Bubble: The Fall/Winter 2007 Exhibition - Part II




Homebase: San Francisco, CA

DESIGNER: Stephanie Scarpulla

Scarpulla won our first "Best in Show" award for the collection she launched in 2005. She continues to produce highly personal lines with a few signature details: Rows of ruffles; simple, vintage inspired textiles; and a fondness for dark, rich colors.

Favorites: Using silk and that sophisticated cherry-wine hue keeps the ruffles in check.

Tel: 415-206-1107

E-mail: info@bluebirdcollection




Homebase: Melbourne, Australia

DESIGNER: Therese Bourne

Sizes: 2 to 10 years; Wholesale prices: $13-$95

Therese Bourne won our "Best in Show" award in 2006 for her first spring collection. Like that line, her pieces for fall are simply colored in charcoal, gray, silvery blue, pumpkin, chocolate and black. The shapes are modern with soft details like wrap ties, asymmetrical hems, fluted trim and interesting, Asian inspired accents. Bourne, a former textile designer, creates her own graphics and prints, and the patterns' elegant motifs pair naturally with her understated hues. Her boys' collection is diminutive, yet equally impressive.

Favorites: There isn't a single piece in this collection that I don't covet for my own wardrobe. Here are a few stellar pieces: The "Helsinki" coat is made of soft felted wool. It wraps and fastens with two toggles at the side. This is one piece that a kid will wear forever, or until she outgrows it. The "London" coat in velvet touch cotton features a round gathered pocket that softens and lends a sculptural note to the garment. Note the curving yoke seam along the bodice of the "Origami" dress. That's the kind of detail that makes simple garments dramatic.

New York Distributor: Ginger Ancone

Tel: 212-228-9514





Homebase: Antwerp, Belgium

DESIGNER: Aurelie Dehennin

Sizes: toddler to junior; Wholesale prices: Contact manufacturer

The Essteniel Girls' collection brings me to my knees. The materials are pure luxury, the colors are off-beat yet wearable, and the way they're mixed could only be pulled off by a topnotch stylist. The detail in each item is just exceptional.

Favorites: The stunning mohair and leather coat is one of many pieces the designer worked in tones of twilight blue and silvery gray. This ensemble blends a silvery blue lace slip dress over pale charcoal leggings and tops the romantic pieces with this midnight hued wool sweater with a gentle peplum.

Tel: 32 3 201 13 80





Homebase: Bayonne, NJ

DESIGNER: Kaia Canales

Sizes: 2 to 12 years; Wholesale prices: $30-$45

In their words: "Fable and Lore are children's clothing collections which weave magic and fairy tales into the fabric of design to inspire the imagination."

Canales designed the well-known Calypso collection for four years before launching Fable and Lore.

Favorites: Mixed into her small collection of silk, jersey and wool separates, Canales has added one touch that kids will flip for. See the crocheted yoke on the blouse? It was white before I held it to the sun. The yarn is treated with a permanent, nontoxic substance that deepens in the light. Fun! In addition to that playful gimmick, the colors the designer has chosen, as well as her prints, should put this newcomer on the retail map.

Tel: 201-563-9027





Homebase: Venice, CA

DESIGNER: Tami Nguyen Rael

Sizes: 4 to 10; Wholesale prices: $20-$42

If you've got a knack like Rael does for combining prints, as well as an unbeatable color sense, you flaunt it.

Favorites: Rael layers on the graphics in this top and woven skirt. The dusty plum, wine-tinged orange and cocoa subdue the pattern mixing. The lean, body conscience shape and simple knit add up to one knockout of a dress.

Tel: 310-401 0365





Homebase: Somerville, MA

DESIGNER: Tia Cibani

Sizes: 2 to 12 years; Wholesale prices: $18-$120

Cibani started her collection with carefully coordinated knitwear in rich colors. She's expanded her line to include wovens with the same aesthetic as her knit designs: simple yet playful shapes in fashion forward hues. Add the separates to the knits and the choices for mixing and matching her garments are endless.

Favorites: Subtle texture like the tweed overcoat over the striped sweater and polished cotton pants add up to an outfit with a lot of visual depth.

Tel: 617-764-0352





Homebase: Oxfordshire, England

DESIGNER: Nancy Krzyzanowski

Sizes: 12 months to 10 years; Wholesale prices: $7-$84

In their words: "All Loopy designs are hand made throughout the United Kingdom by our team of talented knitters and seamstresses who pride themselves on their workmanship. Our philosophy is to create simple, stylish, wearable, elegant clothing while maintaining and supporting the tradition of these crafts."

If I were to draw the Loopy workroom in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, I'd have a few young women, their hair piled high and housing birds' nests filled with pale blue eggs. Some would be knitting charming, ballerina-inspired sweaters, others would be cutting up old embroidered tablecloths to fashion into whimsical childrenswear. Kittens wearing tutus would serve tea to the girls. Get the picture?

Favorites: The cotton knit wrap sweater with the pale pink satin bow and the ballerina style tulle skirt scattered with sequins: enchanting.

Tel 44 (0) 1869347726





Homebase: Paris, France

DESIGNER: Julie Meiler

Sizes: 3 months to 12 years; Wholesale prices: $23-$430

I noticed the one-year-old Louis Louise collection at the recent Pitti Bimbo show in Florence, Italy (see "Design Du Jour, Part 1") where Meiler's modern metallic leathers wowed me. This time around, it was the delicate prints and "pantaloons" with knee-patches that won me over.

Favorites: How to sweeten a decidedly adult trend? Add a Liberty print blouse in a slightly blouson shape and pale pink leggings. Sigh.

Tel: 33 1 53 34 69 98





Homebase: Paris, France

DESIGNER: Aurore de Chanaud

Sizes: sizes 2-10 years; Wholesale prices: $40-$91

This new Parisian collection features handsome, modern knits crafted from merino wool or a 50 percent cashmere/50 percent wool blend. The palette is dusty with notes of red and slate blue. The one playful note: coordinating Lurex tights that go a long way to jazzing up the works.

Favorites: This lovely knit dress for the budding minimalist.

Tel: +33 9 50 21 75 65





Homebase: Cardiff-by-the-sea, CA

DESIGNER: Teresina Jensen

Sizes: 4 to 10 years; Wholesale prices: $16-$31

In their words: "Teresina would like to thank her ex-husband for constantly pointing out her flaws, because it's the flaws that make life interesting."

That quote was taken directly from a company news release. The sentiment forms the backbone of this new company that was launched after the designer's divorce. Says Bethany Jensen, Tere's daughter, who serves as the marketing director, "M.O.M. stands for more than mom. It means 'my own money.'" Anyone with divorced parents, or has endured a divorce themselves, knows how important it is for a woman's (even in this day it's usually the woman) dignity to feel self sufficient and to make money in a way that is satisfying and self-sustaining.

For all M.O.M.s out there, You go girls! And while you're at it, try to produce a collection with as much vintage charm as Jensen's.

Favorites: Jensen works with a mix of new vintage-inspired textiles as well as the real deal. You can sense her hands on the pinafores, aprons and scarves. Her T-shirts and hoodies mix the old-fashioned mood with a touch of the Seventies.

Tel: 510-761-1406





Homebase: Brooklyn, NY

DESIGNER: Ryan Roche

Sizes: 12 months to 8 years; Wholesale prices: $40-$108

Roche does more than present an enchanting collection; she sets a stage that draws retailers into her world of fantasy and exploration.

Favorites: Slipping on this pure cashmere dress is like donning a cloud. Add the handmade metallic gold booties for a touch of bling.

Tel: 917-912-9589





Homebase: Mullumbimby, Australia

DESIGNER: Jason Giabud

Sizes: 2 to 8 years; Wholesale prices: Contact manufacturer

In their words: "This season for girls, we have mixed Edwardian shapes with distressed denim, 50's style handprints with classic striped Jersey, lush 1920's shapes and textures matched with a Degas inspired print, and of course, our collection wouldn't be complete without a Victorian bustle or two!" For boys "18th Century pirate shapes mix with 1970's western shirts, merging two of the most popular boys' themes. Add to this, boldly striped tee's and graphic prints, and you get a refreshingly different choice in fashion for boys." Amen.

Giabud has designed sets and costumes for Moulin Rouge, Star Wars and Peter Pan. With a background like that, he isn't going to approach the creation of a collection with a typical "what are the trends?" approach. Instead, Giabud pulls inspiration from "an eclectic range of historical shapes, details, textures and original prints. The prints are developed from old lithographs, vintage fabrics and old garments."

The clothing looks as if it were borrowed from the racks of an eccentric theatre costume shop and assembled at a child's fancy. Like the work of a good costumer, the pieces display exquisite craftsmanship and a strong sense of history.

Favorites: She may be patriotic in her red, white and blue finery, but this babe leans heavily to the Left.

Tel: 800-486-4282 / 612 66 802 726





Homebase: San Francisco, CA

DESIGNER: Beth Miles

Sizes: 12 months to 6 years; Wholesale prices: $19-$56

In their words: "Creating modern pieces that celebrate the innate beauty of children with quiet details and expressive fabrics are what Ses Petites Mains continually strives to accomplish."

This new collection is more traditional and ladylike than the other lines at Bubble, making it perfect for boutiques with a funky as well as classic seeking clientele. The shapes are innovative and flattering, with lots of layering options. The rich rose, deep pink and red color palette is offset by navy and denim. Swirly skirts and a ruffle here and there make the garments total kiddy catnip.

Favorites: I love the way the short "Dandio" jacket ties in the back, and the way the "Suzy" boatneck's stripes blend with the "Astrid" pant's plaid. If that's too much pattern, Miles offers plenty of rich solids.

Tel: 415-533-1695





Homebase: New York, NY

DESIGNER: Katherine Edmonds

Sizes: 12 months to 8 years; Wholesale prices: $30-$94

In their words: "I'm making modern dress up clothes. They're children's costumes inspired by hand techniques. They have a human quality and a story. Each item is inspired by theatre and costume."

Imagine an old trunk filled with clothing. Children open it and pull out once glamorous rumpled dresses, their corsages flattened and still clinging to the collar; the kind of swimsuits that were once referred to as "bathing costumes"; and all sorts of wilted hats and scarves that children could lose themselves in for hours. That's the imagery this highly personal, evocative collection elicits.

Favorites: Poignant is how I'd describe the tutus and the bathing suit with capelet. That's one word I've never used in show review.

Tel: 212-594-5750



Originally published April 5, 2007


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