Today’s post written by Anna; photography by Edwina.

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The Life InStyle trade-only event, incorporating Kids InStyle, the baby and kids component of the show, was held at the Flemington Racecourse Grandstand in Melbourne, Australia from 10– 13 August 2010.

Showcasing 95 baby and kids brands, and over 180 lifestyle and homewares brands, the event delivered on its promise to “bring style to life”, with a universal high standard of product and display evident.

Angela, Edwina and I attended the show, and we have put together our top 20 picks – in no particular order; they are all number 1 for their own merits – from this edition of Kids InStyle for you. We also video interviewed select brands – please click here to view.

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1. Mamas & Papas, represented by Childsmart, presented their newest product the Morph baby carrier. Due for release in Australia from October, Morph features space age looks and a revolutionary harness system and is able to be used for babies from birth up to 12kg. View a fantastic demonstration of Morph in action here.

2. Baobab, represented by Sales by Jo and Laura, captured our attention with their collection for AW2011 collection for babies and boys and girls to 10 years. Bold prints and colours against deep backgrounds, attention to detail – contrast studs and stunning tulle – and trademark quirky cuts project a thoughtful and simplified sense of sophistication and a fun-filled childhood. The Baobab AW2011 collection will be available in stores from March 2011.

3. Adri, represented by My Little Closet, makes seriously fun underwear for boys and girls. Designed in France and made in Portugal from 100% organic cotton,  we fell head over heels with the quirky and loveable prints from this label. As well as being uber cool for kids, each pair comes in its own special 100% recycled box with matching mask! Who would have thought we could fall so hard for a pair of undies?!

4. Little Rivet Jeans Shown for the first time at this Kids InStyle, Little Rivet Jeans are a great new introduction to the market. Australian designed and made from high quality denim with particular attention to the finer finishing details – the stressed finishes for boys and the heart shaped back pockets for girls – there’s a lot to love about these jeans for boys and girls in sizes 1-14. The stand out feature of this range has to be the extraordinary and comprehensive range of colours – soft grey, yellow, aqua, lime green, not to mention a selection of different denims. The hardest part will be choosing which one you can’t live without because they’re all so darn cute!

5. Mister Mista Specialising in limited edition tees for boys, it was great to meet the clever duo behind this funky label. Travis is a brilliant illustrator, and together with partner Renee and their newfound experience as young parents, they bring a unique set of skills and insight to Mister Mista. As well as the limited edition tees, Mister Mista also make fabulous boyish wall decals in varying sizes, wall decal clocks, a range of prints and greeting cards. A new development launched at Kids InStyle, and a true highlight of the show for me, are their new Spooky Eggs. We brought a few home and trialed them on our own children with brilliant results. A simple toy designed to trick anyone who dares upon the little envelope containing the ‘spooky eggs’ is bound to be a hit with older kids and adults alike. We are convinced Mister Mista have a winner on their hands with this delightful little idea!

6. Aunty Ollie Beautiful as always, and all the more so with her pregnant halo, designer Jodie Hampshire from Aunty Ollie was on hand to personally show us through her new collection for autumn/winter 2011. The upcoming collection for babies and boys and girls right up to size 12, sees the introduction of some sweet new prints on quality fabrics and some very lovely raincoats. We were all especially taken by the pieces – jeans, skirts, coats and dresses – Jodie has developed using denim. The added touches of hand embroidery and some new cuts in dresses are bound to delight you, and we believe signals a denim revival. The Aunty Ollie AW11 collection will be available in-store at Aunty Ollie from October 2010.

7. Studio Skinky In addition to their already established and versatile Tortellini Cushions which can be used for breastfeeding, then for resting babies head when lying down, then around baby’s back for early sitting; Studio Skinky showcased for the first time at Kid InStyle their brand new baby crayons. Their bright colours had me eyeing off the display from across the room. The crayons handle nicely, can be stacked on top of one another easily, are beautifully boxed and still at a great price point (rrp $12.00). These will make handy stocking filler and gift for toddlers this Christmas.

8. Left Hand Make showcased their handcrafted Small One table and chair set and Soar swing, together with their new line of coat hooks, aptly named ‘Into The Pines’ and ‘Twiggy’. Suitable for use in kids’ rooms, hallways, or anywhere in the house really, these pieces offer beautiful design with practical function. In a lovely range of sizes, these are a wonderful useable piece of art.

9. Little Bubble and Tree’s stand was bright, fun and fresh – like what many of my summer childhood memories feel like when I relive them. In an array of bright colours, Little Bubble and Tree offer summer kaftans, as well as beautifully constructed hand made necklaces made of a mixture of crochet flowers and painted wood pieces.

10. Miller & Harry Made from organic, sustainable and natural fibers Miller & Harry make clothing for boys and girls ages 0-24 months. This was the first time we had felt a textile combining both wool and soy fibre and it was a revelation. Comprising the luxuriance, hard wearing nature, lightness and warmth of cashmere, keep your eye out for Miller & Harry pieces for your little ones.

11. Sweet Little Things Kids InStyle saw the launch of brand new (edible!) label Sweet Little Things. Sweet Little Things’ edible cake decorations are sure to come to the rescue of many a parent with their fantastic range of cake toppers for boys and girls, with gorgeous baking packs and retro aprons also on offer to complete the experience.

12. Live Play Create On display at Kids InStyle was Live Play Create who are creators of some very unique, sustainable and stylish toys and homewares. We loved their Fruut Tree and sacks the most, which is an ingenious system for storing your little ones’ collections of little things. To use the canvas sacks simply lay on floor, cover with items of choice, pull closed and then hang on the tree, which is mounted on the wall. The Fruut Tree not only offers a superb storage solution, but is a very appealing décor feature for your home.

13. Terry Rich For Children In a great range of gelato coloured stripes for boys and girls as well as a beautiful white waffle style, or lightweight cotton for slipping on in summer, Terry Rich’s quality towels and robes will add a touch of luxury at the beach or poolside this year.

14. Ubabub It was a joy to meet the clever minds behind Ubabub. Creators Natasha and Daniel Dumais are utterly delightful, and their modern, ultra-stylish and ultra-safe cots design have revolutionised cot design in one fell swoop. Stay tuned for further additions to this exciting brand coming soon.

15. Mae Fabric Wall Stickers The girls at Mae have not rested in their enthusiasm to create and a bounty of beautiful new repositionable fabric wall sticker designs were unveiled at the show. Mae fabric wall stickers come in a range of sizes, both large and mini and able to handle all the ‘love’ your little ones can throw their way, scrunching a specialty! Watch for the new nature inspired designs which include an Australian animal themed collection, as well as range of Christmas stickers for you to deck the halls with when the time comes.

16. Bluebird & Honey presented a departure from their iconic appliquéd denim dresses and tees with their spring/summer 2010-11 collection focusing on fresh light cotton printed sundresses, hats, singlet’s, bloomers and shorts plus accessories and beautifully presented gifts that will make summer shopping a breeze. Santa take note!

17. Agoo displayed all of their active-wear, outerwear and their gorgeous socks and leg warmers at Kids InStyle. The brand new Agoo Tushie Huggers really grabbed our attention for their cuteness and ease of use. Consisting of two inseparable layers – a pair of leggings with skirt over the top for girls and leggings and shorts for boys – with cute prints on the tushie, this is an innovative product that will be a boon for mums of little kids.

18. Dandelion Kids has imported three award winning German toy brands, Nic, Walter and Sterntaler, into the Australian market and created a veritable playground with their display. Nic wooden toy’s quality German craftsmanship was a particular standout, with marble runs, pull-along, and ride-on toys available at both the entry level and investment level.

19. ZAMO Melbourne-based ethical fashion, toy, shoe and accessory brand ZAMO launched their AW11 collection at the show. Inspired by the landscape and customs of Mongolia, with many pieces handcrafted by artisans of the region, ZAMO (an acronym of the designers’ children) caught the eye and captured the imagination with a display of rich fluorescent colours and vivid patterns. As much art as fashion, ZAMO has a brief to visit a new world region with each collection. Next stop: Haight-Ashbury, USA.

20. Jetti Spaghetti Designs presented their wares in a most vibrant display that we could not walk past. Particularly of note is their new girls’ range ‘Living Like Lulu’, which includes, among other beautiful things, storage baskets in the shape of an apple and toy dinosaurs by the name of ‘Stellasorous’. This label has gorgeous interiors seriously sussed for girls.

Special mentions go to:

  • Forwalls, who have expanded their ever-popular wall sticker range into sweet canvases that can be purchased individually or as triptych sets, and the cutest jungle themed canvas storage baskets; in prototype mode now, and coming soon.
  • Little Miss J, and ‘brother’ label Mista Tj, brand new labels in the high-end echelon of quality fashion. Proudly designed and made in Australian all of these products demostrate the finest quality workmanship. Little Miss J offers quality occassion-wear garments for girls aged 2 to 6 years. Mista Tj offer funky street wear for boys aged 2 to 12 years, with t-shirts, long sleeve hoodies, skinny pants and the funkiest silk lined designer hats.