Beside each carefully curated mini clothes rail backstage at the Bonpoint show sat a Charles Eames-inspired chair for each of the diminutive models to sit on while their shoes were fastened and hair fixed...
To paraphrase the mid-century furniture designer’s motto, Bonpoint takes children’s pleasure very seriously. Nothing is too much for the luxury maison – right down to the models’ seating arrangements prior to their turn on the runway. Detail, form and function are at the heart of everything they do.
“Charles Eames cultivated pleasure and happiness,” says Christine Innamorato, the brand’s artistic director backstage at the Galerie de Mineralogie in Paris’ Jardin des Plantes. “All of his work was around the joy of life, family, important details…I believe his philosophy truly fits with the Bonpoint universe. Overall, to appreciate happiness, and in this day-and-age, with the world as it is, it is important to cultivate more happiness and Bonpoint is here to do just that.”
There is a pursuit of excellence that just doesn’t seem to be present elsewhere in childrenswear. Whether it’s the cut and fit of the clothes (Bonpoint showed 80-plus looks and held more than 60 fittings to ensure that every piece is perfect) or the finish, with six stitches per centimeter. Only the finest cashmere, velvet, jacquard and tweed are used, and it’s probably why it doesn’t feel out of place to show during couture week.
“Backstage is like a military organisation,” explains Christine. “It has to be! It is exactly the same as holding a women’s catwalk show. Every look and outfit has to be tried on, it has to fit the child’s personality and look. We have a big team managing the children. I would say the preparations take a minimum of one week leading up to the show.”
But there is nothing forced or vulgar in the styling or presentation – the children are free to be themselves.
“I choose children who have strong personalities, who are not ‘perfect’ models, I don’t want to have kids who are used to doing shows, there has to be something different about them,” explains Christine of the casting process. And the models are not afraid to give their opinions on what they are wearing.
“Some of the little girls give us instant feedback on how much they love their chosen dresses – they all have an opinion!” says Christine. “Sometimes they won’t like something but that rarely happens. In general, we never have any problems with what they are required to wear. These days children have very strong personalities that they like to express which is great! You can’t make kids do what they don’t want.”
Perhaps it’s just one of life’s universal truths – the French are amazing at childrenswear – but somehow Bonpoint takes it to a whole new level. It’s why some of the most glamorous mummies in the world were there (Coco Rocha, Alessandra Ambrosio, Baroness Caroline Sieber Von Westenholz) many with their adorable protégées smiling and clapping on the front row.