The largest labels have embraced lucrative kidswear market. Nearly all luxury brands now offer children’s collections, and they are promoting as creatively as their main lines.
Gucci was the latest designer label to launch its first line for children, in November 2010. The Italian brand, which is already a major player in all areas of the luxury goods market, decided that the time was ripe to move into the world of children’s wear. Frida Giannini, the label’s creative director, carefully supervised the creation of Gucci Kids. The spring/summer 2011 collection is divided into two clothing lines: one for babies and the other for children aged 2 to 8.
The brand has chosen its trademark gold Teddy Bear logo to give the collection the chic and sophisticated vibe for which Gucci is so famous. On browsing the collection, you can see the designers’ attention to detail, such as the iconic interlocking double G logo which adorns sunglasses and belts. Because, let’s face it: accessories are more important than ever in this day and age. And this junior collection certainly doesn’t disappoint: scarves, jewellery and ties are available for even the youngest customers. For older children, the logoed leather jacket, slouchy trousers or distressed jeans are must-have items. This is a style that even the youngest kids can recognise. To celebrate the launch of the collection Gucci has pulled out all the stops by making a one million dollar donation to UNICEF’s "Schools for Africa" project that the brand has supported over the last six years. A cause that Jennifer Lopez deemed so worthy that the actress-singer agreed to star in the line’s first advertising campaign with her two-year old twins. Dressed head to toe in Gucci, the gorgeous trio frolicked on Malibu beach under the watchful eye of world famous fashion photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott. Or how to make every mother around the world go weak at the knees...
Gucci is not the only brand to take on the children’s wear market. In 2009, Jean-Paul Gaultier opted to send mini models down the catwalk, alongside his women’s wear collection, to showcase the brand’s Junior Gaultier line. The children, who sported trench coats, smocks and tulle dresses, captured the heart of the audience and created quite a stir. This is the new generation of mini-adults who know how to rock it. Jean-Paul Gaultier, who will be eternally considered as the original eccentric, played around with skull and dragon prints for his Summer 2011 collection, which is inspired by Japanese anime, showcasing vibrant designs in khaki, red and pink. The nautical theme so beloved by JPG was, as always, visible in many of his pieces and was particularly evident in his new babywear collection. For 2011 the designer has expanded his line for newborns: berets, baby-gros, denim dungarees and wool sailors’ jackets, all in blue or coral. The collection is bursting with the designer’s mischievousness.
While Jean Paul Gaultier was sending his mini models down the catwalk, Giorgio Armani went even further by organizing a fashion show featuring only children, which was arranged with the same meticulous precision as for his mainline collections. One of the first designers to launch a junior collection back in 1981, Armani proved that he’s still got what it takes when he presented his autumn/winter 2011/2012 collection in December 2010. The designer put a strong emphasis on several key styles including Canada, bowling and party-time whilst softness and comfort reigned. Nothing was left to chance as the designer showcased chunky sweaters emblazoned with graphic effects and vintage look T-shirts for boys. For girls, party dresses sported collars adorned with glittering sequins and were teamed with ballet pumps and suede-leather diamante studded boots. Not to mention the puffa jackets, short at the front for that crucial freedom of movement and long at the back for warmth. The collection was oozing with Italian glamour. And how could we forget the message emblazoned across one of the dresses: ‘Fashion Changes. Armani Forever’.
Giorgio Armani has set the ball rolling in a bid to re-make his mark in a market that has been inundated with children’s wear lines over the last couple of years. Amongst those to whom credit is due include Paul Smith, whose junior line is bursting with the designer’s rock’n’roll spirit, Stella McCartney and Marc Jacobs for their chic and trendy kids’ wear collections, and Kenzo whose ability to make colour and exotic print relevant for all generations is second to none. The biggest fashion houses have realized that by enchanting parents with their designs, they can also make their mark on children by introducing the word ‘fashion’ into their vocabulary from a young age.