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Oct 10-12, 2020, NECC (Shanghai), China

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The Retro Childrenswear Market Revived by Princess Charlotte and Prince George


To mark the Queen's 90th birthday today, Annie Leibovitz photographed Her Majesty with seven of her grand children and great-grandchildren. But what is striking in these images is that the young royals, representing the future of the royal family, are dressed perhaps even more traditionally than the 90-year-old monarch herself. "It's that classical upper class English children's look which will never, ever date," says royal biographer and commentator Ingrid Seward of Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Mia Tindall, Isla Phillips and Savannah Phillips's outfits.   

While the Queen wears a loose open collared shirt, pleated skirt and loafers, her grandchildren look like they have been transported from a bygone era in frilled collars, ruffled socks, Edwardian smock dresses and sensible t-bar shoes. Traditional outfits that could well have been worn by the Queen herself as a young girl.



As with their mother, within hours of the photographs being released royal fashion watchers raced to identify Prince George and Princess Charlotte's outfits - a easier than usual task, given that they are remarkably similar to other outfits the kids have worn previously. 



Prince George is wearing a navy cardigan by Fina Ejerique, which is currently reduced from £36 to £25. He wore a blue jumper by this brand in the official Cambridge family photograph shared in November. Paired with smartly tailored red shorts, navy blue pulled up socks, most likely from Amaia Kids, and a white collared shirt with a red trim.

Princess Charlotte is wearing an almost-identical outfit to the one she has worn in her previous official photographs, even down to her tights. Her £23 dusty pink floral dress with a ruffled neckline is from Madrid-based M & H's Autumn Winter 2015 collection, and is now sold out, and is very similar to the £21 dress by the Spanish label she wore in her first solo portraits. She is also wearing pink ribbed tights by Spanish label Amaia Kids and white t-bar pumps.

Seward believes that the similarity in Princess Charlotte's outfit in this newly released image could be an intentional way to control some of the hype which inevitably arises when a new picture is released. "I'm sure it's a way to protect her as a little girl," she told The Telegraph. Indeed in the image released yesterday of the Queen with Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George which will create four new stamps, Prince George is also wearing an identical Rachel Riley outfit to the one in the images of him holding Princess Charlotte just a few weeks after her birth. It's highly likely that the same outfits would have been bought in multiple sizes to achieve this. This means that for the next couple of years, we could be seeing Prince George and Princess Charlotte in the same outfits again and again- think of it as Sunday Best or "your best frock" says Seward. 



Prince George has worn Rachel Riley outfits for most of his official outings, including Princess Charlotte’s Christening and the portrait that was released this week to commemorate the Queen’s 90th birthday. “They have chosen a very traditional look and are a traditional family,” Riley tells The Telegraph of how the royal couple dress their children. “We have been doing very similar things for 18 years in that our collection is classic. The reason why I design clothes that way is because if they wear very simple things, it’s about the child, and it’s timeless in that you can’t really date a specific photo or put them in something that seems out of date. I think they are going for clothing that is classic and timeless, because that photograph is about him and his beaming smile rather than the clothes or drawing attention to them.”

Although the London-based designer is inspired by traditional children's clothes, she modernises the styles. “I look at photos of that historical period and of course what the royal children wear, but it has to have look relevant for today," she explains. "For example, Prince William wore a shirt and bloomer set, I don’t think we’ve ever seen Prince George in bloomers and I don’t think he would today. But shorts with turn ups is a traditional look, but is still relevant for today. When they are little, children traditionally would always wear shorts.”


While these outfits may appear old-fashioned, Riley notes that these are formal occasions and the children have to dress appropriately. “In the stamp portrait the Queen is wearing a formal dress and Charles and William are wearing suits, so it’s appropriate for Prince George, even though he’s two, to wear a formal outfit. Shorts and a shirt is appropriate for his age - he wouldn’t wear a mini suit and he wouldn’t wear anything too casual because everyone else is looking formal.”

Prince George and Princess Charlotte have undoubtedly ignited a new interest in traditional childrenswear. The £85 romper Prince George wore to his sister's christening, for example, sold out in mere hours. "There has been a revival in the UK of parents buying into a more traditional way of dressing their children, which is reminiscent of how they, or their parents, dressed as children. We've noticed this especially since the birth of Prince George,” says Simona Saraz, Head Buyer at Igloo Kids which specialises in designer childrenswear tells The Telegraph.

Kate and William's desire to dress their children more formally could also be the reason they are turning to Spanish labels, such as M&H  and Fina Ejerique.“In Spain, it is more commonplace for children to dress in this way, which is now becoming more frequent in the UK,” explains Saraz - a Spaniard herself. “Brands such as Paz Rodriguez and Manuela de Juan have been instrumental in this rediscovery of nostalgic children’s clothing." Of course, it also helps that the Royal nanny Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo is Spanish. She was reported to have bought Charlotte's M&H floral dress in Valladolid in Spain - thus ensuring that if Charlotte is going to wear the same outfit repeatedly at least she won't bump into others at playdates in the same Zara kids creation. 

source: telegraph