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AnaÏs de Viel Castel brings enfant couture to DC.

Anaïs de Viel Castel, photographed at the Apartments at CityCenter DC, thinks Washington’s junior set is ready for subtle French couture.

To Anaïs de Viel Castel, fashion IQ begins in childhood—or at least that’s her mission. When the Paris-born-and-raised mother of two launches Petite Lucette from DC this month, she’ll swim against a current of youth fashion splashed with primary colors and cartoon characters. It’s an unveiling for which de Viel Castel thinks Washington—and the rest of America—is ready.

The Glover Park resident, whose daughters are 5 and 3, has lived in the States for eight years. She landed in DC several years ago when her husband took a job with a French subsidiary based in the area. De Viel Castel had kicked around entrepreneurial ideas, but nothing stuck, until shopping for her girls in France. “I always bought clothes for my girls in Paris boutiques. I couldn’t find anything I really liked here—the designs and colors were off,” she says. “When I returned to DC each time, other moms would compliment me on the way my kids were dressed. My sister Clémence is a designer in Paris. We talked, and the idea was born.”

The duo’s spring and summer line, crafted for girls and boys ages 6 months to 8 years, includes shorts, skirts, blouses and dresses. “My family still has a country house in Provence, so the inspiration for the line comes from the earth tones found there—the blue of the sky, the yellow of the hay, the gray of the stones.” In addition to buying online, DC parents can find Petite Lucette’s designs at spring trunk shows, Pam K. Bambini Children’s Boutique and Union Market’s Salt & Sundry. De Viel Castel and her sister are also busy with a fall-accessories line that will include baby bedding, mobiles and hair accessories. Meanwhile, her daughters will help roll out the spring and summer collection. “They see samples and get excited,” she says. “I dress them so can they can unveil the looks on the playground with friends. I call them my mobile marketing team!”

de Viel Castel's Hots: Provence and rosé wine, Hu’s Shoes and Hu’s Wear, Christine Lagarde, French fries at Blue Duck Tavern, peonies

de Viel Castel's Nots: Potholes on DC roads, selfies, kids’ clothes made by children, flip-flops