Making scents of baby love

What do you get for the baby who has everything, from the Bugaboo Donkey pram (about $1700) to the Christian Dior dummy holder (about $110)?

You buy them perfume - of course - because, as we all know, any self-respecting newborn worth its Ralph Lauren Ruffle Bum Playsuit ($70) isn't even going to contemplate turning up at the next mother's group meeting unless it has been sprayed with eau de bebe.

Recognising that scent for babies is a gap in the market, Dolce & Gabbana have decided to launch a unisex perfume for the newborn in your life.

The scent will go on sale later this year at the relatively modest sum of about $45 for a 50ml bottle.

''That familiar smell associated with babies will only be accentuated by this fragrance,'' the designer Stefano Gabbana said. It will contain notes of citrus, melon and honey - all famously evocative of newborns - and will ''pamper every little boy and girl''. The scent, which is alcohol-free, has been inspired by the ''softness of baby skin'' and the ''freshness of baby breath''.

Bulgari and Burberry have tapped into the baby perfume market too, as have Johnson's, purveyors of such childhood classics as ''No more tears'' shampoo, which now also sells budget baby cologne for about $5 a bottle.

When I was a girl, we didn't even think of fragrance until we were 15 years old and dousing ourselves in Charlie to attract the boys (our mothers never stopped us because the smell was so pungent that it actually scared them away).

When I recall the scents of my adolescence - CK One, Tommy Girl, Obsession - I feel nauseous. But not half as nauseous as when I think of my unborn daughter's first words being: ''Mummy, please can I have a bottle of Marc Jacobs for my birthday?''

Baby perfume joins a growing list of adult items redesigned for children - high heels for babies and teethers shaped like credit cards. Last week, it was announced a ''chewable'' tablet computer, the InnoTab 2 Baby ($130), would be launched in time for Christmas .


Claude Knights, the director of the British children's charity Kidscape, is not surprised. While babysitting her 17-month-old godson, he grabbed her glossy magazine thinking it was an iPad. ''He looked at me with utter bemusement when he couldn't get things to move around. I was amazed,'' Ms Knights said.

''There is an inappropriateness in much of this. Commercialisation has gone on for years, but mostly with the teenage market. Now that companies have explored and exhausted that, they have moved on to an even younger market.''

We are all in danger of losing perspective, she warned. ''Nowadays, it is quite normal for the whole family to club together to buy a buggy that, along with all the accessories, costs almost £1000 [$1500].'' Spending so much on a barely cognisant baby is a ''smack in the face when there are children in the UK not eating properly''.

Even perfume experts are stumped by Dolce & Gabbana's foray into baby scents. ''I don't think babies need a finishing touch,'' said Vanessa Musson, a fragrance expert and blogger. ''D&G say their scent 'smells of baby', but a baby already smells like a baby, and if I wanted one to smell even more so, I could just sign it up to a creche.''

Telegraph, London