Remember when Dita Von Teese launched that range of nursing bras and jelly-belly control knickers?
You may recall it, but you probably won’t — because shortly after the release of the maternity capsule collection, part of the popular Von Follies lingerie line, the retro-style, racy undergarments for new mums completely disappeared.
The dancer-turned-designer was admittedly ready for the media heatwave that followed the collection’s debut; after all, her main claim to fame was as the ‘Queen of Striptease’ – hardly maternal – yet the public backlash, which seemed to suck sales dry from the onset, was unexpected.
The stuff was objectively gorgeous, so where did Von Teese go wrong?
Some speculated that the now 43-year-old’s lack of children made the idea of her launching a line dedicated to the postpartum physique a little hard to grasp.
Which is, of course, ridiculous. It hardly needs to be said, but motherhood doesn’t define womanhood; any woman can want to look sexy regardless of whether they’ve utilised their womb or not. (As an aside, barely any of the fashion world’s head designers are female – but you don’t see anyone saying no to a Dior gown because the guy who created it hasn’t experienced being a woman.)
The Daily Beast’s Emma Mahony took on a slightly different (although still far off the mark) offensive; the central assumption behind her attack was this –
Sexy and feminine maternity lingerie is all about forcing women to feel sexual when that’s the last thing on their minds.
In countless interviews, as well as in her book Von Teese makes it clear that women should indulge in fancy undergarments and other such aesthetic pleasures to feel good for themselves. An audience is not a prerequisite.
Says the burlesque star, “[T]here’s a whole bunch of us out there who believe in honouring ourselves whether someone is watching or not.”
Further, nobody’s saying mums fresh out of the labour ward should, or would, be interested in anything other than sleep – possibly the occasional shower, but, eventually, life gets easier, and women will want to feel that they’re more than just someone’s food source.
My opinion? Bring it back.
The only thing that should’ve stopped Von Teese’s venture was the hefty price tag (nappies and nipple cream don’t grow on trees).
I still wanna be able to glimpse my reflection (or at least selected parts of it) and go “Dang, girl!”; and I’m fairly sure that Dita knows a thing or two about making that happen.
So…what do you say, Ms V.?