There’s no denying that being pregnant (and the weeks that follow) can be a real fashion test. Even for even those with a more stylish and sartorial eye. While I was fortunate to have the time to really shop around during my preggo days, some aren’t so lucky. So there’s a need for a go-to brand that’ll always deliver. It’s been four weeks since I had Mia and although I’ve lost a couple of stone already (a heavy baby and A LOT of water) I’m still two stone away from my pre-pregnancy clothes. So I’m in need of beautiful and comfortable clothing (those stitches!) but of course I still want to look on trend.
That’s why I adore Isabella Oliver. The clothes are really up to date and cleverly tailored to flatter even those who have over-eaten their way through the 9 months. I’m totally fascinated by the brand. It’s a brand that really stands out in a sometimes unfashionable and unflattering market. I was lucky enough to catch up with Baukjen de Swaan Arons, founder of the brand that’s clothed both celebrities and mummies like you and I. Here’s what she had to say…
What inspired you to launch Isabella Oliver?
“It all started 14 years ago when I was pregnant with my first child, Oliver. I just couldn’t find anything nice to wear. I simply wanted to wear the kind of clothes I’d choose to wear pre-pregnancy. But back then the words ‘maternity’ and ‘stylish’ didn’t exist in harmony. I felt that designing maternity clothes that are both comfortable and chic should be possible, so that’s where Isabella Oliver was born. When you’re pregnant it’s so important to feel confident in what you wear, because your body is changing while you’re still living a busy life. Well-fitting clothes make a big difference. I wanted clothes that made me feel like ‘me’ and gave me confidence with my new pregnancy curves. That’s what we set out to do for others, with every collection we create.”
Is being identified as a British brand important to you?
“We see ourselves as an international brand that caters to an international clientele. So we don’t like to pigeon hole ourselves. We might be a British brand but we have customers all over the world (we deliver to over 150 countries worldwide). Our team also reflects this with over 20 nationalities represented at our Head Office.”
Where do you get your inspiration for each new collection?
“We’re always keeping our eye on the latest trends and we embrace them when they work for pregnancy curves. For instance the recent off-the-shoulder trend and ruffles seen all over the catwalk shows. While we like to reflect relevant trends, our goal is always to make capsule, must-have pieces that are also timeless. If you become pregnant again three years after your first pregnancy, it’s great to be able to return to the pieces you wore the first time. Especially knowing that they won’t feel dated or worn out. Take a simple LBD that works for work, dinner or an evening out and washes beautifully and you’ve got a real investment piece.”
What do you look for in a good fabric that’s specifically being used for pregnant women?
“Softness of the fabric against sensitive pregnant skin is extremely important – so we’re really particular about the hand-feel of our fabrics. Luxury easy-care jersey in different weights has become something of a brand signature because we design pieces that grow with a woman’s bump, so one size will fit right through pregnancy – and often beyond. I found I washed my maternity clothes far more (as I had them on a rotate schedule) and so the quality has always been very important. A piece shouldn’t lose its colour or shape – fabric quality is queen in our world.”
What design details are important when dressing pregnant women?
“By using clever design techniques like wrapping, ruching and draping, our designers focus on creating exceptional designs that fit and flatter at every stage of your pregnancy and beyond. We also focus on adding in special details that make all the difference, such as soft waistbands and inside shelf-bras. It’s all in the detail.
Our goal is to create beautiful maternity wear that make mums-to-be feel confident and stylish. We want to give women clothes that speak to her innate sense of style – clothes that can be dressed up or down. Quality is also a key focus, maternity clothes are worn on repeat so should keep its colour and shape wash after wash. So whether it’s the first time you’re wearing it or the umpteenth time, we want you to feel fantastic in it.”
What I’m Wearing…
CAIA MATERNITY STRIPE TOP from Maternity & Beyond at Isabella Oliver
EMMA MATERNITY PANTS from Maternity & Beyond at Isabella Oliver
ACE SHOES from Gucci