DVF starts courting them young at Gap

SAMANTHA CRITCHELL
The Associated Press
Modified: March 9, 2012 at 6:07 pm •  Published: March 9, 2012
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Today's little girls are probably the wrap-dress wearers of the future, so why not just start them young?

Gap tapped Diane von Furstenberg, who has built her business on easy-to-wear, cheerful wrap dresses, for a limited-edition girls collection that arrives in U.S. stores next week.

It's another designer label for the kids' closet, joining the likes of Gucci, Stella McCartney and Burberry.

When first approached by Gap, however, von Furstenberg said no. "I always thought I didn't want to do children's clothes," von Furstenberg said in a telephone interview. "I did do a little in the '70s, but I stopped because I wanted girls to take their time to grow up to be women."

But then she thought about taking colors and prints, and making them stylish in an age-appropriate way. She is pleased with the results, describing the wrap rompers, T-shirt dresses, capri leggings and other items as the right balance of fun and practicality, she said.

Von Furstenberg was the right partner to go after, said Art Peck, president of Gap North America. She's surefire buzz and fashion credibility, he said.

Although he joined the company after the project was in the works, he said she would have been at the top of his list, too, because both brands aim for a straightforward style instead of garments that are fussy or uncomfortable. Gap is looking to get back to its roots after some years of declining sales.