Photography: Teddy Mitchener
Photography of the pregnant forms came screaming and screeching on the world stage with the shooting of the Demi Moore Vanity Fair Cover August 1991. The photograph taken by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz of Demi, seven months pregnant and wearing nothing but covering her body with her arms and hands is one of the most established and highly rated best magazine covers of all time. At the time, stores refused to sell the magazine and others hid it away among porn magazines. The photo, for good and bad reasons has become the most popular pregnancy photographs to date and triggered a trend of taking provocative pregnancy photos and had a lasting cultural impact.
Fast forward to 2015 and we find the fashion industry embracing and even pushing the visibility of pregnant women. This year’s London Fashion Week, designer Alice Temperley sent two expectant models down the runway in sequined evening wear and combat boots. Last year Chanel closed its haute couture show with a pregnant model dressed in neoprene wedding gown.
Fashion Industry insiders have various interpretations of the pregnant model trend. Some say its just a way to keep using top models even during the course of their pregnancies, but maybe, its saying something deeper about what the fashion world finds beautiful. “while thin models will always be the norm in fashion, its notable that an industry so obsessed with skinny has not only become more accepting of the fuller form and the bump, but also actually celebrates motherhood by casting pregnant women for some of the biggest fashion stages,” New York Magazine’s Amy Odell reported as saying.
As the diversity conversation starts getting louder, designers and the fashion industry at large are broadening their minds as to what body types to cast and pregnant ones seem to be now in vogue, in clothing ads, fashion campaigns and now, on the catwalk.
From ancient times, the womans body has been obsessed over, reviled, hidden, glamorized and the public discourse over how women should look, and feel, has objectified women in a variety of mostly negative ways. And so, when the fashion industry chooses to focus on how gorgeous a woman looks during pregnancy, it can only be seen as appositive shift in the discussion.
Maybe this trend will have a positive trickle-down effect; maybe this is a sign of a greater acceptance of the female form and women’s bodies as functional instead of just decorative; maybe the fact that the fashion world sees pregnant women as beauty ideals can help boost the self esteem of women in general.
The female form is most beautiful at all stages, but most especially when it is bring forth new life into this world.