One of the biggest trends in designer apparel in the past years has been the shrinking of garments to fit the smallest of consumers -- tots. Couture children's clothes that reflect their adult companions are a trend that has inspired Little Marc
Jacobs, Custo Growing by Custo Barcelona, Little Ella by Ella Moss, Junior Gaultier by Jean Paul Gaultier, and Stella McCartney for BabyGap.
Although Phillip Lim, Chloe, and Antik Batik have come out with lines for kids, you will most likely not find them in local boutiques that have their own chic children designers that imitate more grown-up trends. Shelley Pieklik, owner of Tiny Dot in Shadyside, says the Pittsburgh market is a little more practical than miniaturizing adult clothes. "High-end clothes last and are well-made," she says. "So many people come in here and say, 'Why doesn't this come in my size?' A lot of clothes aren't just cute. People dress their kids in their style."
The need for comfortable and stylish clothing is exactly what inspired brands such as Splendid to launch Splendid Little, which you will find at Picket Fence on Walnut Street. Little Ella is another line that was easy to translate from Ella Moss' creative cotton jersey line. At Lullabye Landing in Mt. Lebanon you will find Diesel for boys and girls, but owner Stefanie Whitworth likes the French lines Jean Bourget and Catimini for a more creative couture look. This season a short charcoal cardigan from Eliane et Lena is a hot number that can be paired with everything from colors to white. A key to shopping couture for children is to look for creative and crafty pieces that are brighter interpretations of grown-up trends such as those by Lola et Moi or Lemon Loves Lime.
Similar to adult styles, this spring there will be a lot of gray or white palettes as well as crafty embellishments such as tiered ruffles, fabric creatures, embroideries, and handmade buttons. Ironically, tulle skirts are in for adults this spring, but they are always in for little girls. Stella McCartney released her own version of the tutu for GapKids this November and is set to launch another line for them in the next season. Her marching band inspired jackets brought the rocker vintage to kids in a fun and sophisticated way.
Many fathers don't want to envision their 3-year-old as a Sports Illustrated model, however, the swimsuit designer Maaji has already appropriated their line for toddlers to match mama. The tailored patchwork designs can be found at Lullabye Landing along with Rachel Weissman hair accessories for an added sophisticated sparkle.
On the more positive side of couture children's fashion is the trend for more eco and chemical-free collections such as the local line Rabbit Skins that uses felt from recycled bottles in playful characters on Ts and hats found at Ona in Mt Lebanon. Lines such as Happy Green Bee make their clothing from organic materials and this season their soft fabrics get the angled hemline treatment that is also familiar to mommies.
It is no surprise that children are getting the creative, couture and eco-conscious treatment from designers that are investing in future consumers. This past month even Bergdorf opened a new department called Little BG, specifically for the finest in infant fashion.
Published on March 17, 2010 in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette