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Petite-a-Porter: When Play Clothes Won’t Cut It

A glimpse into the world of kids with their own personal stylists, sartorial followings and Céline-filled closets

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Alonso Mateo looks good in a bow tie and knows it. The 5-year-old Instagram sensation (44,000 followers and counting) rocks high-end designer ensembles, Gucci loafers and the occasional neck accessory for an eager audience of sartorially minded pre-tweens—and their parents—who appreciate his view that you’re never too young to look good.

Now, these fashion-forward fans are enlisting professional help to make it happen. Personal shopper and stylist Stephanie Steinman, who works with kid clients in Los Angeles, New York and Seattle, spent the summer styling several camp wardrobes. “For many of my clients, hiring a personal stylist is done out of convenience. Besides,” she says, “ ’playclothes’ don’t even cut it for camp anymore.”

L.A. stylist Aly Scott says many tots come to her with a specific look in mind, pulled from street-fashion blogs like Children With Swag, Ladys & Gents and The {Tiny} Times, which show stylized mini-models wearing high fashion–inspired clothing and accessories such as varsity jackets, mirrored aviator sunglasses and drop-crotch pants. “Kids will also bring tear sheets of the celebrity whose style they admire,” says Scott, who points to Taylor Swift and Beyoncé as chief among the most requested celeb looks.

And in many cases, like Alonso’s, the kids become muses themselves. More and more designers—both inspired by fashionable kids and in response to increasingly vocal demand from parents—have been adding children’s collections to their ready-to-wear lines, including Lanvin, Stella McCartney and Fendi. Kim Kardashian, meanwhile, is rumored to be designing a line for kids following the recent birth of little North. Kardashian’s stylist, Monica Rose, dresses her own 3-year-old daughter, Alaia, in Céline and Balenciaga. She then posts Alaia’s photos online.

“Many people thank me for giving them ideas and inspiration,” says Rose, who insists that she lets Alaia choose her own outfits, but will later “tweak them,” tucking in her blouse or perhaps adding an accessory. “I’ve even seen some re-creations of Alaia’s outfits worn on older girls! It’s a bit crazy, but cute.” Click through the gallery to see photos of Alaia’s closet.



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