Fantasy Life: Fall '07/Winter '08 Collections at Pitti Bimbo

The displays at Pitti Bimbo, the upmarket children's trade show held in Florence, Italy (January 19-21, 2007), were all about fantasy. Some fantasies, like the vision presented at I Pinco Pallino was mysterious in a dark, dreamlike way. Others, such as the Roberto Cavalli installation, conveyed lighthearted hope. At Cavalli's showroom, setting designers crafted huge white storks that hovered near the ceiling holding swings laden with the company's mostly white, glitter strewn infant collection.

Moody and chic at I Pinco Pallino.

Designers of the larger collections aimed to express the yin and yang of feminine with masculine; high-tech and earthy; and military styles spiked with lace.

On the flip side, were American style boys' collections. It seems that boys' clothing for fall, is all about classic hoodies, sweaters and jeans. Or, an interpretation of motorcycle wear that is all sleek lines and heavy on black.

Many of the photos below are hot off the Pitti Bimbo kittenwalks.





The Snow Princess. She's silver and white, sometimes showered with glitter and studded with diamond-shaped crystals. The snow princess is ethereal and romantic. A multi-faceted jewel that sparkles in the light.

Tinkerbell's got attitude at Miss Blumarine.

Silver-belle at Miss Grant.

The Poet/Punk. Imagine a princess who drank too much champagne and decided to wear her finery for a day or two. When the sun shines she favors natural colored tweeds and soft, multi-textured knits. At night she roughs things up by mixing in lace, crinkled cottons and menswear plaids. To top it off, she'll throw on a velvet coat with military inspired buttons.

Gatsby Girl. She's a vision in beaded or appliquéd dresses colored in beigey pink, gray or cream. But there's no costume dressing for this young lady. Instead, the contemporary miss layers a dress over an embossed tee and stays warm with lace leggings and rough and tumble metallic boots.

The silk-velvet dress from Collette Dinnigan is pure charm.

Yes deer. Florals were used sparingly, but when they appeared they were lush and dense, or richly toned Liberty prints. What should frolic among those blooms? Deer. The tender, doe-eyed animals touched a cord with designers this season.

Miss Mondrian. She likes layers of neutral clothing in black, charcoal and silver. When she wants to shake things up, she'll throw on a rich teal skirt or maybe a vivid leaf or lilac colored sweater.




Mr. Prep: Ordinary crewneck sweaters and jeans don't cut it. Mr. Prep wants his knits frayed at the edges and he prefers cashmere, thank you. Hoodies will work, but they must be appliquéd with a weathered motif. When he dresses up, he keeps his jeans on and tops them with a velvet jacket in this season's oceanic navy.

Brums' boyswear.

I Pinco Pallino's formal with an edge.

Schoolboy runs amok: This dude is too busy studying or jamming with his band to bother matching plaids. He likes his patterns in different scales and preferably crinkled. If the weather gets nippy, he'll layer on a brightly colored vest and hoodie.

Pile it on the layers at Mini A Ture.

Dude. Where's my bike? You'll find him atop his Vespa dressed in head to toe black. He's Mr. Prep's bad boy brother.





Round and round. Dresses and skirts are as important as they were in previous seasons. The shape most often seen is a narrow top - a T-shirt, a close fitting wrapped sweater, or a slim, three-quarter sleeved jacket over a shirt or tee. The skirt or dress's bottom curves into a rounded shape. Often the skirts are lined with an underlay of tulle that peeks from beneath the hem.

Miss Blumarine wraps it up.

Dirndls - Tiered skirts are waning. The dirndl, skating skirt or A-line is big.

Details: Some skirts and dresses are embroidered; some have a border of beaded appliqués. When a rough-textured skirt in a nubby wool or crinkled denim ends with beaded details, the garment has an air that's both casual and theatrical.

Mini to mid-thigh skirts with a deep yoke and tulle petticoat are shown in denim or tweed.

Old fashioned girl. The shapes of the 1920s and 1930s appeal to manufacturers.

Details: Look for dropped waists sometimes sashed with a bow, flapper like shapes with sheer overlays of fabric, and pleated skirts. The dresses are manufactured in silk, satin, silk-velvet and chiffon or lightweight knit or cotton.

Just tops. One shirt shape appeared on several runways and in many collections. The top takes its cue from men's tuxedo shirts with a thick edge of ruffles running along the buttoned front. Sleeves are long, deeply cuffed and edged in ruffles as is the high collar. The design is very Yves Saint Laurent's "Le Smoking" in the 1970s.

Ruffles are right at Miss Grant.

Details: When designers employ crisp cotton, the boyish shirt lends an interesting ambiguity when paired with a feminine skirt. Crinkled cotton, takes the edge off the formal design.

Swoon-worthy coats. I'm not exaggerating when I say "swoon-worthy." Everything from their unusual cuts to the mix of technically advanced, man-made textiles and natural cloth add up to gorgeous creations.

Swoon-worthy tweed coat from Collette Dinnigan.

Details: Tulip curved hems, a belt tab in back that hits just below the shoulder bones. Coats with a double-breasted military feeling were feminized with cosmetic colors and buttery velvet or velveteen.

Armed for charm from Jottum.

To the point. Fine cashmere sweaters that wrapped at the waist or buttoned at the side. Lacy knits as sheer and fine as a spider web hung beside big, chunky knit wrap sweaters and sometimes ponchos.

Slim wrapped sweater and menswear plaid mini at Woolrich Kids.

Jodhpurs ride again. The shape is much slimmer than traditional jodhpurs - there's no big curve to the thigh - but the seams and the buttoned cuff are certainly equestrian. Other short-length pants are lean and end just above or just below the knee.

Gas Junior buttons up.

Skinny! She's got legs and she flaunts her assets in tight, straight-legged jeans.

It's all about the legs at Pinko.

Gorgeous gams. Leggings are the "must-have" layer in place of tights or sometimes atop tights, under skirts and beneath dresses.




Play time. Boys will wear rugged parkas in traditional colors as well as vivid orange. Pea coats too, in classic navy or black, top sportswear.

Citrus in the snow at Woolrich Kids.

Rev it up. Narrow jackets with tab colors worn with sleek jeans are a fresh alternative to the preppy schoolboy.

Mr. Lean Jeans. Skinny legs or looser but still narrow jeans and cords are popular. They're most often worn with hoodies, zippered sweaters and parkas.




-Heavy cotton, wools and sometimes denim with a puckered, crinkled effect.

-Wovens, denim or knits shot through with glittery silver or copper threads

-Dark or black denim with pinstripes in boys' collections

Gas Junior's casual pinstripes.

-Airy, lacy cashmere or double-weight cashmere for sweaters; heavy cashmere blended with wool for coats and jackets

-Velvet, crushed velvet, velveteen and velour


-Silk charmeuse

-Silk chiffon

-Real fur, faux fur or woolen fur that resemble shag carpeting

Shag-a-delic! At Monnalisa.

-Real or faux leather in either pastel or metallic colors with a pearlized finish. Sometimes the surfaces are distressed, too.

I Pinco Pallino distressed, pearlized leather.

-Metallic nylon for outwear




Silver lining. Silvery-gray balances black and charcoal. The cool tone is paired with white for a clean, glamorous look in girls' and boys' collections. Designers often use silver Lurex threads to give a shimmer to wools and knits.

Brums puts activewear in neutral.

In neutral. Something you rarely see in domestic collections is entire lines based on neutrals, specifically charcoal, black and white. But at Pitti, designers exhibited collections on just those colors. They mix tones of the hues together - say black, silver and charcoal - or pair black and white for crispness.

Gray and:

-Silver, black and white

-Lilac or orchid

-Silvery blue

-Red, black and white

-Pink and mauve

-Leaf green

-In activewear: Gray with black, mustard and bright or dark red

Cocoa with cream. Dark cocoas are seen in boys' activewear and in some girls' sportswear collections. A newer way to wear the color is mid-tone with a pinky cast, or that weight with a taupe cast.

Cocoa and…

-Rosy pink and reds

Cocoa looks rosy at Dimensione Danza.


-Dark leaf green and rich orange



Join the navy. The color is shown very dark and tinged with green. The hue appears in all categories and for girls and boys. To take the formality out of the color, designers often sprinkle a garment with rhinestones or, for boys, use the tone as a backdrop for deconstructed appliqués.

Navy and…

-Deep teal or jade, sometimes paired with mustard

-Silvery blues

-Slate and pink

In activewear:

-Deep red or bright tomato

-Vivid orange

Jeckerson gives navy zest with a shot of orange.

Lilacs in bloom. A saturated tone of pinkish lilac broke through as the freshest color this season. The warm hue looks dynamic paired with charcoal. For infant to toddler wear, the color grayed down significantly and is often paired with white or bone.

Lilac and…

-Charcoal, black or silver

-Leaf or olive green

-White, cream or bone

-Rich, red plum

Petal pushers. Petal pink, mauve and rose are strong.

Pink and…

-Tones of lilac, plum and wine

Miss Blumarine says "yes" to wine for the under-18 set.

-Charcoal and cream



The dressing room. Imagine a woman's vanity table covered with cosmetics. Think of the creamy tones of face powder, the soft pinky-beige of blush, and a palette of eye shadows in sand, bone, pale taupe and silver. That's the look of this elegant color range.

Peaches and cream at Miss Blumarine.

I Pinco Pallino's buttercream dresses. Combat boots bring a tart note to the all sweet palette.

Turn up the volume. While the larger, more commercial manufacturers favored, grays and silvers, rosy tones, black and navy, some smaller more esoteric collections favored rich, saturated bright tones of taxi yellow, chartreuse, jade, leaf green, pimento and fuchsia. To balance the hot hues, designers included a few separates in black, charcoal, cocoa and navy.

Boys are boys. Boys' activewear stays traditional with navy, forest green, mustard and deep red. Shots of bright orange and red jazz things up.

Black. Often shown in tight, punky straight legs with matching jackets, offers relief from preppy wear.

Ready to hit the road at Gas Junior.




More texture than pattern. Aside from collections such as Oilily that are consistently pattern driven, most designers rely on the mix of texture - glittery knits, jeweled or beaded tees or sweaters, heavy cable-stitching, embellished skirts - to add interest to outfits.

Mixing it up at I Pinco Pallino.

-Menswear plaids. Used for crisp shirting, on wool or in rich colors woven into heavy, crinkled cotton in boys' and girls' collections.

-Hearts. A couple of designers who held fashion shows used stuffed felt hearts as a prop on the kittenwalk as well as incorporating the sweet motif into their collections.

Have a heart baby at Amore.

-Liberty prints. Most often seen in infant and toddler collections. The flowers break up the monotony of dark solids and tweeds.

-Metallic threads in silver, gold and copper lend glamour when paired with rougher denim and wools.

-Large, diamond shaped rhinestones on white knits and outerwear lend a glistening snowflake effect.

-Leopard and cheetah designs found a spot in girls' sportswear separates as well as outerwear.

Monnalisa's got jungle fever.

-When beading and heavy brocade such as appliqués are sewn on tops and skirts, girls look like 1930s starlets; when used to outline the border of a skirt, they're Boho babes.

-Deer in the headlights. PETA approved animal motif of the season.

Bambi lives at Oilily.

-Argyles, Fair Isle knits. The diamonds and nostalgic sweater designs add a touch of pattern to sportswear.

All's Fair at Pinko.

-Equestrian motifs on tees and sweaters work with new slim jodhpurs.

-Camouflage prints. There's no hiding designers fondness for this pattern.

-Stripes. Brightly colored on legwear for girls; in classic tones or brights on boys' activewear.




-Fine knit berets, chunky knit berets

-Stocking caps and pompom topped hats

Nolita Pocket says, "Hats are on!"

-Striped knit scarves

-Tweed or knit jockey caps

-Felt fedoras for girls in cosmetic colors

-Felt fedoras for boys in neutrals and silvery-blue




-Raw edges

-Smocking, puckers

-Rhinestones, beading

-Real or faux fur collars


-Tulle petticoats

-Glitter or metallic threads




Shoes with sole. Footwear designers give shoes and boots a punky appeal with thick soles and biker straps. That doesn't mean the materials they choose are any less upmarket, though. Pearlized leather, metallic leather, pony fur, butter soft skins and suede mean head-to-toe luxury.


Photo credits: I Pinco Pallino: I Pinco Pallino Company; Mini A Ture: Kasper Thye; Miss Blumarine, Miss Grant, Woolrich Kids, Gas Junior, Monnalisa, Brums, Gruppo Altana, and Nolita Pocket: Giannoni Giovanni


Originally published February 19, 2007


Back to Tina Barry

Back to Main Home