What is your name and job title?
Fleur Vidler, Designer/Director at Belle Enfant
What did you love to wear as a child?
As a child I used to adore dressing up. My sister and I had a dressing up box of beautiful vintage dresses which we would pair with our Wellington boots and go romping around the garden searching for fairies!
How do you think the birth of Prince George, and now the news of a second royal baby, has affected people’s views on children’s fashion?
Since the birth of Prince George, I think that we are just as interested in what Prince George wears as we are Kate! Kate seems to have quite a down to earth approach when dressing George and it is wonderful to see the Royals championing British brands. There has been a general shift in attitude towards children’s clothing; with much more awareness of fashion and style. Stylish mums want to have stylish children. How you dress your child has become an extension of one's own style.
What are the highlights of your autumn winter 2014 collection?
The Autumn/Winter collection draws inspiration from the flora and fauna of a winter landscape. Creating warmth, comfort and texture through different materials. The key focus is the cosy selection of super soft, cashmere blend knitwear. The printed silk pieces add a fun, fashion forward edge.
How important is it to keep up with changing fashion trends?
On a personal level, I love fashion and take great delight in shopping the latest trends. I think its great that there is more of a focus on fashionibilty where children’s clothing is concerned and its fab to see mini collections from brands like Chloe and Roksanda Illincic, but equally I think children should be free to dress as they wish and that clothing should be an expression of your personality not something conformist. I think we should all wear what makes us happy whether that be the latest trend or an old trusted piece that you have owned for years.
How do you inject a fashion element into baby fashion designs?
I am very much influenced by womenswear trends when designing the collections. I like to incorporate sophisticated prints and styling which I feel gives the collection a unique, fashion forward feel that sets Belle Enfant apart from our contemporaries.
Where do you find design inspiration?
Gosh, all sorts of things. The seasons, the landscape and nature, travel, key pieces that I love and covet from my own wardrobe and nostalgic pieces from my childhood. In my working week, Friday is set aside as my creative day. I always ensure I do something to fire up my creativity. This could involve visiting a gallery or exhibition, flicking through Vogue or having a coffee in the city and just people watching. I think London is one of the best cities to be in to observe fashion and trends.
What do you think are the top three items parents should invest in, in terms of baby fashion?
I think a lovely luxurious blanket is a must buy for a new baby. A pair of good quality, leather shoes and, of course, a pair of Belle Enfant metallic fairy wings.
Why did you enter the Junior Design Awards?
Junior is a fabulous resource for the modern parent. We loved Junior when it was in print and the website is equally fab. The Junior Design Awards celebrate labels that create everything beautiful in a child’s life, and to be recognised amongst such wonderful brands would be a real honour.
What do you predict for the future of children’s fashion?
It is really encouraging to see childrenswear brands being recognised and applauded for their fashionability and cutting edge design.
Dressing ones child has become an extension of ones own style and there is a greater appetite for high fashion for children and also much more choice available now. I think we will see lots more mini me dressing, with the big designer brands creating diffusion lines for little ones.
Traditional stereotypes have been blurred and there is much more of a ‘free for all’ attitude towards dressing children. It’s about being fun and expressing oneself not conforming to tradition, pushing the boundaries and being bold. In terms of trends,
I think we will see fabrications normally reserved for womenswear being used for childrenswear like shearling, leather, fur and faux fur and more sophisticated looking print through innovative techniques such as digital printing and metallic inks.
It is a very exciting time to be involved in the childrenswear industry.