Playing dress-up with baby dolls Fashion from New York

Oh, grow up! If designers showing their spring collections here are trying to draw a younger customer into the designer market, they've regressed too far -- to kindergarten, in fact.

Kiddie chic may be cute as the dickens on the playground set, but the grown-ups with fat piggy banks who can afford these clothes had better be careful.


Take the baby doll dress, please. Those sweet designs with a high bodice and full, short little skirt are the darlings of the runways, and at their most extreme, at Anna Sui's show. She played kiddie dress-up to the hilt with a series of white eyelet party dresses. There were puffed sleeves, pinafores and ruffled bloomers. For the sophisticated toddler, she showed black bloomers under white eyelet.

To prove that she's just playing, Ms. Sui accessorized the baby dolls with mommy's borrowed rhinestone chokers and marabou stoles. White ankle socks and clunky heels reinforced the age gap. She crossed the gender gap, too, and dressed men in flower-sprig baby dolls over long johns. But that's another story.


At Ghost, the label premiere for British designer Tanya Sarne, the baby dolls had a bit more edge as neon-hot little slips with matching knickers.

In front-row seats were big Ivana Trump, wearing a very young baby blue suit, and little doll daughter Ivanka in mature head-to-toe black. By the old rules, they should have traded outfits.

A slick, sophisticated baby doll was shown by Isaac Mizrahi -- very short and strapless with matching boxer shorts.

Ralph Lauren kept out of the nursery and did his best with the primary grades. His short, pleated kilts, prep school jackets and schoolgirl shirts were young and clean. Go the the head of the class, Ralph.