Your baby is priceless – but what you dress him in isn’t. Andrea Darby looks at the growing phenomenon of parents who dolly up baby in designer togs…
They may be small, but babies mean big bucks when it comes to the ever-increasing designer goods market. It appears that no sooner have celebrity babies been handed over by the midwife than their relatives are speeding down the hospital corridors with designer bags crammed with the latest must-haves. And guess what? More and more of us are apparently following suit, happy to pay huge price tags for tiny bundles.
The £295 leather, suede and shearling papooses, courtesy of designer Bill Amberg have become hot property after actress Kate Winslet used one for her baby. In fact, Bill Amberg has a whole range of designer hits. Both baby and your cheque could bounce with his £325 calf leather and stainless steel bouncer. And you can rope in your unruly toddler, but certainly not your spending, with his sheepskin lined leather reins, £135.
Another essential for those who want to keep up, is the £499 Frog pushchair from Dutch brand Bugaboo. Since Gwyneth Paltrow strolled out with one, sales have leap-frogged into the stratosphere. Hattie Yolland, from Bugaboo representatives Sputnik Communications, says there’s a waiting list of up to 6 weeks for a Frog, and more than 100 stores who are trying to become stockists.
“Designer baby goods are catching up with other designer products,” she says. “The baby industry has, until now, been a long way behind in the luxury goods market. However, with increased consumer interest in the luxury market, baby goods have had to respond and provide products that appeal to both parents and children.”
Stokke from Norway is the make if choice for footballer Jamie and popstar Louise Redknapp, and Eastenders actress Charlie Brooks. You can Tripp Trapp in their highchair for around £99, Sleepi in their round evolving cot from £390 or Xplory with their pushchair, but don’t expect change from £500 – and that’s without add-ons.
And at Harrods, you can spend almost as much as a car kitting out the nursery, courtesy of Simon Horn’s wooden wonders. A cot alone will set you back £1,999.
Designer accessories and clothes can make sizeable dents in your plastic too – a Dior knitted baby suit for £50 perhaps, or a 318 Escada silk bib, anyone? You can pay anything up to £300 for a special-occasion baby dress, and that’s without the ever-growing list of designer accessories: silk hair bands, tiaras, charm bracelets…you name it. You can also blow the budget for boys with an Aletta silk suit at £130.
Michele Smith, owner of The Children’s Salon in Tunbridge Wells, says the market for designer baby labels is growing at an amazing rate, and more and more companies have just launched ranges for the under-one age group.
“Italian and French labels, such as Dior and Escada, are hugely popular,” she says. “And the more bright and funky Dutch labels like Oilily and Cakewalk are big too.”
Michele insists you get what you pay for. “The more you pay, the better it looks, the nicer the fabric and the better it washes. When you see the cheaper brands next to expensive ones, the latter is hard to resist – they’re so much prettier and gorgeous.
“We get mums coming in with a budget of £30 for a special occasion dress, but once they have seen a top-quality one for £130, they just have to have it. We has a granny who recently spent £1,000 on clothes for her first granddaughter. Mums who buy designer just want the best, sweetest items they can get for their precious little ones. In fact, they usually spend more on their babies then on themselves.
“When I’m buying stock, I often shudder at the prices and think no-one would spend that. But then I look at it and feel it and I just know it’s so beautiful, someone will go the whole hog and buy it.”
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