Is anyone else finding the whole 'mini-me' generation a bit, you know, blurgh?
Having put in a highly-publicised appearance at New York Fashion Week, nine-week-old Harper Beckham has also just been named by InStyle magazine as the hottest celebrity under the age of 25. Her future is already carved in precious stone. She is a much longed for miniature version of Victoria herself.
Mrs Beckham was quoted in Elle: "We went in to Prada yesterday and she loved it. It was as if she was saying, 'Mummy I'm home'."
Really? Is that really what she seemed to be saying? Or was she just gazing at the sparkly lights and the fascinating reflections in all those shiny shoes and bags, as any newborn baby would?
While we have yet to see how Harper's childhood will pan out, we might be forgiven for assuming it'll resemble that of one Miss Suri Cruise – if indeed the life she leads could be called a childhood. The five-year-old also attended NY Fashion Week (missing school presumably), stepped out in scarlet lipstick and reportedly wore three separate outfits during the course of the day.
I don't know about you, but I read that and I think "what the...?!" As a mother of two toddling girls, I know as well as anyone how little people like to dress up; my daughters frequently raid my shoe cupboard and clomp ridiculously around the house in heels. All children like to make-believe they are grown up enough to do what their parents do (actually mine also like to make believe they are pirates, and frogs).
But like the children of many A-listers, what Suri Cruise is doing is not make-believe, it is her life, her actual existence. She reportedly owns 130 pairs of shoes (many heeled) and a wardrobe worth millions. The child frequently goes out in make-up too. These are not sparkles and splodges applied by the playful, pudgy hands of a five-year-old, but enhancing shades and tones, expertly applied by an adult – an adult who clearly believes that, even at an age just halfway to double figures, appearance is everything.
This is a trend that's growing and the desire of parents to treat their kids as an extension of themselves, or as a fashion accessory with which to demonstrate their own style has, of course, been leapt upon. Luxury fashion brands including Prada, Armani, Gucci and Dior already offer children's lines; and joining them this Autumn in the US is Young Versace.
I suppose some people must have so much money that they're not bothered when those highfalutin logos are defiled by children too young to realise their value. But even the less affluent are increasingly spending their hard earned cash on keeping their children togged up to the nines. A survey by insurance company Sheila's Wheels earlier this summer revealed that four in 10 children are wearing designer clothes by the age of two.
Fashion choices aside, though, the point is that kids should be kids, right? A disturbing symptom of what has become known as the Suri Cruise Effect is adults' penchant for making their TINY children look like miniature grown-ups (I can't help thinking the only thing separating Cruise Junior from the cheap get-ups of the little girls on US reality TV show Tots and Tiaras is cold hard cash). It's stomach churning.
Children, even those who find themselves in the spotlight, should be allowed to – or rather encouraged to – step out looking like and behaving like children. Perhaps I sound like an old battleaxe to some, but it should be candy floss, not Chanel gloss, on the lips of little Suri Cruise.