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.
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