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Edited by on December 22 2010 at 1:02 PM

The New York Times claims the red carpet is stylish again and mentions Elle Fanning‘s couture coming-of-age in particular: “the 12-year-old star…has been schooling her elders all week…” And what, pray tell, is the reason for this sudden sartorial uptick? Why, the reason for everything else, of course: Cher.

Get Your Notebooks, Elle Fanning Is Taking You to School

NYT: “Also, Cher is back. Did you see that raunchy Julien Macdonald dress and the red wig?”

See it? I lived in it.

Get Your Notebooks, Elle Fanning Is Taking You to School

Geriatric perfection.

A few hundred years Cher’s junior, Fanning was flawless nonetheless in head-to-toe, off-the-runway Rodarte for the New York premiere of Sofia Coppola‘s new film, Somewhere. Then for the Hollywood premiere she wore Valentino Haute Couture.

Get Your Notebooks, Elle Fanning Is Taking You to School

Meanwhile, she’s barely through puberty and is dressing better than half the starlets, twice her age.

And yes I am looking at you, Kate Hudson.

So are female stars dressing better and taking more chances? Well, yes and no. For every Elle Fanning in Rodarte or Carey Mulligan in Prada, there’s bound to be someone abusing McQueen or horribly out of place in Dior.

What we have are young women who grew up on fashion magazines and have a love, interest and knowledge of fashion and dressing up. Fashion is more democratic than ever, so it’s only natural for a twelve-year old to embrace a heady brand like Rodarte.

Especially when her older sister has been turning it out for ages. And with awards season upon us, Elle and the rest of young Hollywood will have plenty opportunities to wow, stun, confuse and confound us.

LINK LOVE: New York Times

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Story by Lester Brathwaite

I was center square from 1969 to 1978, during which I perfected the art of the zing as well as a crippling cocaine addiction. Bea Arthur was responsible for both. @LesFabian lester at fashionindie.com