Pitti Bimbo: Design Du Jour - Part I

Among the manufacturers below who attended Pitti Immagine Bimbo (19-21 January 2007), you'll recognize American lines as well as meet new designers from overseas. What they have in common is an evolved sense of merchandising. They know how to create groups with themes and set color story - and that's true whether they launched their collection at the show in January or have been producing gorgeous garments for 20 plus years. Some of the manufacturers set trends; others keep a keen eye on the themes of the moment, then spin them in a personal style.





Homebase: New York, New York

DESIGNER: Harald Husum

Sizes: 6 months to 8 years; Wholesale prices: $12-$38

In their words: "I'm going to Formula Racing School in Florida this spring, so that has definitely inspired me. My wife, Lynn, and I have two girls now, so I felt the need to really take charge of the girls' line. It is bigger and better this season."

It's easy to see funky T-shirts and think, more of the same. But keep this in mind: when Husum launched Appaman in the summer of 2003, his line of tees, one printed with the image of Che Guevara, was groundbreaking.

While left-leaning T-shirts are still a big part of the collection, Husum has expanded the line to include boys' and girls' sportswear.

Favorites: As much as I admire Husum's cheeky tops, it's the jackets and pants that really get me. Husum doesn't play it safe with color, and that knack for choosing off center hues works beautifully on the slim, 70s-style jackets and narrow, snap-front pants.

Tel: 212-460-5480


Overseas distributor:

La Nouvelle Vierge in Belgium

Tel: 0032 (0) 13 46 00 21





Homebase: Brooklyn, New York


Sizes: 3 months to 6 years; Wholesale prices: $13-$34

In their words: "For Fall/Winter 2007, egg + avocado offers an eclectic mix of goods like our signature robot bear and robot bunny and punk rock skyline. An image of the quintessential Brooklyn bridge is a staple in the line. For a cozy feeling, there are warm, chunky cotton knit separates."

Wong is one designer who says, "Yes" to vibrant color. Since she began manufacturing in 2005, she's played with modern graphic designs mixing the hip images with evocative knits, simple skirts and jumpers.

Favorites: There's something slightly off center about Wong's urban-centric collections. Perhaps it's the way she throws one clashing color into a sweater, or immortalizes the Brooklyn Bridge on the pocket of her jeans. However one describes her aesthetic, Wong's an original.

Tel: 718-636-5093


Overseas distributors:

La Novelle Veirge BVBA in Belgium

Tel: 32 0 13 460021

Stomp Stamp Co., Ltd in Japan

Tel: 81 2 5724 5211





Homebase: New York, New York

DESIGNER: Emily Wang

Sizes: NB to 4 years; Wholesale prices: $9-$32

In their words: "We generally don't spin a theme each season," says Kit Lee, the designer's husband. "The kimonos are our core product and prints for those have evolved from a Japanese flavor to more of a Chinese one. We've exhibited at Pitti twice. It's great exposure for our brand."

This label started a few years ago with shaggy, space age looking accessories and Wang's trademark kimonos. She's branched out since then with a line of extroverted sportswear and two retail shops in New York's East Village and Chelsea neighborhoods.

Favorites: Wang's pieces are like great actors: they give a strong performance on their own and they make everything they're paired with look good, too. The batik jacket is iconic Wang, while the solid topper shows off her quieter side.

Tel: 212-229-2900


Overseas distributor:

La Nouvelle Vierge in Belgium

Tel: 0032 (0) 13 46 00 21







Homebase: Surry Hills, Australia

DESIGNER: Collette Dinnigan

Sizes: NB-5 years; Wholesale prices: $10-$70

Collette Dinnigan has a wildly successful career as a women's designer, winning awards for business acumen as well as her collections of beaded dresses. She's the darling of Halle Berry, Naomi Watts, Madonna and Cherlize Theron who love the way her designs hug the body without looking overly exposed and have just the right made-for-the-runway bling.

After the birth of her daughter, Estella, two years ago, Dinnigan launched the Enfant collection. The children's clothing she exhibited at Pitti had none of the glitz you find in her adult line, yet her love of fine textiles and flattering shapes is apparent.

Dinnigan says the collection has a "bespoke feeling." There are finely tailored jackets and coats in soft wool tweed, buttery wool sweaters, vintage inspired dresses with stunning inlaid panels of lace and a charming group of silk velvet items with a 1930's mood.

Favorites: The dusty pink silk velvet dress (also available in "aubergine," a deep reddish cocoa, with pink flowers) references the Thirties without looking like a costume piece. The frock can be paired with the delicate shrug or layered beneath the gorgeous tweed coat.

Collette Dinnigan

+61 2 9361 0110


U.S. retailers: Barney's, YoYa, City Babes and ioe2 in New York City, 98% Angel in California.

U.S. sales representative:

Caroline Nagle

Yoka Showroom






Homebase: Entratico, Italy

Designers: Imelde and Stefano Cavalleri

Sizes: NB to 14 years; Wholesale prices: Contact manufacturer

In their words: "Contemporary, actual, attention to the coming changes in taste, this collection is romantic and at the same time visionary….Beyond the image of the world of children, which is by now connected to nothing but memories and adult projections, is fashion, the formal and esthetic now continually in transformation, that has dictated the canons of this collection."

Since its inception 26 years ago, I Pinco Pallino has been the collection that only the top tier boutiques shop - as much for its price points as its sophistication. The clothing calls for a buyer who thinks building a wardrobe involves collecting beautiful, fully evolved designs, not a retailer who shops for trend of the moment items.

Spread over the floor of a small building, this season's collection reflected an optimistic, lighthearted mood with an intriguing darker side. Luxurious cashmere, metallic leather, velvet and silk are colored in angelic tones of silver, soft gray, cream and pale pink. The sweetness is balanced with hard-edged shapes such as motorcycle straps, cinched waists and chunky biker-soled footwear as well as pieces in mysterious black, navy and charcoal.

Favorites: The charcoal dress with the crocheted collar is a perfect example of the I Pinco Pallino aesthetic: The feminine curved lines and pretty detail near the neckline are tempered by the masculine color and minimalist seams. The tough, boy-like boots are a true I Pinco Pallino touch.

The coats' simple lines and roughed-up leather fabrication, meet their match with a soft fur collar and heaven sent pearlized tones. Peeking beneath the outerwears' edges are lacy dress hems. Again, adding a little spice to all that sugar makes everything nice.

I Pinco Pallino

Tel: +39/0354255111


U.S. retailers: Tuesday's Child in Brooklyn, NY; Spring Flowers in NYC; and Heaven Children's Wear in Carmel by the Sea, CA.

U.S. sales representative: None




Homebase: Arezzo, Italy

DESIGNER: The Monnalisa design team

Sizes: 12 months-16 years; Wholesale prices: Contact manufacturer

In their words: "Monnalisa's new fall collection recalls the elegance of the 1960's and the romanticism of the European countryside…."

On the kittenwalk and in the company's booth, the garments looked ultra-feminine with a rich mix of textures, embroidery and delicate ornamentation. Narrow tops, above-the-knee skirts and leggings define the season's silhouette.

Their group of charcoal, silver, black and white pieces may be the strongest showing of this look at the show.

Favorites: Touches like the rose strewn white embroidery, velvet bows and mix of textures took the stuffiness out of the season's serious color.

The narrow layered tops in stark black and white meet their match with the silky, tulle-lined, gathered skirt.

On the flipside of all those neutrals are deep wines and roses, ruffles and playful flower-covered knickers.


+39 057598501


U.S. retailers: Saks Fifth Avenue in NYC; Diva in Brooklyn; and Bib and Tucker in Long Island, NY





Homebase: Paris, France

DESIGNER: Sieglinde de Plas

Sizes: 4 to 14 years; Wholesale prices: Contact manufacturer

In their words: "Dino e Lucia closely follows the styling of the contemporary men's and women's market, proving that you can be fashionably fabulous at any age!"

The line for girls and boys, which launched in 2004, channels the trends in understated ways. The designs focus on novelty textiles with unusual finishes such as the heavily crinkled striped or plaid cotton instead of trendy flourishes. The shapes are smaller versions of ultra chic adult wear with carefully chosen details and a shock of bright color to reflect a child's lighthearted mood.

Favorites: The jacket is straight out of the Eighties. In its scaled down size it seems fresh, not recycled. Keeping touches to a minimum on the tee and jumper make the buttons and curved hem pop.

Dino E Lucia

Tel: +33 1 42360700


U.S. retailers: Saks Fifth Avenue, NYC; Oxygen in Florida; Kenzie in Boston

U.S. sales representatives:

DDLA/Rhonda Weiner

Tel: 212-279-5665

E-mail:, outside of New York, call for other ddla showrooms at 626-744-3352





Homebase: Westcliff on Sea, Great Britain

DESIGNER: Adele Holgate

Sizes: 3 to 10 years; Wholesale prices: Contact manufacturer

Holgate's collection of sports, dress and knitwear is just a year and a half old, but already it has the cohesiveness of a long-established collection. The groups reflect the designer's fondness for velvet, soft herringbone wools and fine Jersey that she fashions into shapes with a strong fairy tale character.

Holgate works in four ranges: Cherry reds and pinks; shades of dusty aqua contrasted with rich chocolate; dusty mauve and light cocoa; and an edgy acid green and olive-tinged brown. Retailers can stock their stores with traditional pieces such as an A-line shaped red velvet Princess coat and coordinating dress, or mix things up by ordering funkier pieces such as the tweed jacket that blends classic details with modern graphic overprinting.

Favorites: With so much black and gray at the show, this ruby ensemble begged to be noticed.

The aqua group is as pretty as topazes shimmering in the snow.

All this little girl needs is a wand.


Tel: +44 0 1702712554


U.S. retailers: None yet

U.S. sales representatives: None yet


Originally published March 15, 2007


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