Best of the British: Children’s Designers with a Classic Twist

Considering the history of British clothing, you will find that it has always been synonymous with bespoke tailoring, classic cuts and unparalleled quality in the choice of fabrics used. This trend also lends itself to children’s clothing and there is nothing more elegant and smart, than dressing your little one in traditional children’s attire, which takes you back to a whimsical time when children were allowed to be little, played in the woods and devoured candied apples over the holidays, well as far fetched as this idyllic painted picture may sound, this is what I conjure up when I look at delicate liberty patterns and embroidery, button up blouses, linen dungarees, detailed smocking and soft cashmere cardigans from some of the country’s best children’s designers.

However don’t be fooled into thinking that classic means a complete nod off to modernity. As many clever British designers today use a combination of both, they take the elements of the classic design most of us love and combine it with a hint of modernity by way of function and form and the use of natural fibres and fabrics. This award winning combination injects practicality and modernity into the traditional classical world of children’s clothing, that is appreciated and favoured by many around the world. And, on that note, here are three of my favourite designers and some select pieces, which I can’t wait for Ava to wear this season, and I will be posting plenty of photos on instagram in these gorgeous outfits!

Rachel Riley

Rachel Riley’s philosophy is based on the notion that ‘timeless style never goes out of fashion’ and her award winning British luxury brand for babies and children from the ages 0 to 14 years is based in Marylebone, London. Her collection is also available online and via some department stores such as Harrods, Selfridges and Saks Fifth Avenue. The designs are influenced by her traditional rural country upbringing, also referred to as her own ‘rural idyll’ and Rachel draws inspiration from the 40s, 50s and 60s eras. The delicate tailoring, bright and bold patterns, adorable hand smocking, hand embroidery and vintage-inspired prints certainly take you back to a forgotten era. Interestingly, the little childrens’ slippers are hand-made in her own workshop (which is the last remaining hand made slipper factory in France) and many of the prints are designed by Rachel herself in house and hence are unique to her collection.

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Rachel Riley AW17 Toy Train Smocked BabysuitTeddy Smocked Babysuit

The collections are designed with modernity in mind, and the techniques used are classic yet functional and in turn we have stylish, traditional and practical pieces, that will no doubt end up being a treasured family heirloom for many generations to come.

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Rachel Riley AW17 Cashmere Cardigan 

Ava and I recently met the talented designer, Rachel Riley, at her AW17 launch at her Marylebone flagship store and she is just as lovely in person. After a thoughtful gift by a close friend, we had a family photography session organised and I dressed Ava in the two new season babysuits pictured and they looked so smart and photographed really well. I love that the fabrics are thick and durable, and will be perfect for the cooler months ahead. The detail in the hand smocking is just divine and the traditional teddy and toy train designs are just too cute for words, I did get many ohs and ahs when Ava was wearing these beautiful babysuits, I have also reserved the red babysuit as her Christmas Eve outfit this year. The muted pink cashmere cardigan is very soft and perfect for everyday wear when venturing outside and layering over the babysuits, and is one of my favourite pieces for Ava.

Wild & Gorgeous

Wild & Gorgeous was born after two friends got together and brainstormed a new children’s line for babies and children aged 0 to 15 years. Lucy Enfield (wife of English comedian Harry Enfield) and Sophie Worthington, and are known for their beautiful dresses with intricate details, soft colours and textures. Both bring separate skills sets and differing styles to the range, making a spectacular combination. Sophie grew up on the Kings Road amidst the lively punk scene with the likes of Malcom McLaren & Vivienne Westwood, and was influenced in using fashion as a means of personal expression. Lucy on the other hand, started designing and making her own clothes in her teens, traveled to another continent, India in her 20s, and was greatly influenced by the bold colours, vibrancy and rich diversity that is India, and this is reflected in her designs.

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Wild & Gorgeous Baby Trixie Dress and Baby Charlotte Dress

They currently have two shops in London and their philosophy is ‘Wild & Gorgeous celebrates our mutual love of fashion. Classic with a twist, we love to surprise and thrill with our imaginative use of fabric, texture and detail. We travel, go to markets, look at magazines & search through our childhood memories, looking back at what we wore during our childhoods in the 60s & 70s. We like our designs to hint at the past but also have a modern touch.’

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Wild & Gorgeous Baby Charlotte Dress and Baby Pointelle Cardigan

I particularly like their beautiful dresses which is made from the softest cotton and both wash really well, as they do not loose shape, form or colour. The delicate details on the two dresses I have for Ava are understated but speak volumes up close and the cardigan is just so soft with the most intricate pattern. This is a brand I will definitely be buying more of in future for Ava particularly when she needs everyday pieces that are both beautiful and functional.

Olivier Baby & Kids

This line was founded by two London based sister designers, Emma Davison and Alice Smith for babies and children aged 0 to 12 years.  The collection is primarily inclusive of delicate prints and cashmere textiles and surprisingly all handmade. Their designs are inspired by traditional knitwear and liberty print designs (think miniature floral, paisley & abstract prints) with a modern twist. Liberty prints certainly have a nostalgic feel, and the designers have rejuvenated some of their favorite items made for them by their grandmother when they were children. As they mention ‘the designs are traditional but always with an element of fun, whether it be a heart on the bottom or stars on the elbows, a little something to make you smile’. The range includes everything from bonnets, cardigans, pea-coats to dresses and rompers.

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Olivier Baby & Kids London Maria Liberty Shirt with Frill Collar & Marlow Liberty Bloomers and Emilia Liberty Print Romper

The material in the pieces above is really soft and lightweight and doesn’t crinkle or wrinkle which is very much appreciated when you have a wriggling baby on your hands. The liberty print is just beautiful up close and I love that you can mix and match with their range to create some very unique outfits, and who doesn’t love bloomers with braces (and let’s not forget the frill collars)!

Kerstin // Lux Mumma

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Andrea Whelan Photography

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