We interview Julien at the launch of his new babywear collection for Mothercare: "There are tails on the bodysuits and baby-grows, eyes underneath hidden zips, ears and character knee- pads..."
Julien Macdonald launches his first SMILE at Mothercare collection
Julien, you aren’t new to the world of designing childrenswear – what keeps you interested in the world of fashion for small people?
I have two young god children and I spend a lot of time with them. I’m always inspired by my lifestyle, things that are going on around me, what I’m doing. I had no children in my life, and then all of a sudden, every weekend, my house is full of kids. I’m always buying clothes for them, so designing a baby collection was a natural path to take.
How would you describe your signature design style, and how have you transferred that to a baby fashion collection?
I want children to look really sweet and comfortable in their clothes. I used lots of colour and prints as baby clothes often seem to be available plain pastel colours. Parents adore taking pictures of their babies and I hope my clothes will add some fun, and make people smile.
Do you think that it is possible to ever have too much animal print in your wardrobe?
I do like animal print, of course, but I was conscious of not going over the top for babies. I’ve used a couple of animal prints in my Smile collection but they are softer and feature the bunny and tiger animal characters.
What about sequins?
There are a few sequins on the girl’s party dresses, I’m sure some parents will love to see their babies wearing a bit of sparkle!
Mini tuxedo? Tick!
What are your earliest fashion memories – what did you wear?
I was always surrounded by women’s fashion, growing up with my sisters as my parents worked a lot. I actually thought I wanted to be a pop star! Growing up in Wales I didn’t have access to high fashion pieces which is probably why I was so keen to study fashion which is when I realised my passion for decorative textiles and the art of dress-making.
When you think of your SMILE Mothercare collection, what words spring to mind?
Fun, cute, fabulous, smile and affordable.
Don't miss... PICTURES: Julien Macdonald's kids' collection, SMILE, at Mothercare Highlights from the first kids' collection by Julien Macdonald at Mothercare, launching April 2016
What were your inspirations for this baby fashion collection, your first with Mothercare?
My main inspiration came from trips to the zoo with my god-children. I feel like I’m surrounded by children and animals these days. The bunny character on the collection is called Bella which was the name of my pet rabbit when I was a little boy and the tiger character is named Tommy which was my grandfather’s name.
The SMILE print signature dress
What are your top three must have pieces from the SMILE Mothercare collection?
I think I’ll have to choose four pieces:
The black biker-style jersey all-in-one
The Smile print signature dress
The little tuxedo
The party dress with the pleated bodices and layers of net skirts
What tips could you give parents of boys on how to dress their son with more pizazz?
I think the most important thing is for the child to be comfortable, otherwise he’s just going to cry and nobody wants that. I think parents can have some fun with my collection. There are tails on the bodysuits and baby-grows, eyes underneath hidden zips, ears and character knee- pads. Dressing children should be all about fun!
Could we see Saint West in Julien's black biker-style jersey all-in-one?
Do you have any set style rules when designing for children?
It’s got be age appropriate, you can’t have babies looking like mini-adults
Do you have a muse when you design your collections?
My god-daughter Honey.
How does it feel when you see a child in one of your designs?
I was so proud to see the babies looking so sweet at the Mothercare launch. It really made me smile!
You’ve designed clothes for lots of the Kardashian’s, from Kourtney to little North West – do you have anything in mind for Saint?
I’d like to dress him in the black biker-style jersey all-in-one!
Which are your favourite celebs to design for? And which celeb children would you love to design for?
They are all my favourites, of course.
After designing Kim Kardashian a sheer maternity dress – would you ever consider a maternity fashion collection?
I’d never say never.
SMILE at Mothercare accessories...
You have a strong presence on the high street as well as dressing celebs – why is this important to you?
There are so many people out there who could never afford a designer outfit, so to be able to bring my designs to the high street is important to me and to my customers.
Why should our readers make time to shop on the British high street, for kids fashion?
There are so many designer baby collections in the market but they are so expensive, who can really afford to spend £2,500 on a designer dress for their child? I have done a lot of research, and I wanted to design a collection that was affordable for parents in the UK
If you could have had a superpower, when you were a child, what would it have been and why?
Shop Julien Macdonald's SMILE at Mothercare collection online and in stores, now