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House Of Dereon Girls' Collection: Cringe-Worthy Advertising Campaign For A Cringe-Worthy Brand

May 12 2008

Speaking as someone who has been reading fashion magazines since the age of 7, I can safely say that I've come across more than my share of offensive adverts over the years. As a result, my tolerance for tacky, tasteless and sexist ads is therefore fairly high (sad as this may be). After all, sexual objectification of women is nothing new in advertising and no where is this more true than in fashion and beauty industry advertising. Yet, despite my finely honed cynicism, I recently came across an advertisement that is so disturbing, so cringe-worthy, that I couldn't help but be deeply offended by it.

The advert in question is for The House of Dereon Girls' Collection, a line of children's wear recently launched by the brand fronted by Beyonce and "designed" by her mother Tina Knowles. (Source) It depicts a group of four little girls aged between 5 and 6 years old (at most) dressed in a variety of outfits ranging from leopard-print fedoras, hot pink feather boas and high-heeled shoes. The little girls are heavily made up, their hair is teased and styled and they are photographed in various adult poses complete with hands on hips and insolent little pouts. In other words, the little girls were intentionally made up to look like little tarts for the purpose of promoting children's clothing. How perverse is that? While House of Dereon is, at its core, a cynical exercise motivated by little more than celebrity greed, the brand's line of children's wear and the advertising campaign designed to promote it goes beyond mere greed. In this instance, the brand crosses into corporate irresponsibility and the brand's management as well as the celebrity who cynically fronts it should be held accountable.


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Dear Readers:

The purpose of this blog is first and foremost to foster debate about the the many changes under way in the fashion and luxury industries. Some of the issues involved are controversial and many readers feel very passionately about them. I respect this. Moreover, I've benefited tremendously from all the comments left by my readers since starting this blog two years ago, many of which diverged sharply from my own. This said, the vast majority of these have been perfectly relevant and always expressed respectfully. Until now.

The present "conversation" (I use the term loosely) has now gotten so off-topic and the tone of the comments so lacking in civility that I feel no real debate is possible. While I understand, some of you feel passionately about the issues at hand, neither passion (nor faith for that matter) warrant trading insults. For these reasons (and for the first time since starting The Luxe Chronicles), I am shutting down this comment section.


Hey Roxie66,

Didn’t mean to “creep-you-out” maybe it’s the Holy Spirit working on your heart convicting you on something. I didn’t beat you up with my Faith in any way, shape or form. And trust me, if the “Great Person Who lives inside of me” was my own voices you’d have a worst comment rather than “Bitties in the BK Lounge”. When Stevie Wonder sang the song: “Heaven 10 Zillion Light-years away” and in it he said, “people ask me, ‘where is your God?’ and Stevie said, “He lives inside of me.” Why don’t people say, “Man, that Stevie is creepin me out with his lyrics?” Because he’s Stevie Wonder? You think about that awhile…

Wayne/Pastor Wayne/Whatever, you're creeping me out. Why do bible-thumpers always get so creepy? And why do they always use their faith to beat up on other people. Maybe the "Great Person living inside you" are just voices you're hearing.

Whether I’m Wayne, Pastor Wayne, concern parent, or dad, I’m all the same person. Again, I did apologize for my “ghetto remarks” even though they brought some amusement to you. I am a Bible-Thumper and its not gibberish, you should try it (I mean that most sincerely). We’re all hypocrites in one way or the other- I’m just man enough to admit my mistakes and retract my obscenities; not because I’m such a great person but because I have a Great Person living inside of me- you can have that freedom of Life as well. Hope you do…

Thanks for the spell-check on Bitties

Hi - I just came across this comment thread and I'm confused - are you "Wayne" or "Pastor Wayne"? When you were Wayne, you were hurling insults and talking ghetto. Now that you're "pastor Wayne" and talking about the after life, you're talking gibberish. I like your first comment better - I don't agree with it and it was offensive but at least it sounded sincere. Now you just sound like a hypocrite bible-thumper.

By the way, if it's de la soul's lyrics you want to quote, it's Bitties in the BK Lounge not Betties. LOL

Dear Helene

Again, the reason why I “lashed out” was because I didn’t appreciate the way you, or others like you, who try to paint a picture of some type of wrongdoing on the part of the industry or the parents involved thereof (at least in this case). Furthermore, I don’t need stake claims on who my daughter is, who I am or our evolvement with the matter at hand. Only an insane person would engage in such a thing as this, and you wouldn’t have an open discussion with one who is not in tact. My use of language, tactic, and tone are one of an upset parent of which any parent would react in the same way. I don’t know if you blatantly forgot about my apology or maybe you just don’t except it because it’s obvious that you have never acknowledged it. Therefore, it truly demonstrates your character. I feel sorry for you…

See you in the next Life. Hopefully…

Dear Wayne:

You speak of rights but you conveniently leave out responsibility. Surely, if you are indeed a pastor as you claim, you know that one does not come without the other.

Corporations like individuals have rights but they also have responsibilities and corporate responsibility is a matter of public interest. 'For Profit' corporations are indeed accountable not only for the products they sell but also for their communications which obviously include the adverts they disseminate. This can't possibly be news to you. I, or any other member of the public, have the right not only to question their motives but their practices as well. It is of course your right to defend them.

As for your claim that "you know the truth", this is the Internet. There is no way to know that you know anything for certain. But, if you are so secure in your own convictions about the appropriateness of the adverts in question and your daughter's supposed participation in it, why lash out so bitterly at people who don't share your opinion on the matter? Why resort to mudslinging and name-calling? If your moral position is so secure, why question the right of others to speak out in defense of their own convictions? I find your language, tone and tactics ultimately more revealing than any "truths" you claim to know.



I don’t think you have the right to question the intentions of the House of Dereon's marketing campaign or its tactics in marketing. They’re not trying to sell sex with underage children or making them appear to be provocative in any way, shape or form of the matter. I think your assessment of this is too condemning and last time I checked you can’t read the heart (the last Person that did that walked on water). When my daughter appeared in this ad and the other ad it was never a matter of me or my wife taking flack from “highly controversial” or “negative public reaction”. If that were the case the Church would have been the first group of people to discipline us for our actions- but they didn’t.

Again, I am the parent of the little blond-curly-hair girl, and she does look that way when she rolls out of bed. And ALL the girls looked as is in the picture. I don’t need to lie to you or any other person. I know the truth because I was there the whole time. Please, except some responsibility and admit, at least, on this point you missed the mark.

Dear Wayne:

In actual fact, I am indeed grateful for all comments whether they agree with my point of view or not. The whole point of leaving the site's comment section open is to foster a discussion or debate on the topics which fall within the scope of this blog. Otherwise, I would merely close down the comment section altogether. In the case of your initial comment, I could have merely censured and reported it or deleted it altogether. I chose instead to engage you in further debate. Perhaps you're the one being presumptuous?

I find your follow-up comments revealing. My post pertains to House of Dereon's marketing campaign. In it I question the tactics of the corporate interests behind the campaign. There is no mention of parenting skills. Rather, it is the corporate responsibility of the House of Dereon I question. If you are indeed the parent of one of these children as you claim, it is essentially a matter for you, your family and your conscience. This said, by accepting to put your small child in a highly controversial advert, you also accept the overwhelmingly negative public reaction that the advert generated. Live by the sword, die by the sword.


P.S. As for the make-up issue, perhaps the little girls in question tumble out of bed in the morning with naturally bright pink lips and cheeks and teased hair.


I’m sure you’re not thankful for my comments made towards you presumptuous blog because you have already made up you mind about Beyonce, House of Dereon and all who are affiliated with this promotional ad. You are flat out wrong about the “heavy makeup” I was there for both photo shoots because my daughter is the curly-blond-hair girl playing the piano and in the center of the other girls. Look at the shoes woman, they are OVERSIZED, hello? They didn’t “overtly sexualize” any of these girls. The entire time I watched how the photographers and the “hair-stylist” interacted with the children and parents. In fact we thought they were going to put makeup on the girls but they said they only use (as they were putting it on my daughter) VASELINE on their eyelashes to bring out their eyes in the picture. I’m not an idiot, I’m grown man, and I know there are various marketing schemes but with this one, you’re wrong.

In defense of the Knowles Family, they are a lovely family who treated US like family. I was blown-away how normal and warm they were. I would actually work for them for free; that’s how good of an experience I had with them!

In regards to my remarks I apologize for them. I am still human but that’s no excuse for me to go on a tirade and attack those who are attack my daughter or my parenting skills. I like to believe I make right and good decisions for all my children.

Again, sorry for my use of witticism…

Pastor Wayne

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The Luxe Chronicles is a collection of interviews, profiles and musings on various aspects of the luxury industry and occasionally, a rant on our celebrity obsessed culture and the dumbing down of our collective sense of style and esthetic.

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