“Swag,” mom Kim Kardashian simply wrote of her 2-year-old daughter, who donned a black faux-fur cape in 2014. Secrets of Stylists author Sasha Charnin Morrison, who believes the new coat is real fur, tells Yahoo Parenting that Kardashian has also worn the same, or similar, fox fur chubbie coat. Kardashian’s publicist tells the New York Post that the jacket — which has drawn ire from PETA — was a gift.
The Instagram photo of little North received more than 1 million likes and plenty of comments, many of them calling the toddler’s outfit “cute.”
But cute doesn’t begin cover it. “Kiddie couture,” as fashion designers’ luxe children’s offerings have been dubbed, is expanding — and exorbitant.
“What you’ll see on the runway, you will see in our children’s area — everything matches down,” luxury London-based retailer Harrods’ managing director Michael Ward recently told the Daily Mail about the increasing number of fashion houses creating clothes for kids, including Christian Dior (above), Karl Lagerfeld (with a just-launched kiddie couture line), Gucci, and Valentino, as well as Lanvin, Roberto Cavalli, and Marc Jacobs, among others. “A lot of the fashion houses have recognized that their best way of developing their customer of the future is to get them early.”
Photo: Karl Lagerfeld Kids
And they’re not getting them for cheap, either. Dior’s silk crepe dress for 8-year-olds, shown at top, retails for about $5,670 at Harrods and Dior boutiques. The brand’s kids’ wool felt coat costs more than $990. Fendi’s wool coat with a removable fur collar for 12-month-olds tops that, at more than $1,000. Gucci has even rolled out a hoodie for the 6- to 9-month set — for $380.
These Fendi leather sneaks cost about $190. (Photo: Harrods)
Gucci’s leather-strap Mary Janes cost approximately $200. (Photo: Harrods)
There are big budget accessories too. Harrods’ shoe department, once filled with Start-Rite and Clarks shoes, is now stocked with $350 Gucci leather sandals and $300 loafers. “We’ve just replaced the entirety of our shoes,” Ward said. “Now, if you walk in there, it will be all of the brands that you would see the mum wearing.”
Designer Victoria Beckham’s son Romeo models for Burberry’s kids’ line. (Photo: James Shaw/REX Shutterstock)
That’s exactly why New York City psychotherapist Robi Ludwig believes mothers are buying such expensive kids’ clothes. “This trend is about the parents wanting to show off something about themselves, such as what they can spend or what their values are,” Ludwig tells Yahoo Parenting. But the problems such purchasing creates extend beyond any issues kids could experience from being used as a billboard.
“You’re potentially creating an entitled child who learns that you are what you have,” she explains. Dressing kids in such expensive designer clothing fosters a materialism and narcissism that teaches children “they should feel better than others because they can wear these. It’s the whole idea that the label makes the person, and that’s a dangerous trap to get caught in because it connects your self-worth to something outside of yourself.”
Also, the danger is that parents may create this very-hard-to-maintain scenario of “I have — and that makes me something” that the child cannot re-create later on, Ludwig says. “She is set up for a lifetime of frustration.”
The only potential positive is if parents are dressing kids in pricey garb for a special occasion, Ludwig adds. “It certainly can make a kid feel good that they’re wearing an important outfit for an important event,” she says. “Done sparingly, these clothes can underscore important moments without damaging self-esteem. It’s just vital not to connect feeling to price. You don’t want kids to think that you need an expensive dress to feel good about yourself.”
(Blue dress photo: Dior; North West photo: Instagram/KimKardashian)