Party dresses, boy layers at de la Renta kid show

Associated Press Modified: September 12, 2012 at 7:51 pm •  Published: September 12, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — Like a proud grandfather, Oscar de la Renta beamed from one side of a runway Wednesday high above 42nd Street as bite-size models showed off his first full children's collection for spring, a garden party of floral and lace party dresses for girls and classic layered looks for boys.

One lucky little model hitched a ride in a wagon painted in a blue petal design to complement her red dress in the same print. Two boys toted skateboards for their strut down the runway and two others glided on scooters.

Some had their end-of-runway pause before the cameras down like the bigger pros — and all wore huge smiles. The young walkers ranged in age from 3 to 9.

De la Renta launched a small collection of kidswear for spring of this year, expanded it for fall 2012 and now has a more extensive spring line for 2013. Though far from the priciest, he's among top fashion designers pushing more expensive duds for the increasingly lucrative toddler-with-bucks market, though many of the fancy formal frocks or playwear fall within range for a special gift from a loved one.

Dolce & Gabbana and Marni also launched kid collections this fall as luxury stores Nordstrom and Bergdorf Goodman expand children's sections. Also showing at New York Fashion Week this time around was Ralph Lauren, a holiday collection introducing a young customer to his mix of oft-layered patterns and textures.

There were colored skinny cords and flouncy short skirts paired with puffer jackets, tuxedo shirts and chunky sweaters on Lauren's kid runway earlier in the week.

De la Renta, known for his $5,000 romantic cocktail dresses, struggled to come up with the right partner who also shared his view that clothes should be appropriate for children, said CEO Alex Bolen, the designer's son-in-law.

The fashion house also wanted to make sure prices would be relatively affordable, to let the designer reach new customers who felt intimidated by heftier price tags for women.

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