Child’s Play By Lauren Steventon

Apparently Suri Cruise’s wardrobe is worth $3 million. These days a simple T-shirt just won’t cut it with style-savvy youngsters. Lauren Steventon picks the best ranges for children who like to keep it chic….

Child's Play

Whether your child is a mini fashionista like Tom Cruise’s Suri, an indie kid like Angelina Jolie’s Shiloh or a rocker like Gwen Stefani’s Kingston, they’re going to have an opinion about their wardrobe, and more and more parents are looking for chic, stylish – but still childish – clothes for their toddlers and teens.

Alex And Alexa

According to Alex Theophanous, who founded children’s clothing site Alex And Alexa (a kind of Net-a-Porter for kids) with wife Alexa in October 2007, “customers are style-savvy and discerning, and they get it. They shop for prestigious labels for their own wardrobes, and want the same quality service and product when shopping for their offspring.” As a result, their collections see “bursts of neon brights, candy ice-cream shades and funky prints dominating with a key feature – child-proof fabrics!” There are plenty of names to choose from too, including Little Marc Jacobs, Chloe, DKNY, Hugo Boss and Fendi, which sit alongside some of the most exciting children’s wear brands, such as Bonnie Young, Torres, Scotch & Soda and RARE The Kid.

www.alexandalexa.com

Ovale

Fashion can start at any age, and Ovale proves that even babies can be better dressed than their parents. The collection caters for babies up to 18 months, with soft wools and cashmere for cooler days, and cute linen pinafore dresses, denim dungarees and light cotton tops for the summer. The colour palette is very natural, featuring whites, browns and creams to keep it unisex and chic. The softest toys and warmest rompers are perfect for bedtime, while shoes and accessories can be personalised with names or dates. Some of the most beautiful items on offer are the christening dresses. Co-founder Gilles Neveu was a couturier at Dior, before leaving to design christening dresses. His designs use delicate lace and embroidery to create unique dresses that will be kept for generations.

This isn’t just a spot for parents to kit out their own children though, as Ovale has a lovely selection of gifts and jewellery to suit any occasion. Our favourite was the Ostrich Wish Egg – a real ostrich egg with silver tips is filled with notes from friends and family when baby is born. When they reach their 18th birthday, or indeed any landmark celebration, the egg can be cracked and the notes read out.

www.ovale.com

Caramel Baby & Child

Caramel Baby & Child is all about beautiful clothes that look smart, feel comfortable and combine the formality of continental Europe with the laid-back atmosphere of quirky Englishness. Founder Eva Karayiannis trained as a lawyer, but always loved the intricacy of well-made children’s clothes. She wanted to provide something “relaxed and understated, with no logos, and conferring no spurious status, but as useful and beautiful as I could make it. I wanted to create a sanctuary from big fashion: somewhere for clothes you couldn’t find in any of the high street chains. I spent two years tracking down hand-crafted knitwear from Peru and artisan clothes from small designers in London or the Cotswolds.” Her attention to detail and love of quality children’s clothing comes across in the collections, which feel formal but functional. The Shakespearean names of the clothes gives them a fun side: the Perdita skirt in print and plain patterns looks peasant-like with a twist, while the Juliet striped knitted dress is super cosy. The boys’ Othello jacket with its sweater waistband will suit an urban or smart occasion, and the Lear stripe peasant shirt is perfect for a little artist.

www.caramel-shop.co.uk

With collections this cute, who could blame Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes!