Fall Forward: Trends at the ENK Children's Club January 2007 Show 

What's red, white and black all over? Early Fall 2007 at the ENK Children's Club Show (January 7-9, 2007). Let me explain.

While the exhibition was a catchall of everything from swimwear to outerwear, some trends for Fall 2007 emerged loud and clear. And I mean "loud" literally. Red is, well, red hot. So is bright, rosy fuchsia. What makes the tones look new is their pairing with black. Yes, for the first time in a long, long time, black is big in children's wear. Some may ask, why now? There are several reasons. The first is the evolution of the children's wear market. It's taken awhile for us to catch up to the Europeans, but now our collections are every bit as carefully conceived and merchandised, just as well made, and often employ the same fine textiles as our friends across the pond. Now that we're the peers of European manufacturers, not Euro-wannabes, why not turn to black, the chicest, most European, fashion forward color out there.

The other explanations are more practical. Black has become a staple in adult wardrobes. We see it as a practical neutral without the former somber, funereal associations. If we can look at the tone without the emotional baggage, it's just one more color that happens to look fresh right now in children's wear.

The Charabia collection works three important trends: red, white and charcoal, Fair Isle knits and menswear plaids.




Rock on. Tie-dying, glitter, appliquéd and distressed denim: One walk through the exhibition and booth after booth, vendors are still working this look.

Twenties redux. Delicate blouson shaping, drop waists and three-quarter sleeves make subtle references to the Twenties.

Adrienne Catrina of Neige makes Twenties' styling look modern.


Not too folksy folkloric. Heavy Russian themed peasant styling has given way to cleaner shapes and embroidery that is stitched with a finer, not as handcrafted, feeling.

Classic with bling. Fair Isle style knit patterns were present in boys' and girls' collections and even in a few outerwear lines. Designers update the traditional stitchery with a scattering of sequins, or mix the knit with denim, tweeds and a jumble of patterns.



Grunge chic. Lightweight jackets with contrasting topstitching and deconstructed seams dress up any outfit without looking too styled.

Grunge chic: the knit story. Lots of cardigans and zippers that can be pulled from the top or bottom. Raw-edged letter appliqués are a tongue-in-cheek spin on sports motifs. The knits dress down tweed pants and give a lift to denim.

Yellow-greens and acid tinged browns and a hip, appliquéd sweater from Sachin Batra of Le Fromage et L'orange.




A season of contradictions. While colors may be brighter and richer than ever before, traditional A-lines, above the knee skirts and dirndls, slouchy boys' jackets and narrow pants form the backbone of many collections.

Tried and new. A gentle gather around the neckline is one detail that appeared in collections across the board. It was most often paired with three-quarter sleeves for a subtle take on the Twenties. A delicate gather or puckered effect looks especially elegant when the garment is Jersey, modal or silk charmeuse.

Silk charmeuse and elegant neutrals at the Marie Chantal booth.


Knee-baring. The simple dirndl or A-line falling into gentle folds is the most popular skirt shape. There are still tiered items being shown, but in fewer numbers than in previous seasons.

Walking the straight and narrow. Boys' looks are leaner than in the past with fewer pockets. Still, there are plenty of details such as padded knees, zippers that turn long pants into shorts, and reversible items.



Flower focus. See the photo of the flowers below? The bouquet was on the table in the lunch area during the show. I doubt that the florist took their color cues from the exhibitors, but intentional or not, that rich rose bloom is one of the season's hottest colors.

Not to belabor the point, but the gorgeous amaryllis on my dining room table embodies the big, bold reds and pimentos that are important solids as well as partners to black and white.

Rosy blooms, and nature at its best.


Black is beautiful. In accessories, in knits, and in every price range, black is "it"! The color was employed with red and white as a crisp follow-up to spring's nautical styling; as the backdrop to brights; or, in combination with other neutrals such as charcoal or greenish taupe. Dressier lines combined sheer black netting over skin-toned slips for a sexy, vintage look.

Black with brights from Sonia Rykiel.


Black at its sophisticated best seen at the Cherise booth.


Where there's smoke. Gray in darkest charcoal, to taupe with a brown or green cast, updates knit lines and looks fresh in boys' collections paired with yellows/greens. For a sweeter look, designers paired charcoal with deep rose, orchid or raspberry.

Coco light. Brown is still around. Warm reddish tones of the color look great with brights, and greener browns to mossy taupes look comfortable beside yellow greens.

Merlot. It wasn't a hit in "Sideways," the movie for the wine-obsessed, but designers like it just fine. The color isn't as plumy as it's been in seasons past - although there's still plenty of that fruity tone on the market. Think of a glass of the wine held to the light so that its clean red notes emerge. That's the cast.

Hybrid peach. In a few collections, I noticed peach with a lilac cast. It's a gorgeous hue, like the color of a baby's cheek. Naturally, the tone looks best partnered with lilacs that lean more toward pink than violet.

3 Pommes fruity flavors.


Brighter. With brown, soft blue looks elegant. With black and charcoal, bright sky blue and teal deliver the most impact.

Lime-aid. Limey, brownish-yellow chartreuse is making a comeback. It's met its match with black.

Not your mother's yellow. To go with all the citrusy greens and to lend an unexpected note to reds and oranges, designers turned to yellow with a slightly greenish cast.



-Velveteen and silk velvet

-Baby corduroy

-Silk charmeuse



-Lightweight cotton with a dry, soft hand

-Netting and tulle. It's still peeking out from beneath skirts but the newest way to use the textile is as a layered or ruffled detail on tops.

Old world materials get a contemporary twist at Kicokids.


-Lightweight brocades in either bright or neutral tones look festive in special occasion collections and retro when paired with tweeds and denim in sportswear lines.

-Wools in suiting and separates.



Heads up. Skulls have caught the imagination of designers who often combine the motif with tattoo patterns.

Skulls are the rage at newcomer Grail's booth.


Tie-dyes. Yes, they're still popular. Manufacturers are using the colorful prints as a backdrop for logos, glittery shapes and skull motifs.

Circles galore. Simple polka dots appear on skirts, dresses, and as a playful way to incorporate texture.

Just folks. Folkloric borders edge dirndl skirts and are sometimes combined with Fair Isle knits.

Le Fromage et L'orange's red hot chartreuse tee with folkloric dirndl.


It's a man's world. Menswear plaids used for girls' dresses and pants, lend an interesting androgyny to the pieces.

In distress. Unfinished edges on sleeves, along hems and bordering ruffles keep items from looking overly "finished."

All's fair this fall. Fair Isle sweaters, sometimes sprinkled with sequins or beading, are popular in boys' and girls' collections at all price points.

Undercover. Flower shapes, little figures or animals are employed in designing offbeat camouflage patterns.

Diamonds are forever. Quilted patterns add warmth and textural interest to outerwear.



-Faux fur and pile trim

-Silk charmeuse used along hems


-Silk bows



Originally published January 18, 2007


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