Babies: the latest fashion accessory

Previously thought of as a bit messy and disruptive to beauty sleep, babies are hot – as Givenchy's latest campaign proves

Fashion, as everyone knows, loves an accessory – especially if it's alive. Dogs regularly invade the catwalk at Mulberry's shows and superstylist Katie Grand dots her Twitter feed with updates on her rabbit Clara as much as supermodel Cara. After a period last year when cats were the new dogs – see Choupette, Karl Lagerfeld's kitten with three maids – the menagerie has transformed to a creche. The latest living fashion accessory? Babies.

While they were previously thought of as a bit messy and liable to disrupt beauty sleep, fashion has – as only it can – changed its mind when it comes to infants. Model Mariacarla Boscono is featured in the latest Givenchy campaign clutching her naked baby daughter, Marialucas, while Julia Restoin-Roitfeld – daughter of Carine – launched website Romy and the Bunnies last week. Restoin-Roitfeld set up the site, named after her daughter, to "merge my sense of aesthetic as an art director, with my discoveries as a new mother," she says. "The site is a style guide, but also a place to get inspired in many other ways and enjoy beautiful imagery." See arty shots of yummy mummies such as Helena Christensen and Restoin-Roitfeld herself in sexy Norma Kamali.

This trend could be linked to the impending birth of a new heir to the throne in the summer, and hip-hop royalty courtesy of Kimye's baby. Then there's the fact that both Phoebe Philo at Celine and Alexander McQueen's Sarah Burton recently had babies, and changed their catwalk presentations from full-on shows to smaller events to accommodate that. "This aspect of their lives has become much more visible," says Lucie Greene, editor of trends forecasters LS:N Global. "Editors, designers and executives talking about their own babies, and featuring them in campaigns, helps them connect with women."

But babies became officially sanctioned by fashion – rather than something you hide until they're cute enough to sit in the front row – thanks to a man. Last October Tom Ford announced that he and his partner Richard Buckley had a baby boy, Alexander, also known as Jack. A life of sick-covered muslin, late nights and nappies was suddenly gilded with a little extra glamour.

Last week, in an interview with American Vogue, the renowned control freak even confessed that he liked changing diapers and spends "two or three hours before I go to the office, just me and Jack". He later refers to his son as his "production this year", in lieu of a film, so there's definitely more than a regular parental relationship going on. This is about building a brand with your genes. You can't get any more control than that – until they start talking, anyway.

Lauren Cochrane

The GuardianTramp

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