Are we really going to take style advice from children?

Harper Beckham has been hailed as a "fashion influencer", but, asks Laura Craik, do grown women really want to dress like a six year old?

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By Laura Craik on

Last summer, I bought a nice white dress, as I do every summer, because that’s the way I roll. I’m the dolt who still thinks one is out there that will make me look like Marilyn Monroe, Jane Birkin, Bianca Jagger and the Cadbury’s Flake girl all in one. I was especially pleased with White Dress 2016: it ticked more boxes than White Dress 2015, being possessed of the requisite boxy shape my giant stomach requires, as well as the right degree of broderie Anglais, aka: not enough to make you look like one of those doilies your gran puts under her pot pourri. Better still, for once it wasn’t from Zara, meaning there was less danger than usual of seeing 241 other women wearing the same dress.

Sure enough, all through the summer, I didn’t see any women wearing it. Only Harper Beckham. Uh-huh. There she was, bold as brass, en route to LAX in my white dress. A six year old had stolen my look. She was even wearing it with the same white sandals. Although of course, she had completely outdone me, because while I accessorised mine with tatty white Birkenstocks, she’d accessorised hers with David Beckham.

Laura with her daughters Eliza (left) and Violet (right)

I should explain that my (sorry, Harper’s) dress was from Bonpoint, the French childrenswear brand that also does a small, lesser-known collection for adults called YAM. YAM isn’t high street prices, but nor is it as eye-wateringly expensive as Bonpoint’s childrenswear. I think the dress cost around £150. Would I spend that on a dress for my daughters? Hell, no. But then, I won’t grow out of it.

I’m genuinely curious as to whether other grown women are moved to purchase some fiendshly expensive designer garment on the basis that it looks good on a 3 foot tall child

After a brief period of feeling embarrassed, I decided it was funny to have the same dress as a six year old. Although judging by the tone of recent reports, I shouldn’t have felt “embarrassed” so much as “blessed”. Earlier this week, the Daily Telegraph ran a story headlined How Harper Beckham Became A Fashion Influencer At The Age of Six, alluding to the Burberry, Stella McCartney and Chloe ensembles she habitually wears when perched front row at her mother’s New York fashion shows. Harper also had input into Victoria Beckham’s first childrenswear collection for Target. “She’s very opinionated about what she will and won’t wear,” Victoria explained at the time.

So, presumably, are North West and Blue Ivy, whose tender years (they’re four and five respectively) don’t seem to preclude them from being “style icons” either. North is regularly rhapsodised over for her “custom Balmain and Alexander Wang”, while Blue Ivy’s chic way with a Gucci sundress is the stuff of legend. “We’re not ashamed to admit we’d copy these outfits in a hearbeat”, one fashion website declared breathlessly of North, adding that “she knows the power of a statement fur”.  “Every time North West steps out in a new outfit, she manages to look like the walking definition of cool,” said Harper’s Bazaar, pointing out that she has “already mastered slip dresses, fur slides, Vetements and a corset”.

To me, North looks disconcertingly like a mini-adult when she wears fur / biker jackets / corsets, but each to their own. It’s not how I’d dress my kids, because I figure they have the rest of their lives to wear hot, sweaty, dry clean only clothes. But then, my kids aren’t brand extensions. Harper Beckham’s name is already trademarked, and you can bet North and Blue Ivy’s are, too. You’d never call Prince George or Princess Charlotte anything as gauche as a brand extension, but as a way of kindling renewed interest in the Royal Family, they’re unparalleled. However vast your fame or social standing, you’ll want to remain relevant to the next generation. That’s how you keep your fame.

As someone who bought the same dress as a six year old by complete accident, I’m genuinely curious as to whether other grown women are moved to purchase some fiendshly expensive designer garment on the basis that it looks good on a three foot tall child. Little girls look great in everything. It doesn’t mean that you will. Does this need pointing out? I hope not – but who knows?


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Laura Craik

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