From top model to fashion entrepreneur. Watch our interview with Bianca Balti who launches her “sustainably” line for mommy to-be
Interview by: Fiammetta Cesana
Pregnant women who complain about the scarcity of trendy clothing dedicated to the expecting period are served: Bianca Balti Maternity is coming for them, the collection of practical and comfortable but absolutely stylish garments that have nothing to envy to the refined wardrobe of all time. And no one better than BB knows what it means to look amazing in the 90-60-90 sizes as with the full-moon waistline: in addition to being übermodel of interplanetary fame, favorite muse of the big names, beauty testimonial for perfumes & cosmetics and cinema actress, this mother of two girls a couple of years ago catwalked 7 months pregnant for Dolce and Gabbana, unleashing enthusiasm among buyers and journalists.
Bianca’s debut as a fashion designer actually dates back to last year when she signed a collection of swimsuits for Yoox, but it is in this series of short trapeze mise that her 60s taste emerges, from linear elegance with coquette touch enhancing a triumphant femininity. Mini dresses with or without jackets are in tandem with small coordinated shorts – perfect to show a nice pair of legs – that can be worn also on a midi cigarette skirt or leggings to match…
Bianca Balti Maternity was presented during the Milan Fashion Week at the cafeteria of the Gallery of Modern Art, in an atmosphere not more about a showroom but rather a tea time with friends.
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Fiammetta: We all saw you catwalking pregnant… Then you auctioned your precious objects and clothes for Syrian children… and today for your maternity collection the invitation is extended to children as well. Could it be said that children are a priority for you?
Bianca: Children are my passion, the joy of my life. Yes, my daughter gets me crazy after two hours and I look forward to bring her to kindergarten in the morning… But then, really, the spontaneity, the honesty, the joy of living, the happiness, these are the reasons why I have always wanted to have children in my life. And when it comes to helping in the social, as when I sold my baby clothes for Syrian refugees, there is nothing that makes me feel bad like seeing children suffer. They are the innocence. Then we get older with all our faults… If it was for me, I would surround myself only with children.
F: This collection looks like a real celebration of that unique splendor carried by all women expecting, that thing that has always been, jealously, female only. In a world of fashion going straight to unisex, androgynous ideals, where do you think this collection can be located? What is actually the message you aim to convey through these clothes?
B: The message that I wanted to convey through these clothes, beyond the style, which one may like or dislike, is the desire of having a quality that normally is distant from the “premaman”. When a woman is pregnant, indeed, she usually has to settle for poor quality, like jersey and shoddy fabrics, because then the clothes maybe enlarge with the baby bump… but I wanted a quality product. I think that people like us, as Italians, who appreciate quality and live of quality, can’t give up on quality during pregnancy. Obviously, with the quality comes the cost, but for this reason my clothes are wearable, before, during and after pregnancy. They have very high quality, so women can pass them down to their daughters, maybe one day when they will be pregnant. That’s the most important thing… Then the clothes have my style of course, those who know me said “it’s definitely your collection!”, because they see myself inside the styles I wanted to draw… they are very feminine, inspired by Grace Kelly, Jane Birkin, Brigitte Bardot, when they were pregnant, so the lengths are those of the 60s, ultra feminine. And, as you said: “pregnancy is only for us women”, so we are totally allowed not to be unisex for 9 months.
F: And precisely about the quality, it adds even more value to your clothes the fact that they are sustainable. What exactly is this concept of sustainability for mothers?
B: It was born in the process… I was not such a great connoisseur of what it meant to be eco-friendly in fashion, but when I started looking for fabrics and see (understand) where to produce my clothes, I realized that there were two ways to do it, a way that absolutely didn’t take into account the good of the environment, and instead a way with the environment in the head. So I started with these beautiful fabrics that if they weren’t used by me they would have been thrown away and have contributed to pollution. Also, they are all locally produced in Los Angeles, where I live: I have to live in the business I do. So becoming a businesswoman, drawing my clothes and deciding to do it in the most sustainable way possible, at every level, I realized that brands are the ones that have to start to educate buyers, because they are the ones that have to deal with the bad impact they produced… and I did not feel like taking this responsibility.
F: Going back to your fashion style, you mentioned Brigitte Bardot, then the 60s… last year you also designed your own line inspired by these years. What are you so passionate about that period?
B: You know today you can’t keep up with the trends, this week there’s a fashion, next week there’s another one. I’m more a fan of a fashion and style that never dies, so the vintage style with some classic pieces is the one that most excites me, also because, you know, I am a person who doesn’t like throwing away things and clothes, so I organized a market in which I sold my clothes to not throw them away. Then I do not feel like buying too trendy pieces, too different, lasting for one or two seconds. In this sense the style of the 60s is what keeps coming back, and that’s why Jane Birkin is still an icon.
F: That would have been my last question, but you already answered…
B: Well, I tell you the truth, when someone asks me what is my icon, I never know who to say, because so many women inspire me. But when it comes to the style of the 60s-70s or in general, I would definitely say Jane Birkin, Grace Kelly… I loved doing my research on their beautiful elegance that unfortunately today doesn’t exist anymore.