The world of children's wear is becoming crystallized.
With the October 2006 launch of Aristabrat, a collection of accessories for babies and children, it seems even youngsters can sport the most sparkling duds. Former handbag designer Bouavanh Leuangkhamsone started the line after noticing a void in the children's marketplace for high-end gifts. After having trouble finding the perfect baby gift for a friend, she designed a pacifier by adorning it with Swarovski crystals — her partner (now of almost 16 years) Paul Brown encouraged her to begin her own children's line as a result.
The brand, whose name is a play on the word aristocrat, encompasses babies' and children's accessories, including pacifiers ($120), pacifier clips ($55), rattles ($130) and even nail clippers ($130) — all of which are decorated with anywhere from 400 to 1,000 Swarovski crystals. Names of some of the pacifiers include Buckingham, Dynasty, Duke, Duchess, the Palace and the King of Kings, and products are also sold together in sets.
In May, at the Silver Spoon "Celebrity Baby & Dog Buffet" in West Hollywood, Calif., Leuangkhamsone introduced an apparel line to accompany the accessories. Approximately 11 onesies fill the collection, some sporting the brand's motto, "For the haves and the have mores...," while others feature sayings such as "Cereal Killer" and "Bring My Tricycle Around." All are decorated in Swarovski crystals and retail for $55. The collection is available at the company's Web site, aristabrat.com, and about 30 boutiques across the U.S. have picked up the collection, including The Greenbrier, an upscale resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Va., Abe and Mary's in Montreal, The Boulders Resort and Spa in Carefree, Ariz., and Arribas Bros. at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
Many parents might be concerned over the safety of the crystal-laden products, but the designer eased any worries. "These are really considered more novelty items than anything else," Leuangkhamsone pointed out. "They don't have to be used on a day-to-day basis — our clients view them as great gifts; they treat them like fine jewelry pieces." Regarding their safety, she commented, "But all parents should still know that these products are very carefully made — and all of them endure a rigorous testing process to ensure their safety."Devotees to the brand? Celebrities, Leuangkhamsone said. Well-known moms Tori Spelling, Brooke Burke, Holly Robinson Peete, Rena Sofer and Shannon Elizabeth have all picked up pieces from the collection. Celebrity dads Jason Priestley and Fred Savage and their families have also bought Aristabrat items.
The company expects first-year revenues to hit approximately $5 million at retail, according to Leuangkhamsone.
Up next: Aristabrat has teamed up with Warner Bros., which is creating a Tweety Pop-Up store on Wilshire Boulevard. For the collaboration, Aristabrat developed a special "Tweety Bwat" onesie ($55) and Tweety pacifier ($120). Leuangkhamsone also is working on a denim line and a collection for tweens.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast