Clothing designer Mary-Alice Dalton understands the beauty in detail. To make little girls feel special in her frocks ($88-$160) and tops with matching capris ($150-$175), she blends meticulous handwork with modern dressmaking techniques. "I'm not a philosophical artist," says Dalton, who favors geometric shapes and corduroy textures in addition to floral prints. The dresses are sold from her home studio in New Hampshire, but she will send out a catalog if you want to mail-order a dress. A website, madcouture.com, is scheduled to launch in mid-July. The line isn't just for infants and toddlers tweens can be part of the creative process by choosing their own fabrics and patterns. "The older girls like to customize their style," says Dalton, "even if the look they want looks like Britney Spears."
10 Middle Route, Belmont, New Hampshire,