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Designer brands, high-end boutiques and tailor-made outfits: it’s a chic time to be a kid.

WORDS Edwina Hooke

Suri Cruise and Harper Beckham may have been credited with the renewed demand for expensive, exclusive children’s clothes but despite the rumours flying around, neither Katie Holmes nor Victoria Beckham appear too interested in hitching their fashion clout wagon to the burgeoning number of luxury childrenswear lines hitting the market.

Opened November 2011

It’s one of the world’s most coveted luxury brands. So how does a label famous for overtly sumptuous and sensual designs create a children’s wear range? The creative director, Frida Giannini, said she had some concerns in the initial stages because of the “sexy attitude and the glamour of Gucci.” The answer to that was excitingly simple: the Gucci Archives.

Much like her reinvention of the label’s adult ranges, Giannini is making good use of classic Gucci prints and themes from its golden days of glamour such as bamboo and elements of the horse world, so the line manages to exude opulence while still appealing to parents and kids alike.

Opened last November, Gucci’s first standalone children’s store is situated on Fifth Avenue, New York City, right next to its flagship store. Looking very much like its adult equivalent, the nod to a younger clientele is evidenced only in the details – bowls of sweets stacked on glass display cabinets full of smaller than normal accessories including sunglasses and hats. The line includes clothing, shoes, luggage for those mini-jetsetters of course, and even baby carriers featuring the iconic Gucci print, a cute and suitably fashionable looking bird, and pale pink or blue leather accents, so there can be no mistake you’re dealing with a chic tot.

Re-launched June ‘11

With roots set down almost 20 years ago, the Young Versace line has been a baby of Donatella Versace since the inception of her career within the label. In 1993 she started to work on the idea of the magical universe of children’s fantasy – and the Young Versace line first sprang from there.

The flagship store, located at Via Borgospeso 15/A is adjacent to the Versace Home boutique in Milan. Decked out in lilac and white and featuring such in store design elements as giant candy canes, large decorated toadstools and a plush padded four seat merry-go-round chair, the resulting atmosphere is somewhat akin to Alice in Wonderland meets Willy Wonka.

Re-launched in June 2011, the luxurious collection harks back to Versace’s early roots rather than being a scaled down version of the adult range. Classic Versace Greek inspired motifs such as the iconic Medusa head have been incorporated into the designs in a more playful manner. Another updated echo of the past is Kaia Gerber, Cindy Crawford’s daughter, who has been involved in modelling the new pieces – much like her mother did as Gianni’s muse in the early 90s.

Re-launched February ‘12

Liberty has recently opened a Little Liberty department on the third floor of its iconic department store, found off Regent Street in London. The re-launch of its children’s range was ‘demand-driven’, according to managing director Ed Burstell. The store, which features a classic English Tudor style exterior, originally stopped selling kidswear six years ago but as of February this year, children’s fashion, accessories, books, furniture, toys and gifts can again be found within its walls.

The huge third floor space is decorated in a story book style with a hand-drawn motif of a giant tree spreading out over drawers, tables and chairs. The wooden floor is dotted with candy stripe rugs, colourful stools and handmade oversized felt toys. The interactive area also offers the little ones a chance to try out the various toys on offer.

It carries kids lines from notable designers like Stella McCartney, Paul Smith, Acne, Chloe, Little Marc Jacobs and Isabel Marant, and there is an element of Liberty print throughout the lines. As well as clothing and accessories, Bugaboo has created a special Liberty print buggy hood especially for the store.

This does not even touch on the breadth of designer labels branching into children's wear. To cover all of them would need a much longer article. Some more notable options to keep an eye out for are Vera Wang, who is launching a junior's line for Kohl's called Princess Vera Wang, scheduled for August 2012; Alber Elbaz has produced a little girl's line for Lanvin called 'Lanvin Petite', and for those princesses who already recognise the importance of a good pair of shoes, Roger Vivier has launched a shoe collection called 'Jeune Fille', selling ballet pumps for £210 a pair, but you'll have to pick them up on your next European break because, as far as we know, there are no stockists yet in Australia.


Main image: Young Versace store in Milan
Above: Gucci boys’ range and outside the
Young Versace store in Milan

Info: Gucci  Young Versace
 Roger Vivier Jeune Fille
 Liberty  Princess Vera Wang
 Lanvin Petite

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