We ran smack into this baby art patron twirling around the floor at World Tattoo. Her outfit babbled pure girl talk–short and sweet. Our fashion gumshoes checked out her statement anyway, but it came up 100 percent innocent.

The trapeze dress, with its narrow shoulders and wide swing hem, skipped many a jump rope before Yves St. Laurent, in 1958, elevated the look to haute-wire acrobatics. The grown-up trapeze came swinging back through the spotlight a couple winters ago. But this little version, tucked into a Peter Pan collar and cuffed for short arms, maintains a solid grip on girlhood grace.

Worn over well-worn girl garb: tights (fresh from dance class?), anklets (originally doubled over to accommodate childish chubby calves), and saddle shoes, clomping flat-footed practicality. During the 1950s, bobby-soxers borrowed short socks and saddle shoes from their little sisters to lend their school uniforms a bit of girlish charm. These days women still want to dress twinsies with preschoolers. Between last summer’s baby-doll-and-Mary-Janes craze and this month’s Madonna-cum-playground-playmate spread, our mini model has accidentally stumbled onto the height of big-girl fashion.

Her little ensemble is accessorized by plein air tongue and a double strand of faux pearls a la Coco Chanel, “la grande mademoiselle” herself. The Fashion Statement stomps one “I won’t grow up” saddle shoe and insists: “Better dressed up than grown-up.”

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Yael Routtenberg.