Glamorizing pregnancy is nothing new in the world of celebrity and entertainment. While Annie Leibovitz's photograph of a naked pregnant Demi Moore was shocking when it debuted on the cover of Vanity Fair in 1991, the picture became so iconic that copying it has become almost a rite of passage for expecting celebs. More recently, Beyoncé inspired a flurry of op eds in response to her own glammed-up pregnancy imagery that often called to mind images of a Vogue-reading Virgin Mary.
But celebrating pregnancy in non-celeb-focused, capital-F fashion has been much less prevalent. Motherhood, sure, and even breastfeeding specifically (remember that Elle Australia cover in 2015?), but pregnancy itself? Not so much.
If this season's runways and ad campaigns are any indication, however, that may be shifting. Downtown-cool label Eckhaus Latta made waves during NYFW by sending model and artist Maia Ruth Lee down the catwalk wearing a button-up dress that opened around her baby-carrying belly. The dress may have been made with a non-pregnant person in mind, but the partially-buttoned look read as subtly sexy and a little offbeat the way all of Eckhaus' clothing does. In short, the designers dressed Lee as they would any other model, using her body as a means to showcase their ideal vision for their clothing.
A few days later, Opening Ceremony released imagery for its pre-Spring 2018 collection. The portfolio of imagery is entitled "Pairs," and features lovers, friends and family members posing in twos wearing the collection. Amongst the diverse group, which features figures like Ryan McGinley, Phillip Lim and Spike Jonze, is pregnant MadeMe designer and Supreme director of development and production Erin Magee wearing a form-fitting dress that highlights her baby bump while she kisses her partner Nicole Albino.
The world of beauty is getting in on it, too. Cult favorite Glossier's latest ad campaign for their Body Hero products depicts a range of individuals photographed in the nude with glowing skin. One of those individuals happens to be a very visibly pregnant Swin Cash Canal, a former WNBA champion and Olympic gold medalist.
Does pregnancy need the fashion and beauty industries' validation? Of course not. Using your body to grow another human is one of the most natural (and badass) things a person with a womb can do, whether designers and casting directors are foregrounding it or not. Still, for child-bearing people who are in the middle of that particular stage of life, it probably doesn't hurt to have pregnancy held up as something beautiful and aspirational. Take that, puffy ankles.