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Child’s Play By The Luxury Channel

Pump Parquet

Child's Play

A novel idea from textile designer and artist Elisabeth Buecher – instead of sitting around playing video games, why not get kids active in order to provide power for those same games – it’s a win, win situation! Pump Parquet puts special, brightly coloured pumps into the floor, when kids use them, they can either inflate toys, or charge things like video games, saving electricity and keeping kids fit. Plus, it looks pretty fun!

www.elisabethbuecher.com

Our Children’s Gorilla

“The children’s imagination is our inspiration” say this Stockholm-based toy design company, Our Children’s Gorilla. Dollhouses are fully recyclable and flat-pack fire stations are ripe for customization. The nearest thing to a teddy is Gary, the very cool gorilla made from wooden blocks and rope. Sweden is known for its design eye, and despite being fully functional toys, these also look great: check out the stylish paper mobiles which can be cut out and assembled from a plan, but look just as funky as framed posters. Better still, this is cool with a conscience: Materials are environmentally friendly, and the company is dedicated to employing some staff from rehabilitation programmes.

Showrooms in Stockholm and Auckland, New Zealand. Ship worldwide.

www.ourchildrensgorilla.com

Traidcraft

The Traidcraft shop is full of fabulous things for all ages, but the children’s toys and furniture are especially lovely. Everything is fair trade, ensuring that small-scale local manufacturers are given a good price and able to continue their work. Check out the cute Alpaca Bunny Rabbit from Mink in Peru, a non-profit organization working with local communities in some of the country’s poorest areas. Boys will love the hand-painted pirate ship and wooden castle made in Sri Lanka by Gospel House, who aim to provide training and work to boys from the poorest areas of Colombo. One of the nicest things about these particular pieces, is that kids in more developed countries can help out less fortunate kids, simply by buying toys!

www.traidcraftshop.co.uk

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!