Emilia Wickstead's pre-fall 2020 campaign

Fashion designer and mother-of-two Emilia Wickstead celebrates the strength that comes with motherhood through her own sorority of stylish women

17 January 2020

For Emilia Wickstead’s Pre-Fall 2020 campaign, the Auckland-born designer took the decision to eschew a line-up of agency-trained models and names-to-know. Instead, she shot a handful of professional women from her inner circle, leaders in their respective fashion-related fields. And not just women: mothers.

From art consultant and philanthropist Hikari Yokoyama to fashion director Kenya Hunt and designer Sabine Getty, the campaign features a diverse roll call of role models for young women, not least because each is shot with a tousle-haired infant propped on their hip or slung over a shoulder. 

 
 
 
 
 
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Hikari and Djuna ? Hikari Yokoyama, mother, art curator and trustee for Women for Women, wears the Giordana dress for Emilia Wickstead Pre-Fall 2020. #emiliawickstead #PF20 #EWwomen

A post shared by Emilia Wickstead (@emiliawickstead) on

 

 

Wearing Emilia Wickstead’s latest collection of demure dresses and soft tailoring, Vanessa Kingori, Alice Naylor-Leyland and Charlotte Dellal carry their newborns and cherubic, bare-bottomed babes, while Fiona Jane Burgess and Sarah Harris hold wide-eyed toddlers. Yokoyama is pictured pregnant, a protective hand over her stomach – a seemingly innocuous pose, one that could be as innocent as an instinctive maternal gesture, or that could represent a powerful act of solidarity with Meghan Markle, who was persecuted by British media for the same harmless pose during her pregnancy.

Intentional or not, the campaign is a moving reminder of women's capabilities as multi-faceted human beings – but also, a poignant reminder that ‘fashion’ is often designed with a cookie-cutter idea of femininity in mind, an idea that doesn’t necessarily facilitate a magnitude of variety. This campaign showcases clothes cut for real bodies and in fabrics that can survive real life – gently fitted without being overly structured, smart without being mannish.

 

In 2019, Wickstead worked with Derek Henderson to photograph a selection of successful New Zealand women, such as judge Silvia Cartwright and poet laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh. This season, inspired by Helmut Newton’s book of black and white portraits Us & Them, Wickstead chose to shoot her campaign in monochrome with photographer Ed Horder, who has worked with the designer on previous profiles and campaigns. There’s a sense of realism to the images: the mothers are not fawning over their infants or presenting some kind of faux-optimism. They mean business, they look brilliant, and their interests, passions and successes stand side by side with their roles as parents.

Emilia Wickstead, 162a Sloane Street, Belgravia, London SW1X; emiliawickstead.com