From Romeo Beckham modelling the Burberry trench coat to North West and now THE royal baby (insert name once royal baby is born!) - 2013 was the undisputed year of the progeny. Thanks to communication and information technology, the children of Generation Z are the most empowered in living history. At no other juncture since the invention of the moving picture have child stars reigned so supreme. Step forward Willow Smith whipping her hair back and forth, Justin and the Beliebers, torchbearers of the mini power set.
Like Kate Middleton, I too gave birth to my own little heir apparent in 2013. An unfailingly chicly attired baby, it is time for him to elevate further in the style stakes still. So how to dress a Generation Z style protegé? In the last couple of years childrenswear has become one of the fastest growing luxury markets. Gucci, Versace and Lanvin are among the crop of major fashion houses to have recently launched bijou lines. (Christian Dior was the first major player to enter the playground, with the opening of the inaugural Baby Dior store at Avenue Montaigne in 1967.) Step aside Honey Boo Boo and Suri Cruise, my five-month-old is dressed to kill.
Father wears Gucci, son models Dolce and Gabbana evening attire with green velvet jacket, tuxedo-style playsuit and leather brogues. They enter the opening and it's as if the room has stopped. Move over David and Romeo Beckham; Will and Jaden Smith, two fresher, younger pinnacles of masculinity have entered the arena. They're at a gallery opening in Mayfair, and everybody wants to know where he got that suit. "Dolce and Gabbana," explains his father, holding aloft what one lady describes as "The world's best-dressed baby" and another an infant "designed for a lifetime of style!" The textiles are natural, breathable and comfortable. Although, like any modern day gentleman, my son wants to throw off his jacket when he gets home.
Dolce & Gabbana debuted their childrenswear in autumn/winter 2012. As high concept as that found in the adult collections, their boyswear this season is inspired by black and white movies and Sicilian Baroque, translating the brand's tailoring tradition into three-piece suits, bow ties and silk scarves for the younger gentleman. Burberry Childrenswear launched in 2001, and there are now 14 standalone stores operating worldwide. Styles are inspired by the Burberry archives and Prorsum menswear and womenswear collections – including fabric innovations around Burberry's signature trench coat and iconic check – allowing parent and child's looks to mirror each other for mini-me chic. Alongside its longer standing audiences in Europe and North America, fashionable Chinese and Russian families are now jumping on the designer childrenswear carousel too.
The next weekend it's my turn to introduce baby to his public – off to the Little Angel Theatre's annual party. I wear a white silk dress, my son Ché is a vision in blue weaving among giant ochre dragons and green monkeys for 'The Carnival of the Animals.' "It's a Gucci Baby!", two acquaintances exclaim on seeing my little darling's super soft baby blue body emblazoned with a stork and the words: "It's a Gucci Boy!"
Whatever the current vogue or social climate, children have always been our most honest reflections and prized accessories. So to answer the question of how to dress Generation Z? 'Start as you mean for them to go on.'