Little girl in lingerie from Jours Apres Lunes rangeThe new Fille collection is aimed at girls aged 4-12. Photos:jours-apres-lunes.com

A French lingerie designer has hit back at criticism over promotional photos of girls as young as four in make-up, back-combed hair modelling clothes from her range.

Sophie Morin of the embroiled Jours Après Lunes label has said she is 'extremely surprised by the current uproar' over the lingerie for four to 12-year-olds.

Industry commentators have argued that the underwear, which features striped bras and frilled panties, is 'entirely inappropriate.'

Top fashion blog Fashionista.com said: 'What's disturbing about Jours Après Lunes is... that it's lingerie for people who probably shouldn't be old enough to even know what lingerie is.'

In a letter to Fashionista.com, Ms Morin had defended her underwear designs: 'All I wanted to do was offer underwear that is soft and pleasant to wear... that is suited [to] their age, and that wasn't an extension of women's labels, which are often vulgar,' writes the designer.

'The materials...have no vulgar connotation: they are totally opaque, nothing transparent. The style is inspired by children's fashion, with spots, bows, etc.'

In one shot, a girl wears Jackie O-style sunglasses while lounging back on a pillow, her modesty protected by just panties and a cropped polka-dot tied top.

Ms Morin remains adamant that the shoot's styling was nothing but innocent: 'All the photos show children playing children's games, as we've all done. If you look at the details, you'll often find elements of children's games: dolls accessories, wooden animals etc,' she wrote in the email.

'A second reading is needed – no vulgar connotation. There is only one interpretation: children playing together, no more.'

In another photo, three young girls play together, their hair set in beehives and their lips painted bright pinks and reds.

'The children aren't wearing high heels nor nail polish nor lipstick. The hairdos are over the top, but so are children's games. Yes, the models wear sunglasses, like every single kid. Yes, you see their stomachs and legs, like you do on the beach. Yes they wear necklaces inside the house, as do all little girls for fun,' writes Ms Morin.

She notes that all of the girls are professional models and suggests that double standards may be at work: 'You'll often see children's productions inspired by the theme of cowboys and Indians-does this make children future criminals?'

Ms Morin suggests the uproar is a direct result of the recent controversy surrounding 10-year-old Thylane Blondeau's shoot for French Vogue.

Out sister site MyDaily.co.uk ran a poll earlier this week in which 94.7% have so far voted the photos advertising the range are inappropriate.

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