While clicking through pictures of Helmut Lang’s new diffusion line HELMUT (which, by the way, you can buy on Racked right now), admiring the kind of free-flowing, lounge-about pieces clearly designed for the daily sartorial requirements of a yoga studio owner or a hip photographer’s assistant named Air, three words came to mind: cool maternity wear. I mean that as a compliment—last year I was pregnant with my first, struggling to unearth stylish maternity clothes which I quickly found out is kind of like trying to find a jovial hipster, in that neither exists. I even went so far as to visit a store that specialized in the stuff (we’ll call it Women Tents for the purpose of this post), only to end up in the poorly lit dressing room tugging at ill fitting tops that came with satin sashes meant for tying in a bow just below your boobs so as to convince everyone that you still had a waistline.
I came home and Googled “stylish pregnant celebrities” figuring I needed some decent reference pictures of how to go about dressing for the foreseeable future (why there isn’t a Who What Wear for the knocked up is beyond me). Claudia Schiffer, still sharp-as-sh()#* pregnant, came up multiple times donning biker boots, oversized sunglasses, and minimalist simple pieces that hugged her belly but draped loosely in the right places. Obviously, she wasn’t shopping at Women Tents. She was wearing the designers she always did only in bigger sizes and tailoring the pieces to fit her. Because I didn’t have the bank account of a German supermodel (nor her freakishly good genes—lets face it, she would have looked hot in anything from Women Tents), I looked to diffusion lines like T by Alexander Wang and Rick Owens Lilies for forgiving pieces that carried me through nine months of pregnancy. Think ruched jersey and lots of it. These labels offered life-saving solutions—boxy t-shirts, long-sleeve cotton dresses, zipper-less pants—that didn’t cost a fortune but didn’t skimp on quality. One T dress in particular, a floor-length cotton maxi with gathered material at the hip, actually looked better the rounder I got.
Owens, Wang, and Nicole and Michael Colovos at Helmut Lang clearly don’t have a clue that they’re unwittingly designing some of the chicest maternity clothing around (or maybe they do but prefer to pretend they don’t… slap the word maternity next to anything and it suddenly becomes about as cool as your mom’s status updates on Facebook). Still, can you imagine the market share up for grabs? If HELMUT, due to hit stores in May, wants a consumer base that has no choice but to buy an interim wardrobe, pregnant models might not be a bad way to go to show off the goods.