I’ve been back from Paris for a month now, and I still have a delicious taste in my mouth. What a feast! Of course I couldn’t help but notice how much gorgeous children’s clothing there was. My first post on this topic included four shops, and today I’m happy to share four more with you. These shops all have some wonderful things, ranging from friendly and affordable to pricey and ever-so-precious.

Soeur's St-Germain shop is a treat for older girls with more sophisticated tastes

Soeur’s St-Germain shop is a treat for older girls with more sophisticated tastes

I was quite taken with Soeur, a shop that caters to girls aged 10-16. How delightful to see a collection for this age range that is stylish, well made, and — dare I say it? — age appropriate.  The pieces on display for Fall 2013 reminded me of the luscious corduroy and plaid preppy designs I lusted after at age 13, so sophisticated and chic, yet soft and comfortable. Their website lists three locations; I visited the St-Germain shop at 88 rue Bonaparte. The prices are a bit intimidating — for example, the cream-coloured sweater below is priced at €135 (about $180 USD), but it has a luxurious feel, and seems to be of very good quality (and this is Paris, where everything seems pricey to me). Founded by two sisters with a strong design pedigree, this is a strong brand whose corduroy pants and soft sweaters had me wondering “could I possibly fit into this?”

Drool-worthy sweaters at Soeur

Drool-worthy sweaters at Soeur

I can hardly discuss children’s clothing in Paris without mentioning Petit Bateau, one of the best-known and most beloved French clothing lines for both children and adults. I strolled past several locations in Paris (there are 164 shops in France, and many more internationally) and was amused to see that the windows looked virtually identical, thanks to strong branding. The line is made in France, and is expensive, but very appealing to those who like sophisticated, classic pieces.  On the U.S. site you can see the whole collection easily, in English.

At Petit Bateau, the Fall 2013 collection includes classic liberty prints, coloured corduroy and soft plaid, a very popular combination right now in Paris.

At Petit Bateau, the Fall 2013 collection includes classic liberty prints, coloured corduroy and soft plaid, a very popular combination right now in Paris.

If you prefer something that’s both more playful and easier on the wallet, you might like Du Pareil au même (DPAM). This year DPAM opened its 600th store, reflecting its popularity and accessibility. Designs are bright and childlike, with bold use of colour, and prices are very reasonable. While walking through one of their shops, it also struck me that this clothing was designed for comfort, with lots of knits and comfy shapes. The English language website is here.

French children's chain DPAM is bright, cheerful and affordable. Does a three-year-old always need to look sophisticated?

French children’s chain DPAM is bright, cheerful and affordable. Does a three-year-old always need to look sophisticated?

Did you notice in the photo above that the window of DPAM includes cards that list the prices of each item on display? Another Paris shop that does that is Tartine et Chocolat, at the higher end of the price spectrum.  This line is very precious, and to my eye, uptight; it was hard to imagine children playing in these clothes, but they would look lovely at a wedding. Dresses start around €90 ($120 USD) and go up from there, with fancier dresses in the hundreds. When I stepped inside, the first thing I saw was cashmere, and the first thing I smelled was snootiness. While I can easily appreciate beautiful, well-made clothing, this line was a little too conservative and precious for my sensibilities. I watched their Fall/Winter 2013 video with my children, and we all agreed that the children in the video look uncomfortable and sad. This is a classic Paris children’s shop with some beautiful things and a devoted clientele, but is not really my cup of tea.

The Tartine et Chocolat boutique on St-Germain is a temple of luxury for babies and children, but in a city so rich with luxury goods, I found it uninspiring.

The Tartine et Chocolat boutique on St-Germain is a temple of luxury for babies and children, but in a city so rich with luxury goods, I found it conservative and uninspiring.

Paris abounds with wonderful children’s shops. At times, I felt I was discovering a new one around every corner. While there were several things I saw repeatedly, such as delicate Liberty print blouses, plaid dresses and skirts, and luxurious collared coats, there was enough variety to satisfy different tastes, and although prices were generally high, it was possible to find some wonderful pieces without breaking the bank. I hope you’ve enjoyed my little (admittedly biased) reviews, and would love to hear your suggestions for great children’s finds in Paris!

À plus tard,
Devorah

Red Thread Design

Ah, Jacadi. So international, yet so quintessentially French!

Ah, Jacadi. So international, yet so quintessentially French!

Last week I had the good fortune to spend five scrumptious days in Paris, at the end of a two week trip to France. But even though I had put Red Thread on a brief pause to soak up this stunning change of scenery, I could not resist scouring the city for beautiful children’s clothing. I was curious to see how Parisian children are dressed, and wondered if I might find some inspiration there. Inspiration was everywhere, of course! This will be a brief introduction, and I’ll post more discoveries in the coming weeks. First, here are a few lines that left the strongest impression on me.

CdeC shop, Paris

The CdeC shop at 93 rue du Bac in the 7eme is like a tiny jewel. I wonder if this lovely shop could accommodate even a single stroller.

I was pleasantly shocked at the abundance of gorgeous children’s shops, from the tiniest shop I’ve ever seen, CdeC by Cordelia de Castellano, to the endless beautifully-styled rooms of Bonpoint.

The CdeC by Cordelia de Castellano shop at 93 rue du Bac was not on my destination list – I stumbled upon it and was delighted by its diminutive size. This is only one outlet of many, and the line is very traditional and precious, like many in France. Their website has a beautiful little video showing the photo shoot for their Fall Collection, just as precious as the clothing that’s featured.

Much larger and in a similar (high) price bracket is the legendary store Bonpoint. Housed in a stunning building at 6 rue de Tournon in the 6eme, Bonpoint is a visual feast with numerous small rooms revealing its delectable displays covering more than 10,000 square feet, with a stunning cafe and courtyard to boot. If you visit, I dare you to try to keep your mouth politely closed while perusing this temple of luxury for children. The web link above also features a stunning little video, in case you enjoy that sort of thing (I do).

A wall in the grand entrance hall at Bonpoint provides a graphic display of the Fall collection for girls

A wall in the grand entrance hall at Bonpoint provides a graphic display of the Fall collection for girls

Much of the high-end clothing I saw was very traditional, with an abundance of Liberty prints, delicate blouses, and classic cuts in luxurious fabrics. One of the most traditional French lines is Jacadi, and I really enjoyed perusing this collection, as it manages to be both elegant and unstuffy. Jacadi shops are found worldwide, so if it floats your boat it’s easy to find, at a price.

And now for something completely different: do you prefer lots of colour, Asian design, more modern shapes?  If so, you might love Petit Pan, as I did. This line was created through a collaboration between a Chinese kite designer and a Belgian artist, and includes clothing, toys, home decor, printed fabrics and accessories, with a strong focus on products for babies and young children.

Visiting shops in Paris in August is not ideal, as many are either closed or busy switching over their inventory to prepare for the new season. I caught Petit Pan full of cardboard boxes, but that not dimish my joy at this discovery one bit.

Visiting shops in Paris in August is not ideal, as many are either closed or switching over their inventory to prepare for the new season. I caught Petit Pan full of cardboard boxes, but that did not diminish my joy at this discovery one bit.

Classic styles and luxury goods are very popular in Paris, so I wasn’t surprised to find children’s clothing reflecting the same interest. But the abundance impressed me, as did the prices. In Part Two I’ll talk more about the variety of styles available at different price points. In the meantime, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions of great spots you’ve found in Paris, I’d love to hear them!

À la prochaine,
Devorah

Red Thread Design

Do you have a calm, compliant child who’s always in the mood for whatever needs to be done? Congratulations! The rest of us hate you. Go read something else! If not, I hope you find this helpful. Just click on the graphic to view it full-size.

How to buy clothes for you 3-year-old without losing your mind

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I’ve already shared with you my outrage about the lax safety standards in garment factories that have led to the deaths of hundreds of workers overseas in the past few years, workers sewing clothing for us and for our children. But our outrage, however deeply felt at the moment of a catastrophe, is clearly not making an impact on the safety of workers, particularly those in Bangladesh, and I just can’t let it go.

These are not rare events. The devastating fire that killed more than 100 people in a garment factory in Bangladesh last week was notable only for its scale. Authorities declared that the loss of life would have been dramatically lower if the exits had not been locked from the outside.

Why would any company allow its products to be made in a facility that permits workers’ lives to be put at risk? Are we truly willing to sacrifice human life in exchange for low labour costs? What’s stopping us from demanding answers to these questions?

Katrina Onstad wrote an excellent article in The Globe and Mail last week on this subject entitled “The real cost of our ‘fast fashion’ consumption culture.” I encourage you to read it if you’re interested, not to provoke guilt but rather to increase mindfulness. The link is here.

I know very well, of course, that on the subject of children’s clothing it’s far more pleasant to think about beautiful colour and design, and natural to celebrate a great bargain.  But unless we all pay a little more attention to how our clothing is made, and start demanding that manufacturers meet standards of human fairness and safety, nothing is going to change.