Mother To Be. Di Petsa AW22

Dimitra Petsa’s sensual clothing is all about the female form, and rather than change her ideas for the seasons of the year, she changes her design tack to better suit the seasons of a woman’s life. Pregnancy and all its stages was her inspiration for autumn-winter 2022, specifically the myth of Persephone and the relationship between a mother and daughter. “When she was with her mother, Demeter, she was a daughter,” Petsa says, “but when she was in the underworld she was a queen.” That spooky regality plays well with Di Petsa’s aesthetic, her sensual sirens slinking about in wet look dresses and revealing corsetry. But for every exciting aesthetic note Petsa hits she is also a designer who truly considers and cares for a woman’s body. This season the vast majority of the collection is designed to be worn during and after pregnancy. Corsets and trousers unclasp at the nipple and the waist to allow for breastfeeding or a growing mid-section, and most tops are structured to work for Hot Girl Summer or New Mom Spring, with straps, folds, and drapery built in to work for breastfeeding. “I am so interested in the way a woman’s body inflates and deflates, I really wanted to have clothes that accommodate these changes,” she says. But for every smart and gracious choice she makes to accommodate a woman’s life, she is also thinking about the environment and protecting traditions. Her materials are mostly dead stock or recycled and she engaged Greece’s oldest pleating studio to make a new kind of long slinky Fortuny pleat à la Petsa. For a designer with such a specific taste, her collection has the potential to break boundaries about what clothing can do and how it should be made. Rihanna, who has us in awe with her revolutionary pregnancy style since January, should definitely go for one of Petsa’s designs during her due date!

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

NET-A-PORTER Limited

Baby Boom. Simone Rocha AW16

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I am always praising Simone Rocha for being a young and independent designer, who doesn’t fall into the trend of having pre-collections. And that’s truly rare in today’s fashion industry – even though there are a few exceptions in this case, like Gareth Pugh or Vetements collective. Two collections a year give Rocha the time for the creative process, which is so in need at the moment, and lets the designer convey her vision to the fullest. And, as her gift keeps on giving, it’s a good occasion to congratulate the designer – she has just given birth to her baby, Valentine! And, to a surprise, this event gave Simone a creativity boost this season, looking deeper into the meaning of “baby-boom”. “I started to do this wrapping and swaddling with stoles. There’s something a bit surgical and matronly going on—sick-y nudes, the lilac of the uniforms that nurses used to wear. Medical aprons; knitting as women do when there’s a baby coming; schlumpy, relaxed shapes—and a little bit of trauma!” Yep, this doesn’t sound like your average post-pregnancy reflection.

Indeed, the autumn-winter 2016 collection had a lot to do with nurse uniforms, being psychedelically revamped with a various shades of pink. The fur stoles and fluffy Mary-Jane flats gave the feeling of babyish innocence, but that can’t be said of the darker dresses and coats – Rocha’s “matrons” with strict black bows lurk from the Victorian history of hospitals that up to now haunt Irish tales and stories. The woman behind AW16’s plot is both, sweet and sour – she might be Lolita, Mary Poppins or Jane Eyre one day – and she is blooming just as the designer herself.

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