Many of you will already be familiar with the concept of dressing up young children in designer clothing as the most popular past time of washed up celebrities. However, it is becoming a favourite hobby among obscenely rich people everywhere and is now the basis of a thriving global market. Steadily rising numbers of millionaire mums from Brazil to Kazakhstan are feeling the need to create miniature versions of themselves in Burberry Baby and Gucci Kids in what looks like an effort to preemptively groom their kids into becoming totally materialistic assholes.
Undoubtedly, all of this kiddie couture madness is partly perpetuated by all of these hot up and coming baby fashion icons. For example, Stylecaster recently named toddler Caiden Silverstein one of the 50 most stylish New Yorkers and he now has a shopping service business centered around him called Caiden's Closet for the "world's smallest – and cutest! – fashionistas!"
And if you type Suri Cruise into google, the first thing that comes up is a fashion blog which tracks her every outfit down to the Juicy Couture mittens she wore to gymnastics class, sometimes even multiple times a day. That little show-off just loves the camera! And I'm sure all of the mums whom are loyally following this blog are at home completely flipping out about how totes cute that pink striped dress is.
Fashion shows featuring high-end childrenswear are now a regular occurrence in China and Vietnam and India held its first Kids Fashion Week in January. Just look at all those four-year -olds strutting their stuff on the catwalk at the launch of this luxury childrenswear line by the popular Chinese womenswear label JNBY.
You'll notice that one of the most distinctive features of the world of high fashion for toddlers is that balloons are often wisely incorporated to stave off any potential awkwardness adults might feel about watching children in this context, while reassuring everyone that what is happening is definitely age-appropriate. Unfortunately, that terrifying slasher film-ready "Mary Had A Little Lamb" music isn't really doing anyone any favours.
Notice also the way balloons are cleverly utilised in this ad for Lanvin Petite. That single balloon makes you forget almost completely about that ominous looking set of concrete stairs looming in the background that apparently leads up to some kind of darkened abyss and instead makes us think about how these kids are obviously having the best time ever in all that Lanvin couture.
Surprise. More balloons from Gucci.
Despite the global economic crisis that's been plaguing the world since 2008, Florence-based Pitti Bimbo – the single largest event for the high-end children's clothing industry in the world – estimated total turnover for the global market of high fashion for kids is on track to exceed $3.4 billion this year. The Childrens Worldwide Fashion group – the company primarily responsible for the childrenswear lines of Hugo Boss, Chloe, Burberry, DKNY and Marc Jacobs – is selling this stuff in over 55 countries from Taiwan to Turkey and has recently opened several new locations of its super high-end store, Atelier de Courcelles. Basically, the sad truth is that there are little people all over the world wearing much nicer clothes than you and the chances are they still can't use the "big potty".
A Little Marc Jacobs onesie.
Oh, and CWF has not only one, but two, stores in Kazakhstan. So next time you’re passing through Almaty, don’t mistakenly think that you’re not at risk of having the Versace jacket you found in the bargain bin at Filenes Basement one-upped by a toddler nonchalantly sucking on his Dior pacifier in this season’s Little Marc Jacobs onesie. You might even catch yourself unconsciously admiring the way his diamente-crystallised Versace baby bottle holder catches the light of the Kazakhstani sun.
As striking as these statistics are at first sight, we all know that a very small number of disturbingly rich people are really buying this stuff. There's still no way the average parent is ever going to spend $1,100 on a Lanvin Petite sun dress or $3,800 on a Gucci Kids biker jacket. 65% of Atelier de Courcelles's sales at its Westfield London location were to Middle Easterners, including members of the Gulf royal family.
Vadim, a rich Russian kid whose wardrobe probably costs more than you earned this year.
But still, to put it in perspective, even if we assume that the typical Kuwaiti oil tycoon or Russian aristocrat is spending an average of almost $14,000 per kid per year, well, my math kinda sucks, but I'm pretty sure that means that there are about 260,000 kids worldwide with a wardrobe worth ten large. That's roughly the same population as Buffalo aka. the second most populous city in the state of New York, after the obvious one. That means that there's literally an entire city's worth of inconceivably over-privileged and absurdly well-dressed twats in training trotting around the globe.
This video is so wrong
Designer diapers are to the upscale toddler-fashion-scape what perfume and lipstick are to grown-up fashion, in that they are a relatively affordable way of buying into the kiddie fashion dream. Highly lauded American designer Cynthia Rowley made these gems for Pampers and Huggies even made diapers that look like jeans. As senior Huggies brand director Stuart Schneider wisely points out, "The design helps babies stay trendy, while keeping dry." The controversial ads for the denim diapers were banned from airing on multiple networks in the US and were barely approved by ABC, TNT and E! due to suspicions that they might sexualise babies, but that just makes denim diapers that much edgier, right? I mean, I can’t think of a better way for a parent to communicate to the world “me and my baby have attitude.” P.S. Who knew that the E! network actually had standards?