on the inside with tina barry

Come Here Often?

How to describe the vendors who exhibited at the October ENK Children's Club show held in the Jacob Javits Center on October 20-22: Touched by romance, sophisticated, naïve, modern, vintage, understated, and embellished. Regardless of the designers' aesthetic, all the collections shared one thing: fine craftsmanship, even in this economy when the temptation to cut corners must be great.

We salute the designers below whose collections continue to raise the bar.



Designer: Robbie Salton

This is the line for moms who aren't afraid to express their sentimental side. Each old-fashioned infant gown, one-piece, hat and bootie is soft to the touch and trimmed with delicate lace, ribbon and rosettes.

Outstanding Pieces: The Kyra. Knit from the softest lavender cotton the tiny swing top is adorned with embroidered ribbon, ivory scalloped lace at the hem and sleeves and ivory covered buttons. A matching bonnet and elegant, tiny booties, detailed with coordinating lavender ribbon and tiny button closures on the side, complete the picture perfect ensemble.


Baby Beau & Belle, 4608 Neel Court, Gig Harbor, Washington 98335; Tel. 253-851-6947; e-mail: contact@babybeauandbelle.com, www.babybeauandbelle.com



Designer: Kerren Barbas

You gotta have a gimmick and Baby Produce's gimmick is all in the packaging. Designer Kerren Barbas, a former graphic artist, not only designs the adorable fruit and insect patches that adorn her t-shirts, she created the company's baby-in-a-cabbage-patch logo and fruit stand inspired booth displays.

Outstanding Piece: Folded into a net bag and tied with a bow are Barbas' “Little Seedlings,” a t-shirt printed with a whimsical vegetable or, for girls, a pink polka dot kitten, a yellow and lilac butterfly or a lime striped mouse. Baby boy motifs include polka dot puppies and giraffes and a friendly red crab.

Baby Produce, 125 Main Street, Suite 1A, Charlestown, MA 02129; Tel. 617-242-9838; e-mail: keri@babyproduce.com, www.babyproduce.com, www.jamesgirone.com/babyproduce



Designer: Celeste Bayer

Laurenceleste's collection exhibits an earthy practicality with a touch of whimsy. Touches like crocheted flowers, nubby woven textiles and soft dusty pastels give this line its understated charm.

Outstanding Piece: Everything about this dress - the patchworked bodice with the cocoa and dusty pastel squares, the dress' soft, brushed cotton fabric and its cream-colored skirt - makes a quiet impact.

Laurenceleste, 1800 West Larchmont, Chicago Il 60613; Tel. 773-281-1960; e-mail: laurenceleste@earthlink.net; www.laurenceleste.com



Designer: Nicki McFarlane

The Tabitha Welsh collection is known for its beautiful dresses and intricately detailed girls' dress suits. For spring designer Nicki McFarlane has added baby bags to her collection. Popular in England, the baby bags button over the infant's shoulders and keep their tummies and legs covered and comfortable - very practical for the cold winter months.

Outstanding Piece: The red Liberty print bag with red piping. All the bag's details - its crisp red and white coloring and pretty print - keep baby warm and smartly attired.

Tabitha Welsh, 4 Ashcombe Street, London, SW6 3AN, England; Tel/Fax 442-077-318-495; e-mail: nicki@tabithawelsh.freeserve.co.uk; www.jamesgirone.com/tabithawelsh


GETTING DRESSED: Smocked dresses and more


Designers: Elisa Diana and Michelle Ferguson

Walk by the Gabby Girls' booth and you notice how fresh their smocked dresses appear. Whether it's brightly colored smocking against a clean white ground or gingham checks lavishly embroidered-over with flamingos; this collection has undeniable charm.

Outstanding Piece: The pink gingham dress with pink penguins on the bodice. It's pink and it has penguins; need I say more?


Gabby Girls, 6 Cranbroke Court, St. Peters, MI 63376; Tel, 636-978-4779; e-mail: deademas@cs.com; www.thegabriellacompany.com; www.jamesgirone.com/gabbygirls



Designer: Leslie Ann Rode

“Everything coordinates,” says designer Leslie Ann Rode of her Nana's Darlings collection. “Geared to grandma's” (the company is named for Rode's daughter's two grandmothers) the collection of beautifully made, fully lined dresses with three dimensional smocking, includes matching bows, and infant wear coordinates to booties and blankets.

Outstanding Pieces: The sky blue and lime sleeveless dress is perfect for casual and formal occasions and the garnet colored silk is simply a knock out.

Nana's Darlings, 108 Albany Street, Deer Park, NY 11729; Tel/Fax 631-243-2722; e-mail: ndarlings@aol.com; www.jamesgirone.com/nanasdarlings



Designer: Cherie Martin

Every season, Cherie Martin of Peaches 'n Cream produces adorable dresswear. For spring, Martin works in an elegant pastel palette with her trademark appliquéd embellishments.

Outstanding Piece: Over an icy, periwinkle blue dress is a short, one-button cardigan adorned with soft cream and green flowers. The dress' full skirt and the cardigan's easy elegance add up to a charming ensemble for a little girl.


Peaches 'n Cream at Janis Millstein Sales. 112 West 34th Street, suite 711, NYC, NY 10120; Tel. 212-239-4660; e-mail: janisales@aol.com.



Designer: Susan Flynn Barksdale

Susan Flynn Barksdale's silk, special occasion dresses are so soft they appear to float. Lift one off the rack and you'll hear that whoosh-whoosh rustling sound that all exquisitely tailored dresses make. Each of her graceful dresses is an heirloom in the making.

Outstanding Piece: The gem of a white silk ballerina-length dress belongs in Tiffany's window.

Susan Flynn Barksdale, 180 Grove Street, Stratford, CT 06615; Tel. 508-337-2983; e-mail: mkf@sfbdesigns.com; www.sfbdesigns.com




Designer: Joy Demchick-Attias

Joy-Ful-Lee knits are known for their classic good lucks and impeccable workmanship. This season designer Joy Demchick-Attias added soft reds and brighter tones to her serene pastels and neutrals. Gingham ribbons, pearl buttons and silver, animal-shaped buttons are just a few of the touches that make this line irresistible to celebrities. Cheryl Tiegs choose Joy-Ful-Lee knitwear to keep her own babies snugly.

Outstanding Pieces: The heathered red three-piece set. There's something very Little Rascals about the cloche-style hat and the empire waist cardigan with the gingham bow.

Joy-Ful-Lee, 451 West Waverly Road, Glenside, PA 19038; Tel. 215-887-8478; e-mail: joyfulee@voicenet.com; www.jamesgirone.com/joyfullee



Designers: Christina Tomas Capps and Danielle Kanter

For nine years the Zackali design team has been knitting sweaters, leggings and tops in candy shop colors. Chubby ladybugs and wobbly airplanes are two of the whimsical designs that children (and buyers') love.

Outstanding Pieces: A tunic in shades of pink, red and brown with a playful ladybug, and pants with coordinating colored stripes. The pant's grass green, ruffled hem gives the set a just sprouted look.

Zackali-4-Kids, Central American Imports, 1003 East Avenue North, Sarasota, FL. 34237. Tel. 941-316-0440; e-mail: caiheatwav@aol.com, www.zackali4kids.com




Designer: Lynette Hershler

Hand painted looks come and go, but Balu's loose, carefree brushwork, great colors and hip silhouettes look especially fresh this spring. Hershler has added the Balu in a bag to her line. A two-piece set with either a t-shirt and tie-dyed pants or a tank and pants make a great gift set. 

Outstanding Pieces: The sky blue tunic with the brushy white clouds and lilac flowers looks as fresh as a garden after a summer shower.


Balu, 15400 Milldale Drive, LA, Ca 90077; Tel. 310-472-0442; e-mail: helobalu@aol.com; www.baluusa.com



Designers: The Beetlejuice Design Team

This is a collection for the extroverted child: think hot colors, lots of embroidery and embellishments, and plenty of pieces to mix and match.

Outstanding Pieces: Perfect for a late summer party on the beach. The Hot Brights group mixes the colors of a Pina Colada - pink, orange and banana - to delicious effect.

Beetlejuice, 498 Seventh Ave., NYC, NY 10018; Tel. 212-594-1125; e-mail: info@beetlejuiceuk.com, www.jamesgirone.com/beetlejuice



Designer: Jane Albin

Designer Jane Albin is known for her classic, simple dresses and outerwear for Katie & Co., and her infant one-pieces and simply tailored suits and coats for the boys' division, Gordon & Co. For spring Albin has added pastel dresses and a couple of playful prints.

Outstanding Piece: The tone-on-tone, blue floral sundress with matching bloomers. The look is still classic with just a touch more punch.


Katie & Co., 326 Market Street, Lewisburg, PA; Tel. 570-523-0788; e-mail: info@katieco.com; www.jamesgirone.com/katieco



Designer: Nicole Gonzalez

Gonzalez, known for neutral-colored understated knitwear expressed her inner child this season with vividly colored, pop art prints.

Outstanding Pieces: The two-piece tropical print top and pant set. Very South Beach.

Milk & Honey, 16111 Bolsa Chica Road, Suite B, Huntington Beach, CA 92649; Tel/Fax: 714-377-9089.



Designer: Sophie Desourdy

What's in a name? When it's Romeo & Juliette you know you'll find love at first sight. I did when I spotted the fearless color combinations, sophisticated tailoring and understated detail.

Outstanding Pieces: The tee with its ikat-like horizontal striping, the great teal and pistachio color combination and the little details like teal-colored Velcro used to tighten the pants at the ankles. This set for boys has it all.


Romeo & Juliette, 371 Deslauriers, Montreal, Quebec H4N 1W2 Canada; Tel. 514-331-4000 ext. 27; e-mail: info@romeojuliette.com, www.romeojuliette.com



Designer: Linda Clark

Soleil Couture features mini-me styled couture sportswear with a European sensibility.

Outstanding Piece: The aqua and brown striped dress with the funky leather medallion accessorizing the zipper. Chic and fun!


Soleil Couture, 1407 Broadway, Suite 514, NYC, NY 10018; Tel. 212-354-1077; www.jamesgirone.com/soleil



Western themes, rhinestones, lace and flowers: Whirl mixes all the hottest trends and exhibited the funkiest t-shirts this season.

Outstanding Pieces: The t-shirt with the sexy cowgirl on the front and the printed denim patches on the back leads the herd.


Whirl, 9324 NW 102nd St.,, Miami, Fl., 305.887.2868; www.jamesgirone.com/whirl


ETC.: Accessories


Designer: Daisy Lim

Colored in tones of white chocolate and pale strawberry; each of designer Daisy Kim's dresses and sweaters look like luscious little petit fours.

Outstanding Pieces: Forget buntings. Wrap your baby in a 100 percent cashmere pashmina edged in silk. Sizes: 12" x 40", 20" x 40" and 20" x 60".

CeCeCo, 1 Bethany Road and Highway 35, Building 4, Suite 56, Hazlet NJ 07730; Tel. 732-888-9988; e-mail: info@cececo.com, www.cececo.com 


















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.