Bubble: The Fall/Winter 2007 Exhibition - Part I

The Fall/Winter 2007 Bubble - The Kids Trade Show, held in a loft-like space in Chelsea (March 11-13, 2007), proved to be a launching spot for many cutting-edge collections (marked with an asterik below).

Bubble attracts designers producing highly personal, trends-be-damned collections. So beside one manufacturer working in an all-neutral palette, is another who can't pack enough color or pattern into their wares. Walking the show makes for a compelling, hard-to-categorize experience.





Homebase: Longmont, CO

DESIGNERS: Edie Ure and Ulla Johnson

Sizes: 3 months to 4 years; Wholesale prices: $17-$51.50

Ure and Johnson work with a palette of cream, dusty pink, pale cocoa and this season's newest shade: gray. In keeping with the elegant, understated hues, their designs reflect a quiet, old-fashioned aesthetic. Little touches like a crocheted trim, or a ruffle, lighten the works.

Favorites: Before Polar Fleece, before Thinsulate, before synthetics were even a glint in the eye of textile technicians, grandmas knit tiny, head-hugging hats and coordinating outfits like these.

Tel: 917-400-6078





Homebase: Venice, CA

DESIGNER: The Devi Baby Design Team

Sizes: 6 months to 6 years; Wholesale prices: $15-$52

The designers reference the exotic prints and embroideries of India to detail their colorful collection.

Favorites: There's a lot of color and pattern working in this outfit, but like all of Devi Baby's garments, they don't look "ungehpotchkeyed." (For the non-Yiddish speaking among you, the word means "over done.")

Tel: 310-823-9504





Homebase: Lier-Antwerp, Belgium

DESIGNERS: Liz Cornelis and Dirk Goossens

Sizes: NB to 18 months; Wholesale prices: $25-$30

This is a new collection for the team who also produce the Garcon, Zorra and Ma Muse lines.

For Gold, Cornelis and Goossens take their already sophisticated childrenswear and reduce it to miniature proportions. Like their other groups, Gold features dark tones with a few bright notes to enliven the works, and, befitting a fine line, the textiles are luxurious.

Favorites: The designers always add little details like the buttons along the shoulder that lend a playful note to their creations. The blend of soft and rich tones as well as layered textures is this company's trademark.

Tel: 32 3 480 55 28





Homebase: New York, NY

DESIGNERS: Teresa Ok and Meg Hoberman

Sizes: Apparel: 3 months to 10 years; shoes: 6.5 to 1; Wholesale prices: Apparel: $21 to $41; shoes: $36 and $38

Demure? No way. The Kit + Lili collection does a cartwheel right into the season. The colors are vivid, the patterns will make retailers pine for their 70's roots and the graphics show a respect for the earth and its inhabitants. The designers create many of their own patterns, hand screen the designs, tie-dye leggings - you name it. They've added shoes, too.

Favorites: Trees, owls, big and small polka dots: you want pattern, here it is.

Tel: 646-415-8635





Homebase: New York, NY

DESIGNER: Emily Wang

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

Any child graced with a garment from this collection is lucky indeed. Wang's graphics are playful, the shapes easy to move in, the entire mood of the collection: joyful.

Favorites: The tee with the bold dragon print enlivens any casual outfit. The shirtdress gets a twist with the feminine ruffle along the neckline and the great kimono print.

Tel: 212-229-2900





Homebase: Antwerp, Belgium

DESIGNERS: Vicky Vinck and Evelyne de Brock

Sizes: 6 months to 12 years; Wholesale prices: Average price - $35

Maan has been in business for seven years; Bubble is their first U.S. show. The designers are fabulous colorists. They're fearless in the way they combine tones, prints and textures, yet their outfits look elegant not fussy. The prints - many with a vintage influence - are created by the designers and are exclusive to their collection.

Favorites: Light cool tones brighten the chocolate blouse and rich plaid coat. Electric blue, like the mittens, is the accent that brightens the line. A trench is more than a trench when it's paired with a vintage table cloth print skirt in lush tones of beige, pumpkin and leaf green; what that zip of lettuce green knit scarf adds to the look is undeniable.

Tel: 32 3 227 45 06





Homebase: Madrid, Spain

DESIGNER: Carolina Stephan

Sizes: NB to 12 years; Wholesale prices: $15-$100

MellyMello produces the kind of garments that curators collect. The items are strikingly beautiful in a grown up way with elegant textiles, a subtle neutral spiked with mauve and sky palette and classic shapes. A few floral printed pieces and feminine details lighten the mood.

Favorites: The crinkled, delicate floral coat is so lovely it deserves a moment of quiet contemplation. The ladylike dusty mauve top and floral-at-twilight chiffon skirt are sigh inducing.

Tel: 34 91 319 9330





Homebase: Oakland, CA

DESIGNERS: Ellen and Mimi Leinbach

Sizes: 6 months to 24 months; Wholesale prices: $12.50-$16

In their words: "At Scout, we collect traditional symbols from global cultures and bring them to you in modern clothes for your little explorer. We use only the finest, softest cotton: 100 percent organic Pima."

There are no hushed neutral tones or edgy graphics in this new collection. Instead, the Leinbach's choose a palette of black, rich red, bright lime and sky for their diminutive collection of tees, onesies and "explorer" pants. Each tee is hand-embroidered and appliquéd with a symbol that resembles water, clouds and birds.

Favorites: Organic cotton, happy-making colors; what's not to like?

Tel: 510-655-7062





Homebase: Milan, Italy

DESIGNER: Monica Spezia

Sizes: NB to 8 years; Wholesale prices: $40 average price

Spezia has a shop in Milan where she sells only "precious natural fibers" such as cashmere, wool, silk, linen and organic cotton pieces. This year she's hand dying and stenciling some of the designs with all natural dyes and paints.

Whenever I see Spezia's collection, I think, 'land, sea and sky.' The colors she employs could be lifted from the natural elements near a forest stream.

Favorites: The little striped dress looks like something Spezia scribbled in a notebook and knitted up that night. Like anything that appears effortless though, it took years of color study and a knack for design to pull it off.

Tel: 39 2 42 29 77 66





Homebase: Northcote, Australia

DESIGNER: Jennie Moon

Sizes: NB to toddlers; Wholesale prices: $14.50-$39.50

This new company takes playwear seriously. Their groups for girls and boys feature lots of tees with fun, bright graphics, lean separates and colors that range from edgy neutrals to candy store brights.

Favorites: Skulls are hot right now. Why not cash into the trend with this playfully colored take on the eerie motif?

U.S. distributor:

Ginger Ancone

Tel: 212-228-9514





Homebase: New York, NY

DESIGNER: Stacey Fraser

Sizes: 12 to 24 months; Wholesale prices: $14-$60

In their words: "The collection is vintage inspired, clean, classic and lovely."

Fraser's description is apt. She chooses the classic cardigan as the collection's key piece, and pairs it with loosely shaped dresses in richly colored prints. The look is a little then and a little bit now and totally charming.

Favorites: The cocoa, teal and white print is undeniably adult, but the teal edged cardigan gives the look a touch of childish innocence.

Tel: 917-903-0048




*148 BINGO

Homebase: Antwerp, Belgium

DESIGNER: Monique Vugs

Sizes: 6 months to 16 years; Wholesale prices: $20-$87

Retailers who like their merchandise edgy and their colors rich, will say "Bingo" when they see this great newcomer's collection. The line mixes classically shaped garments with trendier cuts, and layers modish prints atop fun graphics. One more perk: gorgeous knits in eye-popping colors. What more do you need?

Favorites: Pin stripes, tees and racer shorts for the boys and a swell jumper with a vibrant turtleneck and chic scarf for their sisters. They even knit up funky hats to tie it all together.

Tel: 32 3 236 0697





Homebase: Victoria, Australia

DESIGNER: Simon Waters

Sizes: NB to 6 years; Wholesale prices: $14.50-$125

American buyers may not be familiar with the Mill & Mia collection, but the company is well-known in other countries, as well as in Melbourne, Australia where their lifestyle store is based. Waters works with one warm color group - this season it's a rich rose paired with red - and a group of cooler tones that include celery and bright sky blue. He favors clean, vibrant tones and spare, modern shapes.

Favorites: No need to layer it on with this fresh little dress. The subtle Asian inspiration, the clean colors and the way the velvet ribbons add such drama, pack in plenty of style. Add tights and shoes and the outfit is complete.

Tel: 61 3 9510 5275



Originally published April 5, 2007


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