The ongoing integration of motherhood into general culture is a shift for which I feel great enthusiasm. When Rebecca Traister did an interview with MSNBC with a sleeping baby in her arms and when Kim Kardashian brought then-1½-year-old North to a fashion show, they represented a growing refusal by moms to give up on their previous selves after their children come along.
It’s possible to see the new Cybex stroller line, brought to you by Katy Perry’s favorite designer, Jeremy Scott, in this light. Here’s a line of luxury baby goods, which includes a stroller, car seat, and baby carrier, that allows the wealthy and fashionable to achieve postpartum levels of decadence and glamour. There are few baby products out there today that could easily be described as elegant; even those of us with a lower glamour threshold would appreciate an upgrade in design. And the rapid growth of the baby goods market suggests that there are many of us out there who would be willing to pay for it.
Scott’s line looks similar to a number of strollers on the market, with the exception of the polished gold frame wheels and a pair of gold angel wings—a Scott trademark—attached to most components. The stroller costs $1,699.95, the car seat $449.95, and the baby carrier $129.95. The people who will be buying Scott’s line aren’t likely to care that you can buy high-quality versions of all these items for a lot less.
There’s a reason products for young children look like they belong on the shelves at R.E.I. Like camping gear, they are first and foremost utilitarian in nature and are constantly exposed to the elements. These include wind, sun, rain, and snow (OK, Scott’s collection does include skis), as well as vomit; pee; poop; and tiny, writhing humans. The rich are not exempt from these indignities. Their wheels travel the same sullied streets as the rest of us. Their children release fluids and flail their arms and legs in protest while eating pureed fruits and vegetables. I can’t imagine anyone under 5 who would heed his or her parents’ requests to watch out for the shiny gold angel wings in the process.
Speaking of the angel wings: Am I asking too much when I request more elegant, fashionable baby gear that hasn’t simply undergone an expensive bedazzling? Because that’s all that really happened here. Scott took a black stroller and attached a few shiny objects to it. A high-fashion statement stroller worth its $1,700 should state something more.