Dress

Rich toddlers draw fashion designers’ eyes.

NEW YORK – Juliet Sandler dresses in the latest $650 dresses and $400 shoes from Parisian fashion house Lanvin. Juliet is 3.
Her mother, Dara Sandler, says she dresses her daughter in the latest fashions because Juliet is a reflection of her — even though her daughter can’t spell the names of the designers, let alone pay for their clothes.
“I dress Top fashion designers are pushing more expensive duds for the increasingly lucrative affluent toddler demographic. This fall, Oscar de la Renta, Dolce & Gabbana, and Marni launched collections for the pint-sized. Luxury stores Nordstrom and Bergdorf Goodman are expanding their children’s areas to make room for the newcomers, many of them with higher price tags. Late last year, Gucci, which launched a children’s collection two years ago, opened its first children’s store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue.
Some designer houses like Oscar de la Renta and Marni say they’re careful to keep the clothes appropriate for kids. But there are plenty of miniature versions of the adult looks that raise eyebrows because of their eye-catching prices and sophisticated styles.
American households are expected to spend an average of $688 outfitting their children for school, says the National Retail Federation, and that includes supplies like pencils and notebooks.
That’s most families. Some will spend $795 on Gucci backpacks or $1,090 on leopard print puffy coats from Lanvin.
Sasha Charnin Morrison, fashion director at Us Weekly, admits that some of the clothes are outrageously prices. But, she says, things like $200 Gucci sneakers make her kids happy.
“They’re a walking billboard of you. They’re a reflection of who you are, so if you are someone highly stylized, then you want to make sure your kids are the best-dressed kids out there,” she says.
Critics say the trend promotes elitism.”This creates a class system of the haves and have nots,” says Dr. Alan Hilfer, director of psychology at Maimonides Medical Center in New York City. “It creates a culture of envy.”

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