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Designer Nursery Wear for the Baby Who Has Everything

May 26, 2000|VALLI HERMAN-COHEN | TIMES SENIOR FASHION WRITER

Babies have long been showered with luxuries meant as heirlooms--Tiffany silver rattles and Cartier spoons. But nowadays the rich are teaching their young to flaunt their wealth even before they can walk.

Why not spend thousands of dollars so the little ones can have a white mink, a hand-painted castle bed or other ultra-luxurious baby products? As F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in "The Rich Boy" (1926), "Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me." Yes, they have the bucks to squander, and designers are lovin' it.

Gucci Baby is the latest designer collection aimed at parents who pamper. Pick up any children's fashion magazine and gorgeous mini-models are wearing fur vests from Missoni Kids, logo-printed sandals by Young Versace and Moschino, and tiny versions of adult styles from Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, CK Calvin Klein Jeans, Dolce & Gabbana's D&G line and Christian Dior.

Neiman Marcus features sterling and gold baby jewelry and gifts by artist John Hardy. Never mind the potential danger to an infant from the heavy silver and gold bracelet ($235) or the necklace ($395) long enough to choke. A recent Neiman's by Mail catalog, NM Child, opens with a $28,000 hand-painted castle bed.

Now Gucci, that purveyor of status bags, boots and body-conscious clothes, is offering babies $4,250 white mink coats, $1,500 leather jackets, $995 GG-logo jackets with matching $295 pants and $90 logo baby booties.

The line was inspired by special gifts that Gucci designer Tom Ford made up for expectant friends such as Madonna and Uma Thurman, a company spokesman said. The spokesman said the items were very well received and, furthermore, fit with the company's expansion into luxury-everything products, which lately includes designer condom holders, dog beds and handcuffs.

Gucci Baby isn't just for best-dressed bambinos. It's also for logo-loving moms who tote the $800 canvas diaper bag backpack, baby carrier or belt bag--all with water-repellent fabric and washable linings.

Judging by the early reaction, Gucci said it expects its clothing collection to be a huge hit, even though it comes in only one size to fit infants from 6 months to 1 year old. The Gucci boutiques are primed to take orders for the collection, which won't hit store shelves until July.

Meanwhile, parents will have to be satisfied with the old-fashioned method for competitive parenting--bragging about whose kid is smarter.

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Valli Herman-Cohen can be e-mailed at valli.herman-cohen@latimes.com.

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