The time period body-conscious, when utilized to vogue, tends to imply one thing curve-hugging, shape-revealing, and above all else, sensual. Greek designer Dimitra Petsa’s clothes are all that, however they’re additionally body-conscious in one other sense: They think about what’s taking place inside the human physique as a lot as they flatter its silhouette. Petsa’s most well-known contribution to vogue is her “Wet Look,” a proprietary methodology of draping, stitching, and mixing sheer, often white, materials to make clothes that appear to be drenched with water.
“This is really the outcome of very long-term research for me because I’ve always been very interested in bodily fluids, the idea of wetness, and how in Western society we are really taught to hide our wetness. If you cry in public, you have to hide it. If you sweat, you need to hide it. If you breastfeed in public—that has even been forbidden in some places,” Petsa says. “I felt this very intense internalized oppression even around this.”
Her resolution was to make clothes that celebrated bodily fluids in all their varieties. While she presents corsets that reveal a breast for breastfeeding and trousers that emulate urine, Petsa’s “wet look” clothes are her calling card. They have been worn by Gigi Hadid whereas pregnant, Arca, Yseult, Rina Sawayama, and Kylie Jenner. And now, in the January issue of Vogue, photographed by Annie Leibovitz and styled by Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, Paloma Elsesser wears one, aptly submerged in a physique of water. “It took me around six months to develop this technique, though it’s informed by a very old couture technique. It’s very labor intensive,” Petsa says, noting she’s not eager to disclose an excessive amount of about how she makes dry clothes look moist. “I drape every piece, so it’s really personal.”
Working along with her clients on Wet Look items, Petsa continues, is admittedly someplace between vogue design and remedy—a behavior she picked up from her grandmother, who ran a seamstress store in Greece. “It’s about a human connection; a seamstress is also a bit like a psychologist, you know?” Petsa says. “I always ask which parts of your body you want to reveal and highlight and which parts you want concealed. The Wet Look is very much about: How do you want to look and feel in your body?”
Many ladies will ship the designer images of themselves in their underwear so she will actually perceive their our bodies. The objective is for her work to answer their varieties—not the different means round. “This is really important because growing up I remember times when I have been made to feel bad because I need to fit into certain clothes, rather than have those clothes fit me,” she says. “I remember thinking if I don’t fit into this size in this brand, then my body is wrong.”
Using stretch supplies is one other means Petsa works to ensure that her clients at all times really feel proper in their our bodies. “I always try to use stretchy fabrics where I can so that there is this sense that the garment will follow the body as opposed to the body having to conform to the garment,” she explains. “If you put on weight or lose weight, they’re still going to fit you. If you are someone who menstruates, you can go up one size, two sizes just in one month. I think that’s something that the fashion industry doesn’t really cater to.”
That freedom to not have to alter your physique to alter your garments is one thing crucially vital to Petsa’s work. It performs into her performances too, which have been amongst London’s most intriguing expressions of womanhood and togetherness and have pregnant our bodies, music, and dance. “We have an aesthetic element to it, but it is more for us to really experience coming together and exploring ideas,” she says. It’s one thing she continues in her month-to-month moon workshops, provided over Zoom throughout the pandemic, which convey individuals round the world collectively to really feel linked. The workshops have been filling up past capability—a telling signal that Petsa’s work impacts her followers and followers properly past vogue.