Fashion Week favorite Maya Hansen skipped the Madrid show last February, but with good reason: she was a bit preoccupied with her new baby, a boy named Nuno.
That left followers of the prodigiously talented and hypercreative corset maker wondering when Hansen would reappear, and what fantastical designs she’d have with her.
The answer came on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Madrid, when Hansen introduced a Spring 2015 collection called ‘Birth’ and featuring an original print of a fetus, in utero.
The toile print celebrates childbirth and depicts a fetus in a tree, a skeletal pelvis and a cherubic baby. The drawings, by Hansen, were inspired by the groundbreaking 18th Century anatomical illustrations of British obstetrician William Hunter.
Hansen’s fetus print appears on several pieces in the new collection, including a jumpsuit, leggings, dress and even lace-up heels created in collaboration with Jeffrey Campbell.
Hansen is one of European fashion’s young visionaries, and has displayed a passion for exploring the elemental world using natural materials that are sometimes very unconventional in a fashion context.
Last year, for example, she made corsets out of wood and crystals and polished metal and gold brocade and braided wool. And, in a highly amusing commercial collaboration, she even made an elaborate leather corset — really — for a digital camera.
The Birth collection, she told a Spanish newspaper, focuses on the exaggerated changes to a woman’s body during pregnancy and childbirth.
“I have tried to express the concepts of inside and outside, the contrast between the beauty of hope for a new life and hard of physiological changes, the exterior and interior,” she said. “This is the most authentic of my collections.”
You can see how she conveys those ideas in the new collection, which features a lot of cage-like structural additions and uses neoprene taffeta to create voluminous shapes in the hips and shoulders of her experimental garments.
Hansen’s brand has soared in recent years, thanks in part to some widely-seen endorsements from celebrities such as Lady Gaga. And, given the media fixation on celebrity baby bumps, it’s hard not to wonder which young starlet will be the first to make an appearance in one of Hansen’s Birth prints.
Hansen is far from being simply a corsetiere these days. She recently launched a “basics” collection (above) and even has a signature bedding line. And the Spring 2015 range shows her looking more toward womenswear staples that emphasize the wearer’s contours — in the same way as a corset.
Interestingly, there doesn’t appear to be a traditional corset in the new collection that uses the fetus print. Apparently Hansen wants to celebrate childbirth without encouraging women to squeeze themselves into a corset at a time when their bodies are undergoing profound transformations.
Here’s a look at some the runway styles from last week’s show in Madrid.