Doing it for the kids

Nostalgia for adults and shiny new stuff for children at Kids.Modern

It was back to Dulwich at the weekend for Kids.Modern - the design show for children whose parents yearn for the simple days of yesteryear, possibly a time before their own childhoods even, when the 'big family film companies' hadn't got their hooks into everything from clothes to toys to books.

Not that the films aren't loved and appreciated and enjoyed, because they truly are. As road trip movies go Cars is up there with Thelma & Louise.

What the show offers - just for one day - is an alternative to the familiar line-up of themed children's merchandise that follows a big cinema release. A respite from the repetitive cycle of branded socks, pyjamas, drink bottles and the rest.

The idea behind it all is to encourage children to let their imaginations run wild - without working from a Hollywood script.

No-one said it was going to be an easy sell.

Some people even brought their kids along

There were stands selling vintage children's books, child-friendly furniture, fancy dress costumes, hand-made cards and stationery, cardboard play houses and children's clothes.

So, I should probably admit at this point that I went without my kids. It's much easier to walk around in a cloud of nostalgia - musing on the wonder of childhood - without being repeatedly asked, 'Where's Ben 10?'

Needless to say, it was a riot of colour - not all of them primary - and very uplifting it was too. Here are some highlights.

Whimsical themes and sweet shop colours: knitted toys - just like your Granny used to make - mugs, cards and notebooks by Petra Boase

Wrestling masks optional: alternative fancy dress from I Wish I Was A

Not all girls wear pink: prints from Belle & Boo by artist Mandy Sutcliffe

One stand-out company was showing their award-winning range of toys made from that perennial parental favourite - wood.

For kids and kidults: the imaginative 74-piece PlayShapes by Miller Goodman which can be endlessly arranged to create wacky shapes and characters.

An original - and not made from plastic - present for the over 3s: Miller Goodman's versatile ShapeMaker wooden blocks. Bold, totemic and slightly scary.

The next show will be in the autumn, I'll keep you posted.