The piece is hand stitched by four different artisans. Starting with linen from northern Italy, the pattern is cut in a small workshop specialising in cutting before being shipped to Spain or elsewhere in Italy for embroidery. The pleating takes particular skill, not least because the piece is so small. The cost for these bespoke dresses can start at £450 and rise above £1,000 — and this is for a six-month-old girl. Welcome to the world of haute couture for babies. And leading the charge of this exquisite mastery is Cashmirino, founded by Venezueulan ex-banker Maria Busquets in Italy in 2000. “When I had my first child I realised that there was very little pure cashmere available for children and none at all in any kind of assortment of colours and styles. As a mum, you want your children to wear the best, so I decided to create my own line. I started my career in banking, but much prefer being creative.” Focusing originally on cashmere pieces from Inner Mongolia and then fine cotton, the company has expanded to use the finest alpaca from Peru — and has recently launched its handmade service.
Small wonders: Revealing the miniature craft of Cashmirino
10th October 2019
Using age-old artisanal techniques, the children’s clothing atelier uses smocking to create bespoke couture adorned with flora and fauna
The dresses are made by old-fashioned artisans, says Busquets. “More people do actual embroidery than smocking — only a few embroiderers want to do the smocks as it takes so much time. They do it all by hand. Each smocking piece takes eight to nine hours.” One recent piece, the Daisy Dress, commissioned for a three-year-old girl, took 60 hours for the hand embroidery and hand smocking and four more hours for the cut and stitching. Clients can commission any private message to be hand embroidered inside the dress.
“I only ever use 100% natural fabrics and I’m constantly sourcing new materials for Cashmirino,” says Busquets. “Royal Alpaca is super-soft due to its very long hair fibre and it’s naturally hypoallergenic, lightweight, long-lasting and, most importantly, lets the skin of children breath just like our cashmere and cotton fabrics.”
The company’s super-soft baby blankets can also be customised with monograms and made to order in a colour of your choosing. When she talks to clients regarding their commissions, “I ask questions, find out their likes and dislikes, and I take it from there,” says Busquets. With the time-consuming process a true labour of love, this is slow fashion for a new and discerning audience.
For more details on Cashmirino and its pint-sized designs, visit cashmirino.com