Jolie Novak, AOL



Oh Tom Ford, where will you draw the line? As a fashion editor and writer, I've been behind you since the days of Gucci, YSL and certainly your namesake collections. And as a designer-turned-director, you have an amazing talent for understanding what we want to see, what the next big thing is and, ultimately, what will titillate us.

But it is your judgment as a guest editor that leaves us scratching our heads. There was that nude Scarlett Johansson-Keira Knightly cover for Vanity Fair in March 2006 that was awash in unflattering white. And now, you've gone off the deep end in Paris Vogue's December-January issue, which you guest-edited for friend and outgoing editor Carine Roitfeld.

Yes, yes, there's the requisite sex-drenched cover and fashion spreads (no pun intended), but there's one layout in particular that walks on the wrong side of the line.

Twelve pages are devoted to a shoot featuring little girls -- none older than 7 -- decked out from top to bottom in designer clothing, shoes and jewelry. But instead of coming off as being an innocent and charming dress-up story, the mountains of makeup and full-on hairdos on these girls immediately adds a lurid element. It's as though the late JonBenet Ramsey and her "Toddlers & Tiaras" pageant cronies were treated to some high-priced looks. It's borderline revolting.

There's an old adage in fashion that if you want attention, stick a baby or a puppy on the runway. It works with all kinds of animals and all kinds of kids, but in a world where images of children toting guns (in Africa or the Middle East) or smoking cigarettes (in Asia) are almost commonplace, why is making little girls look like jaded, sexed-up women a good thing?

Little girls (and little boys, for that matter) dressing up is the most natural thing in the world. All they want to do is be like the people they idolize -- their mothers, teachers, sitters, older siblings, etc. -- and to exercise their imaginations.

I will admit to being incredibly entertained when my very young children show me their dress-up creations. And when I see the pride in my daughter's face at what she's accomplished, I don't care that she may have gotten into designer looks that are much too old for her. There's an innocence and creativity to it.

When there are adult stylists, deliberate hair and exaggerated makeup involved, it's a completely different story. It is no longer a charming dress-up story, but more an unflattering demonstration of what that editor believes will push our buttons.

This is just all kinds of wrong, but we're talking about it, which may have been your plan all along, Mr. Ford.

Meanwhile, find out who is slated to replace Carine Roitfeld at the fashion bible.