MELBOURNE City Council has selected the new face of its fashion festival, two weeks after dumping its original choice because she was too young.
Jacqui Alexander, an 18-year-old model and fashion designer, will become the public face of Fashion Week, which starts on September 3.
Fifteen-year-old model Claire Quirk was originally chosen for the job but then dropped because councillors considered her too young.
Ms Alexander, the daughter of Russian fashion designers who moved to Australia in the 1980s, designed her first collection last year while completing Year 12.
Earlier this year, Ms Alexander became the youngest ever designer to have her work bought by prestigious British department store Harvey Nichols.
Ms Alexander could not be reached for comment last night.
Councillor Fiona Snedden, who chairs the council's business committee, said she was ecstatic that Ms Alexander had been chosen. "It's a fantastic result for Melbourne because Jacqui is so inspiring," Cr Snedden said.
"She's a stunning young woman, but also an innovative young designer with a thriving small business of her own.
"It's a great small business story. She will be a great role model for young Melburnian women."
Melbourne City Council last month reversed its plan for Ms Quirk to be crowned "the face" of Fashion Week.
Ms Quirk, who turns 16 during the festival, will still appear on catwalks at many of the festival's 142 events.
The move to drop Ms Quirk last month came just days after an interim report was released by the British fashion industry's Model Health Inquiry.
It recommended banning models aged under 16 from London Fashion Week.
The British report also called for a scientific study into the prevalence of eating disorders among fashion models, and an investigation into whether a minimum body-mass index requirement should be introduced for London Fashion Week models.
The measure has already been adopted by Madrid Fashion Week.
Australia's main fashion industry body supported the restrictions on models younger than 16 working at big fashion shows, saying younger teenagers were ill-equipped to face issues such as sexualisation, alcohol and rejection.