use adult lingerie trends to create underwear for toddlers and adolescents. It's her "fille" line, aimed at 4- to 12-year-olds, that is attracting the most attention -- and the photographs that go along with it.
Outfitted in triangle bras, ruffled panties and teased hair, little girls model the collection on the designer's website, in one photo appearing to frolic on a bed, with one girl pulling at another one's hair. In another photo, a girl stretches out on a chair, sunglasses covering half her face while her tied-off top exposes almost her entire midsection.
Fashion writer Marlissa Racco told the New York Daily News said she objected to the line's target age and the way the girls were photographed.
"It's cute when a little girl dresses up in her mom's clothing and jewelry and high heels," she told the Daily News. "These pictures are not cute. It's entirely inappropriate to put a 4-year-old in a bouffant like she's Brigitte Bardot in "And God Created Woman."
"It's inapproprite to sexualize children," she said flatly. "A pearl-encrusted triangle bra on a little girl does not sit well with me."
But Luis Paredes, publisher of the Lingerie Journal, told the Daily News that he thinks while Americans may be disturbed by the line, it's unlikely to garner the same reaction in Europe.
"Recently, a lot of fashion magazines and fashion brands have come under fire for using kids in their photo spreads," he said. "I think that at least here stateside, this company will come under fire as well."
It seems Jours Apres Lunes is simply the latest example in the growing trend of hypersexualizing children: You may remember this story we brought you in March about clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch featuring a padded, push-up bikini top on their new children's line.
Controversy also erupted earlier this month when 10-year-old French model Thylane Loubry Blondeau appeared in French Vogue, lying on her stomach in a tight dress atop a tiger-skin rug, heavily made-up and staring with a sultry look into the camera.