Upcoming royal baby already inspires clothes, accessories and glitz


Kansas City Star

Harper Williams lays her pretty little head down to sleep every night in a round bed with a pink canopy and bed linens much nicer than the ones on her parents’ bed.

On the wall next to the dresser hangs a custom mirror framed with vintage jewelry and strands of faux pearls. The crystal sconces flanking it coordinate with the room’s chandelier.

She has an on-suite bathroom and a walk-in closet stuffed with clothes.

Harper is 4 months old.

Once upon a time, luxuries like these belonged to only the poshest of babies, like the one making news in London, the first offspring of Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge.

But in these egalitarian times full of bling-y binkies, cashmere blankies, baby buggies with cupholders and throne-shaped rocking chairs, any baby can get the royal treatment.

If Mom and Dad are willing to max out the credit cards.

“Everybody thinks their baby is a royal baby. It happens every time,” says Pam DiCapo, owner of Lauren Alexandra children’s boutique, who designed Harper’s nursery in Leawood.

Local parents, for instance, apparently can’t have enough professional portraits of their little princes and princesses.

Photographer Christina Lundeen has been creating family portraits here for five years. But her baby business is skyrocketing, she says.

At $250, her most popular package involves photographing a baby within the first 10 days of its life, and again at three months, six months and the one-year mark.

The portraits take on a patrician flavor when babies are photographed with family heirlooms like quilts and jewelry. She recently photographed one baby in her christening gown, made from her grandmother’s wedding dress.

“That whole approach of maybe our parents’ generation, where babies were meant to be seen and not heard, I think society has changed to where babies are front and center in our lives now,” says Lundeen, who is pregnant with her second daughter.

And of course, if you’re going to have your little princess front and center, she must be well-dressed. Fashion houses that used to clothe only men and women — Hermes, Burberry, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana among them — now dress kids, too.

A Baby Dior hand-knit dress will set you back a mortgage payment at $1,300.

(If your name is Suri Cruise, Christian Louboutin will make shoes just for you.)

At her store in Brookside, DiCapo sells Ralph Lauren Onesies ($29.50) and sequined, newborn-size Mary Janes made by ballet-shoe maker Bloch ($65.50).

The Venetian gold crib, the popular choice among her customers right now? It costs $1,100, and that’s before DiCapo glams it up with hundreds of dollars worth of custom bedding and bed skirts.

With the royal birth looming, much has been reported recently about the lifestyle of pampered tots, both British born and the American kind, aka Hollywood celebrity offspring. This is how we know that Sandra Bullock, flush from “The Heat,” recently bought her 3-year-old son, Louis, an Andy Warhol print at an auction for $14,000.

So much to choose from. The hand-tuned, 16-tone baby rattle made of German silver that also comes in a 14-carat gold plated version, $70 to $200 at Luxist.com? The sterling silver bubble wand for $145 at Barney’s New York? The leather car seat with a cupholder, $875 at Bambibaby.com, or the Cinderella carriage/baby crib, $19,000 at Poshtots.com.

Or one could blow the college fund on the $17,000 pacifier, pavé set with 3 carats of diamonds, on Amazon.com. Hurry, only three left!

We assume the royal baby will be born with a silver spoon, not a binky, in its mouth.

Better make that a $130 sterling silver spoon from Tiffany & Co. In recent years the famous house of diamonds has expanded its baby-gift section to include porcelain baby dishes in the famous Tiffany blue and hand-painted earthenware piggy banks.

That $130 spoon goes quite nicely with Tiffany’s $475 sterling silver baby cup. (The cup with the silver bow costs $550.)

Such a cup should runneth over with privilege. The royal baby cup certainly will. The baby will have not one but two royal nurseries, one at Kensington Palace and one at Kate’s parents’ estate in the small English community of Bucklebury. At the palace, the new royal family will live in an apartment said to be four stories with nearly 20 rooms.

Sounds grand, yet royal watchers don’t expect Kate to be a high-maintenance mum. There is talk that she will shun the traditional stable of help — the nanny, assistant nanny, nursery maid and nursery footman.

We know little about the royal nursery. Friends say that Kate’s decorating tastes reflect her fashion style — classic and elegant. So we don’t expect her to blow $2 million on a nursery like Elton John and David Furnish reportedly did for their son, Zachary.

You can bet on all that is holy and British that we will never see the royal baby bestowed the same indulgences as one little American princess named Blue Ivy Carter, daughter of Beyonce and Jay-Z. Somehow we can’t envision any baby in Kensington Palace having a bath in a $5,200 Swarovski crystal-studded porcelain tub like Blue Ivy’s.

Soooo new money.

Or riding atop a solid gold, $600,000 horse, like the one reportedly created for Blue Ivy by a Japanese jeweler.

Sniff. The new prince or princess of Cambridge will have real ponies, of course; how else to ride to the hounds?

We don’t expect the future king or queen of England to strike a pose in baby gear by French haute couture designer Jean Paul Gaultier. (Burberry, perhaps.) Kate has been photographed buying baby things where other well-to-do British mommies shop, in high-end London boutiques.

Two items she purchased — a $500 Moses basket and a $1,200 Bugaboo baby stroller — quickly set off copycat purchases among lowly commoners. The blue-striped Bugaboo she was seen with already has been dubbed the “Kate stroller.”

What? No Aston Martin buggy for the royal tyke? Earlier this year, the luxury carmaker teamed up with another well-known British brand, Silver Cross baby carriage company, to produce what it called the “most exclusive pram in the world.”

Only 800 of the uber baby buggies, with leather upholstery just like that used in the cars, were produced.

Silver Cross traditionally supplies prams to royalty and celebrities.

But Aston Martin officials wouldn’t say if the newest royal will travel in one of these tricked-out carriages.

Maybe if it came with a driver.

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