Di Petsa is a Greek designer and mastermind behind the famous ‘wet dress’. Her latest collection celebrated femininity through Ancient Greek mythology.
Her debut catwalk collection drew inspiration from the story of Persephone, queen of the underworld. Hades abducted Persephone – the daughter of goddess Demeter and Zeus – and took her against her will to the Underworld. After her abduction, crops began to fail, causing a famine.
Fashion, Femininity, and Fertility
Persephone’s story closely links her to the notion of fertility, a theme that Di Petsa has explored before. In her Spring/Summer 2023 collection, Di Petsa displayed a variety of maternity looks, including the viral ‘wet dresses’. The Autumn/Winter 2023 collection continued this celebration of fertility. The collection included a rich purple gown that opened the show, beautifully draping a sheer fabric over the model’s pregnant body. Later looks featured rigid structures of boning and corsetry that were moulded around the models’ bumps or even imitated the look of a pregnant body.
In a theatrical journey of a show, the models removed mid-walk the fake bumps to highlight the cyclical nature of life and rebirth.
Di Petsa and the Journey to the Underworld
However, the influence of Persephone did not end there. The catwalk came to represent the journey between Earth and the Underworld over which Persephone presides. Dimitra Petsa stood atop a rock and narrated the show from the centre of the catwalk. She interacted with the models while telling the story of Persephone’s descent into the underworld.
The collection’s colour palette, consisting of ethereal whites and silvers, earth tones like brown leather looks, and dark blacks and deep reds reflects each stage of this journey to the Underworld.
Triumphs of Womanhood
The looks were not just the ethereal gowns that we would expect in a goddess-inspired collection; centring the collection around the queen of the Underworld unveiled some darker designs. The leather sets, black corsets and chained looks combatted the stereotypical notions of femininity and served to give triumph to womanhood in all of its forms.
The representation of dark femininity was not the only way that Di Petsa went against the traditional depiction of goddesses. While some designs were clearly inspired by goddesses and ethereal figures in the traditional sense, others emerged in more experimental ways.
Fashion Becomes Art
Beautiful, flowing metallic gowns and angelic white looks were certainly present, but the more abstract takes on the look actually outweighed them. These included mosaic brown leather ensembles with visible ‘cracks’ in them, both representing the infertile earth from Persephone’s story and Ancient Greek statues.
The looks, therefore, not only took inspiration from Ancient Greek mythology but also from the iconography of the goddesses themselves.
Another look features a pair of protruding wings that emerge from the back of a delicately draped dress. Beautifully crafted in a dark grey shade, the dress highlighted darker forms of femininity. Additionally, the colour worked with the dress’s structure to emulate the grey stone statues we find in museums today.
Continuing the Di Petsa “Wetlook” Legacy
One of the most stunning aspects of Di Petsa’s collection was the draping. This is a technique that is becoming synonymous with the brand.
Di Petsa’s famous ‘Wetlook’ depends on delicate draping and folding of fabrics to create an optical illusion of wetness. The ‘Wetlook’ was still prominent in this collection. However, Di Petsa also used draping to remind us of the iconography surrounding both goddesses and pregnancy.
Goddesses are often depicted in paintings, such as Sandro Botticelli’s Primavera, with loose fabrics perfectly draped over their bodies. These have notably been emulated in celebrity maternity photoshoots as of late, such as Serena Williams’ Vanity Fair shoot or Gigi Hadid’s look for British Vogue where she actually wore one of Di Petsa’s ‘Wetlook’ dresses.
These looks are reminiscent of goddesses who symbolise power, love and fertility, a connection that Di Petsa masters in this collection.
Amelia Gregory is Junior Fashion Lead for SSEDITORIAL. She writes on everything from sustainability to runway. She is our lead contributor for red carpet reviews, so keep an eye out for her latest 'Best Dressed' list. Find her on Instagram: @milly_gregory