No Kidding

Grow up, that jumpsuit is last season

Recently, I received a wonderfully designed card, of two adorable and impeccably dressed children posing in grey trenchcoats, informing me of the new festive collection available at Armani Junior at Delhi's DLF Emporio. When it opened last month, Armani Junior had a white kurta for boys on display in the window, created especially for its India launch. It didn't look any different from a kurta you'd see at Fabindia, except it costs over Rs 6,000.

Are Indian parents really spending this kind of money on dressing their children? I remember seeing a pair of five-year-old twin girls dressed in identical Burberry overcoats and that image has never quite left me. I know many parents who get conned (me included) into buying expensive toys like whirring helicopters that magically stop working the minute you leave the shop, but shopping for kid couture is a choice you make. No child is going to insist on wearing a kurta for Rs 6,000. The snooty brands with signature styles, like the Burberry's check for example, shrewdly make kids clothes that are miniaturised versions of their bestselling adult lines, which is what makes them irresistible to parents who have already bought into the brand. It's interesting to note that most of Burberry's kids stores are in Asia and the Middle East.

That a market exists for kids designer stuff is not news, even though everywhere in the world, it's targeted at the one percent. There are a number of other premium brands such as Chicco, Les Petit and Tommy Hilfiger for kids in Delhi. Clearly they're all doing fine, if they can afford sky-high rentals in top malls. Indian designers have ventured into kids wear with no particular impact, and more as an extension of what they were already doing. Rohit Bal had a label, Bal Bachche, which I no longer see around, and Anshu Arora Sen did a lovely range of girls clothes at Bombay Electric, but I've never spotted any of her stuff in Delhi. Gauri & Nainika do some really beautiful party dresses for little girls, and from what I can make out, they're easily the bestselling among Indian kids designers.

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