on the inside with tina barry

Talent Inc.: Looking for Stars at the Spring 2003 Children's Club Show

In old-time Hollywood, talent scouts staked out soda fountains in search of new starlets. One minute a perky, young gal from Arkansas with a button nose and big dreams would sip her root beer float, the next minute she was "discovered," and before she knew it she'd be staring into Gary Cooper's big brown eyes, or so the story goes.

The Online Guide to Children's Fashions did its own talent search, walking the aisles of the Children's Club show held August 4-6, 2002 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City. Emerging or "new-ish" designing stars and starlets (this was the second or third show for a few, but whose counting) beckoned to us with Spring 2003 collections that exhibited that unique sparkle; a "notice me" quality that said, "I'm here, and I'm ready for my close up."


NEW IN TOWN…Oh, Baby, Do We Have a Line For You!


DESIGNERS: Aimee Pesce and Alisa Neely

Due sorelle, means two sisters in Italian. Aimee Pesce and Alisa Neely are the sisters, and their line of plastic-coated bibs and backpacks in vintage looking prints, and cotton layette sets with stylized graphics, reflect their passion for "practical, yet creative and hip accessories and clothing for children."

Outstanding Pieces: The layette sized, cotton knit, three-piece sock hat, one-piece or t-shirt and leggings. The Mind, Body, Spirit groups feature a white, lap-shoulder t-shirt with a screen-printed, pastel yoga themed stick figure. Bent into impossible yoga positions like the downward dog or warrior, each elastic looking stick figure is colored in a soft pastel matching a sock hat and leggings. The astrological T's have three, fitting adjectives printed on the front. One says determined, patient, reliable and comes in canvas bag that asks the burning question, "What's your sign?"

Due Sorelle, tel. 617-262-8167, e-mail: info@duesorelleonline.com; www.duesorelleonline.com



DESIGNERS: Penelope Francis and Yana Syrkin

There was big time buzz around this booth! Designers Penelope Francis and Yana Syrkin--both L.A. based costume designers; Francis (at right) designed for 'Ally McBeal' and Syrkin for the modern 'Barbie' commercial campaign--share a love for dressing their dogs (they each have Chihuahuas) in stylish duds. The two joined forces and opened Fifi & Romeo, a line of luxury, hand-knit and embroidered, cashmere sweaters, blankets, rainwear and t-shirts for dogs and the babies who love them. The pieces--in delicious pastel combinations, feature hearts, stripes and a curvaceous dog bone--are irresistible to Katie Couric, Ellen DeGeneres, Cameron Diaz and Bette Midler, to name just a few celebrities panting for Fifi & Romeo designs.

If you're in L.A. check out the Fifi & Romeo store on Beverly Boulevard--stars and their pooches will be in attendance; who knows which will be better dressed?

Outstanding Pieces: Anything with that dog bone is drool-worthy.

Fifi & Romeo, 7272 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036, Tel. 323-857-7214, Fax. 323-857-7216 or e-mail: info@fifiandromeo.com; www.fifiandromeo.com



DESIGNER: Emily Wang

Designer Emily Wang's (at left), playful Lucky Wang line, features novelty materials such as acrylic tinsel-yarn. The yarn, in colors that are, well, loud, makes Wang's designs--everything from change purses to tiny, standing bedside lamps--look like Christmas tree decorations. Plain white t-shirts go funky with dragon or goldfish motifs. One t-shirt features Asian lettering that spells, "I love New York."

Outstanding Piece: The Hawaii kimono. "Hawaii means cute in Japanese," says Wang. Cute it is in a soft, cotton, wrap-and-tie shape that keeps a baby warm and cozy. Offered in ginghams, plaids and floral prints; the cutest is the Shanghai Rose print of big, Kenzo-ish cabbage roses. It's a winner!

Lucky Wang, Inc. 100 Stanton Street, NY, NY 10002, Tel. 212-353-2850, Fax. 212-260-6183 or e-mail: luckywang@earthlink.net



 DESIGNERS: Kelli and Jamie Ruderman

The Rudermans' collection of t-shirts and nursery accessories sport graphic animal and insect motifs, so simple and originally designed, that any tot would know the elephant was an elephant and the ladybug was a ladybug. The sophisticated color pairing--pale sage, gray and black; or lime, red and black for instance--keep the look clean and not too sweet.


Outstanding Pieces: All the graphics are unique. You won't find anything that resembles the Rudermans' quirky style in other collections. That's called good design in my book.

Tot Dots, 213 Orange Street, Santa Rosa, CA 95401, Tel. 707-566-8886, Fax. 707-566-8887 or e-mail: info@totdots.com


WHAT A SPORT: Sportswear Looks That Lean a Little to the Left and Way Over to the Right


 DESIGNER: Jennifer Marcellus

Jennifer Marcellus defies the less-is-more axiom. The more she adds to her hip, print-driven line, the better it gets.

For Spring 2003 Marcellus has added more simply shaped A-lines and pants designs in retro-inspired tropicals--the yellow dress printed with fruity colored hibiscus is downright delicious. Simple shapes--a smock top and slightly flared pants--allow the colors and patterns to take center stage.


Outstanding Pieces: A '50ish-style print smock top paired with coordinating striped pants in bright, sherbet tones. In another designer's hands the look would be overkill, but Marcellus pulls it off and one ups it with a matching purse.

Jen Jen, 4174 Sorrento Valley Blvd., Suite I, San Diego, CA 92121, (858) 824-1700 phone, (858) 824 -1707 fax, or e-mail: jenjenkids@juno.com; www.jamesgirone.com/jenjen



 DESIGNER: Nikki Kule

Take a quick glance at Nikki Kule's, Kule Collection, and you'll be reminded of summers in Kennebunkport, martinis and guys named Chip.

Kule's "classics with a twist" give a good-natured wink to the conservative uniform of oxford shirts, khakis and blazers. Updated traditional striped polo shirts in a brown and blue color combination or a Fair Isle sweater set over a lavender, suede fringed skirt are looks you won't find in the Ralph Lauren store.


Outstanding Piece: The Tina. A red and white striped, multi-tiered skirt that ties in a bow with a grosgrain ribbon. It's Carmen Miranda and George "W." Bush's love child.

 Kule, 645 Madison Ave, 20th Floor, NY, NY 10022, Tel. 212-813-9182, Fax. 212-371-6883, email: nikkikule@yahoo.com




DESIGNER: Nilah Petschelt

For 16 years Nilah Petschelt designed evening wear and wedding gowns. She has turned her hand to styling Christening dresses and she's a natural.

Each of her designs, sewn in luxurious raw silk, silk organza or Swiss cotton batiste, is simply shaped, but has details like a ruched hem or a duet of organza flowers on the bodice that lend a discreet charm to her designs.

Outstanding Piece: An A-line, kimono-like dress with a pale pink silk jacquard inset that runs down either side of the front. Elegant is the word.

Nilah & Company, 1104 Ormond Avenue, Drexel Hill, PA 19026, Tel. 610-853-9822, Fax. 610-565-6074 or e-mail: nilah@bigplanet.com




DESIGNER: Carina Goldfarb

Carina Goldfarb's line of "Cool, fun" swimwear is inspired by Brazilians "who are proud of their bodies," says Goldfarb. Her line of grown up-styled, mini-me-sized swimwear in fresh, bright, prints or great denim-like fabrications is body conscience without being overtly sexy. She also imports the Taygra line of athletic shoes from Brazil in bright colors that are very light and flexible and make colorful partners to her swimsuits. A perfect look for a run along the beach.


Outstanding Design: The surfer girl two-piece. The top is a Hawaiian print and the bottom mixes the Hawaii print with blue stretch denim. The suit's sexy yet a little boyish--very "Blue Crush."

Azul Swimwear, 12549 Indianapolis St., Los Angeles, CA 90066, Tel. 310-398-9042, Fax. 213-624-0208


ACCESSORIES: The Little Extras That Count


DESIGNER: Andrea Chafetz

Hair-accessory designer Andrea Chafetz' line of hair bows and headbands sized from tots to teens, reflect her three inspirations: ballet costumes, the icing on elaborate birthday cakes and gardens in full bloom.

Chafetz describes her ornaments as "clean, fresh, feminine and celebratory, yet still quiet." It's the noticeable lack of glitziness that places Chafetz' collection front row and center. She chooses better velvets, embroidered ribbons, square sequins over satin and elegant velvet flowers and colors them in combinations that are understated--think better boutique.

Look for Andrea's Beau accessories in the August 2002 issue of Earnshaw's Magazine and in the October 2002 issue of Children's Business Magazine.

Outstanding Pieces: Any little girl would feel as lovely as a Degas ballerina wearing a Chafetz designed headband festooned with iridescent French sequins or finishing her chignon with an imported velvet flower, colored in pansy-deep jewel tones.

Andrea's Beau, Suite 300, 5105 Chevy Chase Pkwy, NW, Washington, DC 20008, Tel. 202-966-7004, Fax. 202-966-7142 or e-mail: andrea@andreasbeau.com, www.andreasbeau.com



DESIGNER: Leigh Wilson

Leigh Wilson, the Leigh in Leapy Leigh (the name is an endearment of her godfather's), recently graduated from Pratt University in New York with an MFA in painting.

Her well-trained color sense is evident. Each of her simple, cuffed, fleece hats is colored in bright primaries and sports all manner of fanciful insects and animals. The coolest thing about Wilson's hats: Her insects are velcroed on and can be removed and used as a finger puppet. What child wouldn't find that AWESOME?


Outstanding Piece: Any of her hats would delight a boy or girl, but the black hat, with the happy looking red ladybugs, is a wildlife delight.

Leapy Leigh, 200 East 95th St., NY, NY 10012, Tel. 917-589-4771



















Tina Barry has been involved in many facets of the fashion world. She has traveled domestically and to Europe to research color and design trends. For many years she styled textiles for the apparel and home furnishing industries. After designing her own line of children's wear she now freelances as a children's wear buyer and private label designer. This year, Tina begins teaching a marketing course at The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.