Valentino’s Paris Fashion Week runway collection is under scrutiny following the appearance of a rather young model who appeared in a nude, sheer dress that exposed her nipples on the catwalk. For the last week and a half, fashion fans have been raising their eyebrows and turning their gaze away from Valentino’s fall 2016 collection after seeing a baby-faced model confidently strut on the runway with her nipples showing. However, she was not the only model on the runway sporting a youthful, soft appearance. Valentino’s fall collection was composed of a combination of heavy peacoats and turtlenecks alongside translucent dresses and tulle skirts.

Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid are among the reign of young models that are ruling the runway and fashion industry with their soft, rounded features and smoldering eyes. It’s no secret that modeling agencies and fashion designers are seeking out girls with child-like features and bodies to fit the runway standards. This is the first instance though that has a designer under fire for wanting to have young models on the runway.

In France, women must be at least 16 years of age in order to participate in a runway show and have a contract with an agency. Models are also given the opportunity to let a designer know if they are uncomfortable in a particular garment or style. However, the question here may not entirely be based around the unidentified model’s age, but focused more around her gender.

In the case of the Valentino runway show, every model on the catwalk stunned the audience with a youthful appearance, yet one model in particular is being singled out and criticized for looking too young. Valentino’s collection also followed a trend of displaying breasts, cleavage, or nipples, where multiple models were shown with exposed portions of their chests.

Whether this unnamed model realizes it or not, she is the midst of a fashion revolution that has been occurring for the last century. The question here isn’t about this woman’s age, but rather whether it is appropriate for her to walk the runway with her nipples visible to the public. While runway styles and looks may not be practical or feasible for a ready to wear look, Valentino’s collection is suggesting that nudity is appropriate and that woman should not be criticized for sexualizing their clothing or appearance.

Although the young model was confident walking the runway with her nipples in plain sight, this is yet another attempt to suffocate the fashion industry and its designers by criticizing the exposure of her breasts. The exposure of bare chests has been an ongoing controversy in the media for the last several years with back and forth debates as to why women are unable to walk around bare chested, but men are. The media and the male gaze has sexualized breasts and turned them into indecent exposure. Valentino’s fall collection may not have intentionally raised the question of women’s nudity, but it has certainly gained the media’s attention.

High fashion and designers recognize that nudity is beauty and a woman has a right to her own body and sexuality. Those criticizing Valentino and his decision to create fabrics and designs that expose female breasts are trying to destroy a concept of beauty that they see as indecency. So long as fashion continues to thrive in our society, individuals disturbed by public nudity and exposure of breasts will have to turn their eyes away from the runway and fashion industry because nudity is an endless beauty.

 

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