Published February 08, 2010
A line of children's clothing called Ooh! La La Couture promoted by a young Disney star has come under fire for being too adult, and has even been likened to adult lingerie by some critics.
The Emily Grace Collection is named after 8-year-old "Hannah Montana" star Emily Grace Reaves, who helps design the line.
Her friend Noah Cyrus, 9, has also helped promote the collection in photos and online videos. Noah is Disney superstar Miley Cyrus' younger sister.
According to the official press release announcing the line in September, the designs feature “versatile styles that can be worn with sweet ballerina slippers, casual sneakers or paired with lace stockings and boots for more of a rock and roll look.”
But the similarity of the clothes to adult lingerie is undeniable, say critics.
Gossip blogger Perez Hilton likened the news of line's release to the apocalypse, while the Daily Mail called the designs "perverse."
Promotional materials for the line feature the girls in grown up looks and poses. In one image of Greaves and Cyrus, the girls are seen surrounding what appears to be a stripper pole, and another shows the children posing in leopard mini-skirts that bear a striking resemblance to an adult lingerie piece from LingerieDiva.com.
A rep for Ooh! La La, Couture tells Fox411.com that the clothing line has absolutely nothing to do with lingerie. “Whoever started this rumor grossly misinformed the public, press and media,” Terri Tex of T2 Public Relations told Fox. “I don’t even know where that word or idea of lingerie came from.”
The line has been around since 2004 and is a “reputable, upscale children’s clothing brand,” Tex said. “They do not design or promote a children’s lingerie line, nor will they ever. The Emily Grace Collection is a collection of beautiful tutu dresses created in collaboration with eight-year-old Disney actress Emily Grace Reaves inspired by her Lollipops and Rainbows Foundation.”
Tex also said Noah Cyrus is a “big supporter” of the line as Emily’s best friend, but is not involved in the partnership: “The collaboration with the collection is between Ooh! La La, Couture and Emily Grace Reaves only.”
"Capitalizing on celebrity style has been a huge hot-button issue for fashion and there should be something special about 'coming of age' and being able to wear more grown-up clothing," she said. "But typically, girls begin to experiment with this in high school ... because these girls are so young, I think they are crossing the line here."
"Bottom line, the clothing is not appropriate for children of that age," Strager added.
This is not the first time Noah Cyrus and her parents have come under fire for her choices in clothes.
At a Halloween party last year, Noah wore red lipstick, a lacy black dress and lace-up knee-high boots. At another event, she wore deep v-neck Ramones halter-top. Her sister Miley posed nude from the waist up for Vanity Fair magazine when she was 15, which her father took particular heat for as he was there for at least parts of the photo shoot.
Reps for Cyrus’ parents did not respond to request for comment.
According to Dr. Georgia Witkin, a professor of psychology at Mt. Sinai and a Fox News contributor, the grown-up images the girls are displaying speak to the problem many child stars face.
“When a child mimics the look of a teenager or an adult, they are skipping an entire developmental stage. Most of the values that kids learn in order to be able to handle the challenges of adult life are during the ages of 5-12,” Witkin said. “This is when they learn how to judge and how they are perceived. If they begin to believe that their value is based on their looks or their sexiness, it sends a completely wrong message.”
Witkin said that it is not the clothing that is necessarily the problem, but the potential emotional repercussions of growing up too fast.
"Developmentally, they can’t feel what it means to want to be attractive to the opposite sex. For them, it’s dress up,” Witkin said. “But when they dress like an older sibling, there is the danger that there will be emotions that go undeveloped and unexplored.”