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Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 03/ 1/2011

Photographer Nigel Barker on teen models

By Katherine Boyle

English fashion photographer Nigel Barker visited the District this past week. Best known for his four-season stint as (arguably) the most likable judge on "America's Next Top Model," he attended a private book signing at Eden Lounge to promote his style and beauty guide "Beauty Equation" ($24, Abrams). The celebrity photographer of Sri Lankan descent began his brief stay in DC with tea at the residence of Sri Lankan Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya. Barker called Washington "a stunning city steeped in history with great architecture... an urban environment where creativity can flourish."

Barker also commented on a number of controversial fashion faux pas that have overshadowed New York, London and Milan Fashion Weeks, including Diane Von Furstenberg's use of fifteen year-old model Hailey Clauson in her New York show. The Council of Fashion Designers of America does not allow models under age 16 to walk in fashion shows.

"One of the reasons designers are using younger models is because younger girls are maturing quicker than previous generations, and there's a need to represent them," said Barker. "The MTV generation and Bieber fans want to see lipstick and blush on a girl their age just as much as an older lady should want to see a glamorous woman advertising cosmetics."

Von Furstenberg has since apologized for the embarrassing mistake. Barker's solution to keeping tweens off the catwalks?

"I guess she will need to ID the girls next time."

By Katherine Boyle  | March 1, 2011; 10:30 AM ET
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