Will it be a girl or a boy? The world is agog...
The baby hasn’t arrived yet, but the babyclothes are already at the Palace... And they’ve been designed by a Sheffield woman.
So, does the new Royal prince or princess already have some of the cute sleepwear designed by Tina Higgison, who grew up on the Wybourn estate and now creates top-notch natty jim-jams for a living?
She is staying mum.
“I haven’t sent any to William and Kate,” she says. “But I try to keep things low-key. I wouldn’t talk about it even if I had.
“Though it would be a great honour if the Duchess of Cambridge was to order from me,” she adds.
Even if they don’t, though, Tina’s traditional Pixie Dixie PJs, dinky dressing gowns, babygrows and cot blankets ARE ready and waiting at Kensington Palace, the last home of Princess Diana. They are just a few floors away from where the Duke and Duchess are to set up home with their baby as soon as a £1 million makeover of Princess Margaret’s old apartments is complete.
The Palace gift shop has a whole cupboardful of them. If ever there’s a run on rompers, the washing basket is overflowing and the nursery staff are on a weekend off, Kate could always ask Will to nip downstairs for a couple.
He might, however, find himself vying with the palace’s foreign visitors, who reportedly love the quintissential British-ness of Tina’s creations - particulary the pieces quirkily printed with witty-Brit designs... Scattered over fresh white cotton jersey are tiny grenadier guardsmen complete with bushy bearskins, dainty princess crowns - new this year, inspired by the impending arrival of a new member of the Royal Family - or red London buses, black cabs and dinky Mini Coopers. Maybe a parachute print might be the one soldier uncle Prince Harry might like to snap up for his brother’s first-born if the baby turns out to be a boy.
Getting your babywear quite literally under the noses of the highest profile new parents in the world is a huge sales coup. But it just fell into Tina’s lap: “Kensington Palace approached me after seeing my range at a trade fair and in Harrods, where they sell very well,” she explains. “I was absolutely thrilled.”
Other stockist are Fortnum & Mason, the Royal Academy of Art and National Gallery in London. Posh parents are flocking, but you don’t have to earn a princely sum - or live in London to give your kids a night-time treat. Tina’s Pixie Dixie range is also sold on it own website and that of two Sheffield sisters who set up their own online babywear boutique this month.
Blues and Bows (www.bluesandbows.co.uk) is run by Gemma Kershaw and Chloe Deakin from their homes in Ecclesall and Totley. They got the idea after new mum Chloe started a blog to discuss the ups and downs of life with her baby Elodie with other parents.
“I joined in and we discussed new products and baby clothes online. we got over 18,000 hits, such a good response we decided to open our own web boutique,” explains Gemma. “We found out that Pixie Dixie had been set up by a fellow Sheffielder and wanted her onboard.”
Tina is delighted to supply a new business from her home town.
“I love Sheffield and get back whenever I can to see friends and family,” she says. “And though I make baby grows and nightgowns fit for little princesses, plus sleepsuits and pyjamas to suit little princes, you don’t have to be royalty to afford them.”
Baby sleepsuits are £19.99, pyjamas cost from £28.99 and go up to 12 years. All are made from high-quality Turkish pure cotton jersey. “Children love to wear them because they are so comfortable; the fabric is ultra soft and the fit is roomy,” says Tina. “But parents love them too because they are easy-care; no need for ironing. We think parents have enough to do.”
That time-saving perk won’t mean much to Kate, or, you’d hazard a guess, the showbiz royalty parents whose offspring are rumoured to head for bed in Pixie Dixie: Rod Stewart, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, the Beckhams and pop star Pink have all bought from the Pixie Dixie range.
So has Danni Minogue. Kylie’s little sister. She recently tweeted about how much she loved the guardsman-printed pyjamas she had bought for her son Ethan, three. Funnily enough, she didn’t mention the no-ironing required bit...
Pixie Dixie’s Sheffield founder Tina, 54, has no children of her own, but designs with her God-children in mind. “They make beautiful models whenever we need to photograph a new collection,” she says. “They have featured in shoots since the business began in 2006.
Tina has had some experience of modelling herself. “I once worked as a shoe model for a company who imported beautiful handmade shoes from Italy,” she reveals.
She studied at Granville Art College and became a window dresser at Debenhams on the Moor before moving to London at 20 to dress the windows of the Queen’s former shoe-makers Raines at their store in Bond Street and their concessions in Harrods and Paris before moving into marketing and a job at world-renowned private hospital the Portland.
It was there that she came up with an business idea; fun pyjamas that would cheer up poorly children. “I saw so many children with long term sickness at the hospital and after leaving my job at the Portland I set up Pixie Dixie, selling ‘Paint Your Own PJs’ - plain pyjamas that came with fabric paints so children could create their own patterns,” says Tina. “Then my Granville art college experience kicked in and I began creating my own prints.
“I thought up the guardsman print and it became very popular, so I created more designs featuring iconic symbols of London. The latest is our crown print, which coincides with the Royal baby’s arrival.”