NEW YORK — As a designer and president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Diane von Furstenberg has been a passionate advocate of health guidelines for models — including making a push to only use models over the age of 16. She was all the more disturbed, then, when she found out on Friday that one of the models on her own fall runway, Hailey Clauson, was only 15.

This story first appeared in the February 23, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.


Earlier today, she sent out a letter via e-mail to CFDA members to express her distress.


“As you remember, I sent you all a letter prior to the shows, emphasizing healthy models and diversity, and reminding you of our Health Guidelines,” von Furstenberg stated in the letter. “One of the guidelines, as you know, is not to hire models under 16 in addition to making sure that all of them are properly fed. Well, it is to my horror, that I discovered last Friday that in spite of me repeating that to my production and casting people, one girl slipped through the cracks. One girl who will be 16 in March walked my show last week!”


Von Furstenberg said that it made her rethink the casting procedure.


“I was horrified and terribly embarrassed,” she said. “From now on I will instruct my casting people to demand IDs. I encourage you to do the same. I am trying to be a good leader and set an example…so please please accept my apology,” she added.

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