So, What Exactly Is Babycore?

Nearly every single trend people used to wear in the '90s has made a comeback by now: relaxed-fit jeans, logo tees, turtlenecks, camel coats. Many of them played a big role in last year's normcore movement. If we're going to be honest, though, most of us who are loving the redux probably didn't wear those trends the first time around, and what we did wear came from Gymboree. The real return of the '90s probably doesn't include Guess or Calvin Klein. Who's got the OshKosh?
Photo: Courtesy of Matt Starr.
    To address this, artist Matt Starr came up with what he believes is the "next step in our generation’s obsession with nostalgia:" babycore. "The same way normcore stresses the normal, babycore stresses childishness; this sort of bright, primary-colored, carefree sense of style," he says. "As a society, we are always looking for the next big thing, something to identify with — and this is something that everyone can relate to.”
Babycore was born when Starr’s mother was cleaning out his childhood home, and showed him his Gymboree clothes from over 25 years ago that she had been planning to toss out. "[Those clothes were] so much better than the clothes I'm wearing now," Starr says. "I wish they still made stuff like this." He commissioned conceptual fashion designer Bryn Taubensee to recreate his favorite boyhood sweatshirt from Gymboree, and photographed himself and a real-life baby (my daughter, and owner of this belly button, Ihlen Larson), who is wearing the original. Starr says he would like to reproduce his entire childhood wardrobe and make it his new everyday style.
To be clear, babycore has nothing to do with adult baby syndrome (a sexual fetish involving role-playing as babies), so all you pearl-clutchers can relax a little. There's nothing prurient about babycore; it's nostalgia, pure and simple. As Starr points out, you can't get much closer to reliving your personal experiences than recreating them. Besides, it's easy to imagine a colorblocked Gymboree sweatshirt (in an adult size, of course) hanging next to Supreme and Christopher Kane in your closet. You had great taste back then.

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