Rumors of a pandemic baby boom may have been exaggerated, but 2021 has given us something else: the model baby boom. For instance: Gigi Hadid and the singer Zayn Malik had a daughter, Khai, last September. Emily Ratajkowski welcomed her son Sylvester Apollo in March. And the world has a new Kushner: name and gender unknown, courtesy of Karlie Kloss and husband Joshua, the brother of Jared.
These growing families all live in New York. Each one has become something of a paparazzi darling in the past few months. Check the tabloids any Monday morning, and you’re sure to see images of Gigi and Bella pushing Khai around SoHo in a stroller, or EmRata on a park bench wearing a necklace embossed with her son’s name.
These pictures give me a feeling I like to call “Model Baby FOMO.” While I greatly appreciate the autonomy I experience as an adult—and the fact that my stomach can handle foods stronger than Gerber Purees—there is something I envy about these precious sleeping infants. They spend their days lying in a buggy pushed by a rich, impossibly well-dressed woman. Can you imagine?
This week, Hadid shared an Instagram video of her strolling through the Met with Khai, perusing ancient Greek sculptures. Mother and daughter both looked like quintessential New Yorkers, with Hadid in a long black wool coat and Khai wearing a rhinestone bracelet spelling her name.
This was not Khai’s first trip to the museum; her parents also took her back in March. That makes her an impossibly cultured child. Is this tiny art patron responsible for the return of the Met Gala? Perhaps.
Hadid does not show Khai’s face on Instagram. As her sister Bella told Vogue, “I think she wants to be real online, but until her child wants to be in the spotlight and can make the decision herself, she doesn't want to put her in that position.”
Similarly, Kloss has not shown the public pictures of her kid, and Ratajkowski blurs Sylvester’s face in Instagram shots. It makes sense these women whose bodies have been mercilessly scrutinized for years might want to retain the smallest semblance of privacy.
That does not stop the paparazzi from photographing their everyday errands; as such, the Celebrity Baby Industrial Complex churns on.
This is how it works: one of the Model Moms puts on clothes. Then she takes her child out for a walk, as mothers tend to do. A picture is snapped; the outfit is ID’d.
And so we have headlines like, “You Can Spot Gigi Hadid a Mile Away In Her Newest Look” (a $760 highlighter neon sweatsuit and Prada hat saved for a stroll with Khai) or “Emily Ratajkowski Wears ‘Sylvester’ Necklace After Giving Birth.” (She owns a similar one to commemorate her dog, Columbo.)
Karlie Kloss wore Gucci loafers, The Daily Mail reported, for her outing with Irina Shayk, who brought along her 4-year-old daughter for a picnic in Washington Square Park. She also had on biker shorts and a blazer, a postpartum look that Gigi Hadid has also sported around NYC.
At 11 p.m. on a weeknight, a publicist sent me an emailing urging me to, “Shop Gigi Hadid’s $100 Sweatsuit Before It’s Sold Out!” It was a gray number from the Los Angeles brand Emory Park, and what do you know? It is still in stock.
Expect the fashion parade to continue into the warmer months, which open up even more outfit options for these new moms. It won’t last forever though—Model Babies, just like regular ones, grow up so fast.