By  on May 25, 2006

NEW YORK — Little Marc is growing up next spring.

Marc Jacobs' children's label, which launched last August with a capsule collection of waffle-weave thermal separates for toddlers, is expanding into a full collection of clothes and accessories, including shoes for children, from infants to 12-year-olds. To that end, Marc Jacobs International has inked a licensing deal with Zannier Group, the privately held Paris-based children's wear manufacturer that owns such brands as Tartine et Chocolat, Kickers shoes, Lili Gaufrette, Floriane, Absorba and Confetti and makes licensed children's wear for Levi's and Kookaï in Europe. The licensed Little Marc collection will launch next spring with about 50 looks each for girls and boys.

"We did the little thermals, and they sold really well," said Robert Duffy, president of Marc Jacobs, recalling how the first two shipments to Marc Jacobs and Marc by Marc Jacobs boutiques had 100 percent sell-throughs. "People were very interested in it, and a number of people have approached us about licenses, but we still wanted to experiment a little bit more, so we did T-shirts and baby jeans, and they sell really well, too."

Duffy became aware of Zannier through a Tartine et Chocolat boutique located near his Paris home. "A lot of my friends shop there for their kids," Duffy said. "[Zannier] did a test trial for Marc and I, which looked really cute. Their capability is fantastic....They were really able to almost duplicate the quality of Marc by Marc, with all the pipings and the details."

When asked what the Little Marc collection will look like, Duffy said: "It's like Marc by Marc Jacobs, just from sizes zero through 12."

That said, children have different design requirements, a fact Duffy has become all too aware of in recent months. "I have already learned that there are certain things kids can't wear," he explained. "People like things that snap in the front, because it's easier to get [children] in and out of...kids need elastic waists, and if you did little dresses, they like to have panties that match. It's not something you think about if you have never had a kid."

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