Pitti Bimbo: Design Du Jour - Part II




Homebase: New York, NY

DESIGNER: Marie-Chantal Crown Princess Pavlos of Greece

Sizes: NB to 12 years; Wholesale prices: Accessories: $7-$22; clothing: $22-$125

In their words: "The Marie Chantal collection reflects the philosophy that children should dress like children; the precious Liberty prints, smocked dresses and array of soft pinks and browns complement that belief.

"The Black Tie collection is for the elegant and sophisticated child who wants to arrive at those special events and holiday parties in style. It features luxurious velvet, rich silk in silver and black and HRH Princess Marie Chantal's very own original crest displayed over black cashmere."

Since 2000, when Marie-Chantal launched her namesake line, she has produced timeless items with just enough contemporary touches to keep the collection fresh. For fall, she introduced a group colored in the season's important gray. Instead of the look being overly serious, drop-waists and sashes, three-quarter sleeves and luxurious fabrics lend an upbeat, decidedly Twenties' mood to the collection.

Favorites: From the Black Tie collection. The black velvet ribbons break up the dress's formal lace and lend a snappy, urban appeal.

Knickers on boys can look a bit too Oliver Twist. Here, Chantal keeps the lines slim and the details minimal so they outfit looks chic, not precious. With a button-down shirt, knee-high socks and elegant shoes, the ensemble works for a party; swap the classics for a vintage tee and funky legwear and you've got a highly personal take on boyswear.

Tel: 212-274-1100


Overseas distributors:

Marie Chantal Ltd., in London, England

Tel: 0207-751-4131





Homebase: San Francisco, California

DESIGNER: Emily Meyer

Sizes: 6 months to 6 years; Wholesale prices: $10-$48

In their words: "Our fall/winter collection for 2007 is inspired by the traditional dress and the elaborate textiles worn by the people in South America. We've exhibited at Pitti for the last three seasons. In January 2006, the company formed a relationship with a European distributor, Principal Kids, due to an increased demand for the Tea Collection in Europe."

In the few years that this company has been manufacturing, it's grown into a staple for better boutiques and online web stores. Meyer's collection is a retailer's dream. She researches different cultures and pulls the best patterns, textures and shapes from their mode of dress. The results are richly colored, uniquely printed and knit garments that are at home in better boutiques everywhere.

Favorites: One trend for fall is menswear plaids. Meyer takes the weave and mixes it with this jewel toned teal sweater then layers the look with playful lama-patterned accessories. The plaid serves as a masculine accent that stops the outfit from becoming costume-like.

This little brightly toned capelet suits the simple top and skirt and would add sparkle to a simple tee and jeans as well.

Tel: 415-621-9400


Overseas distributor:

Principal Kids in Brussels, Belgium

Barbara Roll

Tel: +32 486 70 6885







Homebase: Stockholm, Sweden

DESIGNER: Catti Aman

Sizes: NB to 8 years; Wholesale prices: $27-$132

In their words: "I work with a neutral palette because I think children's clothes are gender defined from day one….I believe that finding high quality, simply designed clothing in neutral colors is difficult, so I wanted to fill that space in the market.

"Most of the designs this season can be used as a dress and a tunic; a lot of the pieces can be worn by either boys or girls. I use great materials like cotton, cashmere and wool that are easily combined and washable without being boring. I believe in making timeless yet contemporary pieces that allow kids to play and feel comfortable and look great at the same time."

This is the second year Aman is manufacturing the Tuss label and her first showing at Pitti. Aman's background as a curator in contemporary art and design is reflected in her minimalist creations. "The design is reduced to the essential leaving out excess decoration and loud visible labels," she says. Employing her skills as a curator, Aman hires well-known designers and artists recognized for their work in other mediums (like Anna Kleberg, a photographer in Sweden who illustrated a limited edition of T-shirts for Tuss) to contribute to her collection.

Favorites: A child would get more mileage out of the cashmere tunic-dress than 10 "look-at-me" pieces from other collections. The garment's lines are pure and the way the opening of the hood folds into the bodice is modern design at its best.

The jeans are fashioned by Stefan Soderberg, a partner in HOPE, and a designer at the company ACNE. The pants are pure line, defining the body in a flattering way, not distracting from it with lots of fussy detail.

Tel: +4686441 445


U.S. retailers: ABC Carpet and Home, Yoyamart, and Makie in New York City; Milk in California

U.S. distributor: none yet





Homebase: Parma, Italy

DESIGNER: The Jam Session design team

Sizes: two to 16 years; Wholesale prices: Contact manufacturer

In their words: "With a glorious past made up of legends and unforgettable icons, the Junior Collection transfers the concept and excellence of one of Italian style's potent symbols into the wardrobe of tomorrow's generations….The garments straightforward maintenance, which is achieved through particular technical procedures, transfers the rationality of Ferrari mechanics to everyday clothing, whereas the extreme care dedicated to each and every detail reconfirms the attention to detail typical of Ferrari."

Ferrari hired the Jam Session design team to create their first collection for children. The company fashioned a line that utilizes fine tweeds, cashmere, leather, denim and sherpa for its Ralph Lauren-ish preppy styles. A few touches like the red Pegasus logo help to shake things up.

Favorites: The luxurious boy's leather bomber and pants and the girl's trench possess a touch of Tracy-Hepburn glamour.

Jam Session

Tel: 0521 538911


U.S. retailers:




Homebase: Paris, France

DESIGNER: Judith Lacroix

Sizes: 3 months to 12 years; Wholesale prices: $15-$50

In their words: "This season I used gold everywhere. You'll see that it's done delicately with tiny details like piping and a few gold stars. I always design my fabrics, too. That's just the way I like to build a collection," says Lacroix. "I'm always at Pitti and ENK in New York. They're the most important shows for me."

Lacroix is a modernist. Her designs are clean lined and simply shaped with gorgeous textiles making a strong statement. She has a sense of humor too, evident in the little stars motifs, a shock of turquoise lining or a quirky button.

Favorites: The Jersey top in a go-with-everything geometric pairs beautifully with straight wool cuffed pants (that's the blue lining exposed).

The taupe dress is about as Sixties as you can get yet so elegantly understated.

U.S. retailers: Calypso, Barneys and Yoyamart in NYC, Belly in Denver

Tel: 33 14 28 21 250


U.S. distributor: None




Homebase: Paris, France

DESIGNER: Julie Meiler

Sizes: 2 to 10 years; Wholesale prices: $30-$230

This one-year-old collection relies on clean modernism and a neutral color palette to tell its story. The shapes are lean with a couple of simple tunics rounding out the offerings. On the flip side are pastel metallic leathers that lend a playful note to this serious collection.

Favorites: The pink metallic hat and jacket are glitzy, but like the rest of Meiler's line, the shapes stay simple. You can see what the top does for a gray blouse - and vice versa.

Tel: 01 53 34 69 98


U.S. retailers: none yet

U.S. distributors: none yet




Homebase: Lier, Belgium

DESIGNERS: Liz Cornelis and Dirk Goossens

Sizes: The designers manufacture four collections: Gold, layette sizes; Ma Muse, a girls' and boys' sportswear line, sizes 3 months to 4 years; Zorra, girls' sportswear, sizes 2 to 18 years; and Garcon for boys, sizes 2 to 18 years. Wholesale prices: $15-$64

In the retailer's words: Chike (pronounced Chee-Kay) Chukwulozie, who co-owns the boutique Estella in New York City's Greenwich Village, has carried Ma Muse's collections for several seasons. "They're really creative people who reinvent their lines each season," he says of Cornelis and Goossens. "Garcon is great for boys. They understand that Americans are careful not to dress their boys like girls. Their line isn't just more T-shirts, pants and sweaters. It's creative but not too kooky to be commercial," Chukwulozie says. "Their graphics are fun and they find ways of making floral designs - like woven motifs into fabric for girls' skirts - interesting."

I first encountered the Ma Muse collection several years ago when the designers exhibited at their first and only ENK Children's Club show. I loved their groups then and still do - maybe more so. Cornelis and Goossens work with a rich color palette of neutrals. They favor deep olive, chocolate and moody slate blue, colors that might be considered too sophisticated by some buyers. Then they shake up the look with a mix of small-scale prints, novelty knits and saturated hits of teal, purple and rose. One more thing: The textiles they source are exquisite and the workmanship impeccable.

Favorites: These great, layered pieces from the Zorra collection are a prime example of the designers color sense, the way they mix textures and the playful use of pattern and detail.

The sweaters from the Garcon line mix a hit of subtle pattern into a boy's wardrobe.

Tel: +32 3 4805528


U.S. retailers: Barneys and Estella in New York City

U.S. sales representatives: None yet




Homebase: Holland

DESIGNER: The Oilily design team

Sizes: NB to 10 years; Wholesale prices: $9-$101

In their words: "The overall atmosphere of Fall/Winter 2007 is that of Undiscovered Gardens; like the story of the Secret Garden but updated with a contemporary sense of style and charm. These glowing gardens might appear mysteriously within the thick and shadowy world of a darkened forest or defy the season as they appear before us on a chilly winter night. The collection is a reminder that color, harmony and beauty are things we can carry with us into unexpected places. Within this moody and magical atmosphere the Oilily girl's attitude is a potent blend of imagination, romance, and energetic self-expression."

Other collections may eschew vivid pattern and intense colors. Not Oilily. The Oilily collection is like a beautifully illustrated fairy tale expressed in clothing. This season's "Secret Garden" comes to life in a rich, warm color palette spiked with sky blue. Prints range from Fair Isle knits to paint-by-number scenics and lush, moody baroque florals. The mix of natural textiles and futuristic print techniques makes for a lush, multilayered, sensory experience.

Favorites: The washed denim jumper is one of the collection's simpler designs. Still, with the printed trim, embroidery and interesting discharge floral on the pleated skirt, it's got plenty going on.

There's a little girl skating on a moonlit pond, stars twinkling in an inky sky, and the smell of cedar wood burning is in the air. She's wearing this evocative hooded cape.

U.S. sales representative:

Tel: 877 213-8565


U.S. retailers: Oilily stores, Little Luna Blue in Shelbourne, VT, All the Rage Baby in New Port, CT.





Homebase: Chieti, Italy

DESIGNER: The Energie design team

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

In their words: "Energie boys exude a cosmopolitan spirit and a style which is always fashionable - never forsaking research and innovation. This season's styles are inspired by Top Gun, street rock, James Bond and 70's psychedelic."

This collection is a little bit retro and whole lot rock 'n roll. The designers work with a group of slim-lined basic separates in blue denim, black and charcoal then add sweaters and jackets in acidy mustard, lime and jade for a kick of arresting color.

Favorites: The bright yellow parka screams "I'm here," yet the slim shape and understated details suggest a quieter sensibility.

Imagine the jacket or the weighty, zippered sweater with slim black trousers and you've got two very different, very hip looks.

Tel: +39 08715891


U.S. retailers: Barneys in New York City, Fred Segal in Los Angeles



Originally published March 21, 2007


Back to Tina Barry

Back to Main Home