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Junior Meets: Oscar de la Renta’s Childrenswear Creative Director, Catherine Monteiro de Barros

Designer and creator of all things beautiful (and tartan) for kids, we meet the Creative Director of Oscar de la Renta Childrenswear, Catherine Monteiro de Barros

Posted: 18 September 2013
by Catherine Hudson

Autumn winter 2013 Oscar de la Renta girlswear
The beautiful Catherine and her equally chic siblings, in 1969
Autumn winter 2013 Oscar de la Renta childrenswear
Autumn winter 2013 Oscar de la Renta girlswear
Autumn winter 2013 Oscar de la Renta boyswear
Autumn winter 2013 Oscar de la Renta girlswear

Creative Director of Oscar de la Renta Childrenswear, Catherine Monteiro de Barros, who also founded kids fashion label, Papo d’Anjo, is known for her use of eyecatching colour and soft romanticism. For the autumn winter Oscar de la Renta Kids' 2013 campaign, Catherine and her creative team travelled to Portugal to showcase the beautiful collection and these gorgeous images are just some of the results. We talk all things autumn winter and design inspiration, with Catherine...

How would you describe your vision for Oscar de la Renta childrenswear?

In designing the childrenswear for Oscar de la Renta I think first and foremost of Mr de la Renta and his vision. Luckily, we are very aligned as I enjoy a traditional, romantic and colorful approach to childrenswear.

How do you work with the Oscar de la Renta mainline collection?

I incorporate fabrics and prints from the ready-to-wear collections, that are appropriate for children, into each collection while keeping on eye on styles, both new and classic, that can easily be adapted to our childrenswear line.

Is Oscar still involved with the label on a regular basis and does he have input into the childrenswear line?

Oscar is still completely involved in all aspects of his business. He is in the design studio nearly every day and is very supportive and enthusiastic about the childrenswear line. At the grand age of 81, he is a force of nature among many other wonderful things. He has the final say in everything I do. It is a true privilege to work with him.

What design aesthetics are reflected from the adult collections into the childrenswear?

Our childrenswear line reflects the same dedication to beautiful design and excellent quality, combined with a very high level attention to intricate detail.

What brought you to work in childrenswear?

Twenty years ago I had the first of my four children in Portugal. As a creative soul, the Portuguese tradition of textile and sewing spoke to me. For me, then, kids' fashion was a logical fit for a business idea. I began designing children's clothing for the United States' market and stuck to it. My designs convey a  more European than American ethos however so, luckily for us, this works on both sides of the Atlantic.

Did your own children inspire you when you were designing Papo d’Anjo? Do they inspire you now?

My children inspire me in a totally different way now. Of course they were THE inspiration when I began designing. Now they are my biggest critics and keep me on track. They are purists... for now.

What are your earliest fashion memories – what did you wear?

My earliest fashion memory is of a blue velvet piqué trimmed double breasted dress from Florence Eisman. My three brothers were forced to wear matching little suits. I still have this dress. The picture here (see above) of us was taken in 1969.

What were your inspirations for the childrenswear AW13 collection?

I love Scotland, so it was tartan, tweed and cashmere. I am lucky, with my passion for Scotland, as every other year Tartan seems to be in fashion. In the years when it is not, I double up on cotton velvet. I try to stock to natural renewable fibres.

What are your top three tips for dressing children this autumn winter?

- Get your hands on our classic tweed coat.

- For Christmas, for boys, buy a beautiful tartan blazer with velvet trousers, and a beautiful green velvet party dress for girls. Don't forget the matching shoes, in tartan.

- Keep tidy.

Do you have any set style rules when designing for children?

I have so many it is hard to list them but most important is no black and no grunge.

What are your top three must have pieces from the Oscar de la Renta kids' AW13 collection?

- Tartan blazer for boys.

- Navy wool flannel (fully lined) cap sleeve dress with white piqué collar.

- Tweed bow coat for girls.

 How is it different designing for boys and for girls? Do you prefer one over the other?

I prefer designing for boys as I most love simple lines and using beautiful fabric for boys is often unexpected, but  satisfying. The pressure to be trendier for girls is weakening and I have to fight much harder to stay true to what is beautiful.

Do you have a muse when you design your collections?

Not at all.

How does it feel when you see a child in one of your designs?

In London it is really a great treat and I am always intrigued. My attention also goes to their mother who obviously cares about dressing her children well. It is a lovely endorsement.

Visit our Junior Facebook page to view more of the beautiful autumn winter Oscar de la Renta kids' campaign images.

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