KLEINE FABRIEK, THE international children's trade fair in Amsterdam, opened to a crowded show yesterday, with an increase in attendance and exhibitors. The fair – that was plagued with snowfall in January this year – had a beautiful summer air, with shocking pink carpets, an array of beautiful floral bouquets and installations made by local artists were displayed at meeting points. Despite the heatwave outside, Junior pottered about in the air-conditioned arena to report on all that's exciting and new for Spring/Summer 2011.
New brands that caught our eye were the exciting debut of Dutch womenswear label Phataak's mini and baby range, which introduced an exciting new-look denim. Treated denim with tailored details, a denim jacket with a dinner suit lapel, a summer playsuit with pleated pockets and an unusually structured biker jacket fashioned in lightweight denim, looked casual and fresh. Tobby & Bennett's collection for boys and girls has the potential to catch commercial appeal, as well as the eye of discerning editors. Girlswear had a bohemian feel, with ruched tunics decorated in floral prints that looked sweet, a fine knit canary yellow cardigan, punctuated with frills and cut with a low scoop neck was dashing, summer playsuits cut in fine cotton, with rouched bodices and straps would look great across any fashion pages. Boyswear took a commercial stance and was perhaps the least interesting, with a sporty but preppy approach. New denim line House of Avernae brought visitors a jeans collection favouring the rock 'n' roll skinny look but unusually decorated in a burst of raspberry pinks, violet and peachy hues.
Amongst the stands, there was a strong British presence from Joules and Little Joule, I Love Gorgeous, Bonnie Baby and Olive & Moss. Joules showcased a collection bursting with colour: girlswear had a Fifties silhouette, dresses with nipped-in waists, knitted-like-your-gran cardigans, and brogues all modernised with vibrant shocking pinks, canary yellows and graphic floral prints. Boyswear dedicated itself to rugby England, chinos, striped rugby shirts and tweed blazers. I Love Gorgeous headed to the florists, with a feast of tea dresses, skirts and loose-fitting blouses decorated in a hue of pastel flowers.
The established brands were out in force too. Home-grown talent Oilily were starring at the back of the show, with one of the biggest stands decorated with cut-out wooden trees and outfits artfully hanging from branches. Oilily used a fluoro pallette that many of the labels at this season's Pitti Bimbo also favoured. Fluoro pink jackets with novel teddy bear backpacks were fun, a padded gillet layered over a floral smock was a nice contrast of tradition and new. Boyswear was notably colourful; bold blues were painted over cargo pants and shorts, a glossy red sports jacket with blue patchwork details stood out and there were snatches of bottle green on lots of the boy’s staple wardrobe of T-shirts and shorts.
Imps & Elfs showcased a more sophisticated approach this season. Famous for their jersey T-shirts and cool skinny jeans, the label branched out with soft tailoring, capped chino shorts, a waist-length trench, and tailored linen slacks alongside their signature looks of jersey zip-up jackets, graphic Tees, jumper dresses and sporty mini-skirts.
The award for the most colourful stand went to Bakker Made With Love, whose collection drifted to Africa with wide-leg cotton pants, long silk scarves, oversized Ethiopian coffee dresses, and chiffon shiraro tunics, all punctuated with African prints. Luckily the collection was contrasted with modern tailoring, and simple jersey tees which looked lovely juxtaposed with the vibrancy of the prints.
Kleine Fabriek encapsulated the feel for a tranquil summer: loose silhouettes, an array of bold colours and floral hues, fabrics feeling floaty and light. Think Eighties Kenzo or the modern day silhouettes of Matthew Ames. Surrounded by the beautiful summer interiors of the fair, of course we should savour the summer we are currently enjoyin, but we can't help already looking forward to Summer 2011.