Canadian singer and music icon Celine Dion recently launched a new collaboration with Tel Aviv-based, international children’s clothing brand Nununu for a new collection of gender-neutral garments for kids, from infants to teens. The line is called Célinununu and is sold online, while the Nununu brand has been available for years in prominent US stores such as Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Nununu, borrowed from a phrase Hebrew-speaking parents use to convey displeasure or disapproval to young children, was founded in 2009 by Tali Milchberg, a mother of two and one of Israel’s top stylists according to the company, and Iris Adler, also mother of two and a former art director. Together, they sought to create kids’ clothes “that broke stereotypes and dodged accepted norms.” Steps away from the often binary pink-and-blue garments, shoes, and accessories that are so ubiquitous.
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Their designs feature skull patterns, stripes, stars, and ABC lettering in blacks, greys, soft pinks, and bright yellows. The Celinununu debut collection includes over 70 silhouettes.
“Nununu dresses the children of the future, enabling them to bring out their inner essence, highlighting their creativity, helping them fight injustice, and letting them connect to their own personal creativity so they can bloom forth in a world where they are the ones that determine its limits,” the company says on its website.
The brand struck a chord with modern parents, particularly Hollywood celebrities. Nununu has a whole section on its site dedicated to showing celeb offsprings sporting the brand. These include children of Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Garner, Stephen Curry, Ashton Kutcher, Kourtney Kardashian, Jessica Alba, Selma Blair, and Gwen Stefani.
Dion joined Nununu in November but has been buying the brand for her twin sons for more than eight years, according to Timeout.
“I’ve been a fan of Nununu for several years. I love their designs, my kids love the clothes, and the clothes have this amazing scent. I told my team that if there’s one company that I’d like to work with on a children’s line, it’s Nununu. Collaborating with Nununu is very exciting; a natural next step,” Dion was quoted as saying.
Together, the Israeli designers and Dion created a line that “liberates children from the traditional roles of boy/girl, and enables younger people to grow on values of equality with the freedom to strengthen their own power of personality based on mutual respect,” the company says. “People, and for that matter – little humans, express themselves through clothes. We would like to enable them to be who they are, so that their choices are driven by their own true essence and free spirit, beyond stereotypes or any norm.”
Adler said in a statement: “We are excited by this true partnership of creativity, quality and style, fully aware of the great potential we have to send out a strong ripple effect for equality.” “With Céline’s iconic persona, we can come together to profoundly create this new transformative message through the launch of Celinununu. Our hope is to inspire a renaissance of change,” Milchberg added.
The line features various designs bearing the words “New Order” and the Swiss cross – concepts Dion says were the work of the Nununu founders and its team’s “expertise and incredible talent.”
“It’s not that we’re hoping to shift gender norms with Célinununu,” Dion was quoted by Refinery29 as saying. “It’s more about offering [a] choice and giving children a chance to feel free to find their own individuality, their own true essence without being tied to stereotypes. I think that every child needs to have their own identity, to express themselves freely, and [to] not feel like they have to be like someone else.”
The launch of the line was accompanied by a funny commercial where Dion pokes fun at her own celebrity while trying to evade arrest after walking into a nursery unit at a hospital and blowing black glitter at newborn babies wrapped in either pink or blue blankets.
The ad caught the attention of a US Catholic pastor (and self-described exorcist) who called the collection, and the ad, “definitely satanic.”
Dion says, “I’m not trying to tell parents how to raise their children. Every parent should do what they feel is right for them and for their children. We’re just offering other choices and letting them know that you don’t have to follow stereotypes.”