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Why I won’t let my grandchildren dress like opera stars

The heart sank today to learn that the Opéra de Paris has teamed up with two brands to dress singers. One is Christian Lacroix. No problem there.

The other is Petit Bateau, which makes the most expensive kiddies clothes anywhere on earth and is now upgrading to adults.

Actually, Petit Bateau is quite cute. Old-fashioned, over-priced and skimpy also spring to mind. Was that £38 they wanted for a t-shirt?

They’re dressing the new mother-and-daughter collection for the opera (in shops on December 6), and I’m out. Kids get enough pretentious pressures put on them without having to be decked out like divas or society dames. Our clan will stick to what we know. The Opéra de Paris can keep its brand.


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  1. I don’t think that will be a problem on this side of the “pond.” Girls are more apt to dress like Miley Cyrus, e.g., than any opera singer. Kids, in America, alas, wouldn’t know Jonas Kaufman from Nick Jonas! I thought we were the only country that went nuts sexualizing young girls. Lord what fools….

  2. George Smith says:

    articles like this should not be here. While hundreds of great musician need press, you chose to post this. Meaningless.
    To me Norman this is your lowest bit of journalism.

    • Dear Mr. Smith, There are issues worth discussion here should you choose to see them (not least that Slipped Disc belongs to Norman Lebrecht). I’m happy to say that Mr. Lebrecht, over the years, has gone much lower than this, and I, for one, hope he continues to do so for many years to come (and well said, Ed)!

    • Opera is seen as elitist and snobbish amongst many young people. To fight this nonsense, it would be more reasonable to bring out an opera fashion line which is affordable on a normal family budget.

      However, I can’t see a fault in trying to make money by selling expensive souvenirs.

  3. George- Norman’s is one of the few sites that has gone to bat for musicians all over the world, so have a heart and give him a break. The site also deals with larger cultural issues of music and art, and in this regard the article here is very relevant to the branding of cultural tastes, or affectations thereof. It is not irrelevant that some of their customers are the folks making everyone poorer including musicians, or that musicians depend on their largesse for their existence.

  4. Norman – I think you have led a sheltered life re childrens clothes if you think that Petit Bateau makes the most expensive kiddies clothes anywhere on earth. Shop around London for a start.
    Stick to the music. You know what they say never work with children and animals – slightly adapted.

  5. I agree with Ed. Norman’s is a totally legitimate critique. As if the opera field doesn’t have enough snobbish pretensions associated with it, it doesn’t need ridiculously overpriced clothing line stuck to its image. I know the French take great pride in their fashion, and that’s legitimate. But opera needs a designer with a more populist message.

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