A whole range of unconventional models, varying in age, race, body type, gender and occupation, walked the ramp at the New York Fashion Week for the Eckhaus Latta Spring 2018 collection on Saturday.
But one model stood out in particular: Maia Ruth Lee, who was wearing a lavender snap-front cardigan dress, unfastened at the middle to reveal her eight-month-pregnant baby bump.
Director of Wide Rainbow, a nonprofit after-school arts program, 34-year-old Lee moved with all the power and grace of someone on the cusp of a commonplace miracle, wrote Vogue. “It’s always about inclusion,” she told Vogue. “I appreciate that.”
“To have a bunch of one gender that’s the same race and height and size and fit, wearing similar clothes and makeup — I don’t think we were ever interested in that,” cofounder Zoe Latta told Vogue.
Vogue Runway’s director Nicole Phelps noticed the bump and took to Instagram: “I’ve been going to fashion shows for 21 years and I’ve seen a pregnant model on the runway exactly one other time,” she wrote alongside a snap of Lee. “Something to think about.”
Many people took to social media to praise the sight on the runway.
“I am 38 weeks pregnant and it’s wonderful to see myself represented on the runway,” commented Instagram user @prideandpinterest. “Among the many, many hard things about pregnancy is feeling ignored and marginalised by fashion and retail at a time when you have so many conflicting feelings about how your body is changing.”
Some, however, pointed out that the garment in question was hardly practical for a woman in her eighth month of pregnancy.
“Shouldn’t we be glad the pregnant models are taking some time off to care for themselves and the soon-to-be-born little human they have to carry around 24/7, instead of working their ass off on a catwalk in uncomfortable clothes,” commented emmasol99. “Not saying they can’t do it, hell that woman looks gorgeous but I don’t think I would be stressing around on fashion shows if I was over 6 months pregnant.”
But Ruth is not the first pregnant model to make it to the runway. Jourdan Dunn, two months before she was due, walked in Jean Paul Gaultier’s Spring 2010 show in a custom version of the designer’s bodycon bustier.