Mothers, mother figures, mentors and family ties are intimately intertwined with fashion history. Many designers reach back to the style of their mother's day, but mum ’s themselves are also a big source of inspiration: from mum jeans to mini-mes, the mum style is a flourishing branch of modern fashion. Symbolic fashion mothers, such as Jeanne Lanvin, Madeleine Vionnet and Sonia Rykiel, made an artistic mark on the creations of their contemporaries and are still influencing present-day designers.

Historically, clothing concealed the changing bodies of expectant mothers. From 1900 onward, however, there was a growing appreciation of the cultural identity of mothers, both in fashion and in society. In 20th and 21st century fashion, this culminated in a veritable celebration of mothers and mother figures.

From the Blessed Virgin, to contemporary fashion experiments that debunk stereotypes, to the testimonies of non-binary parents, surrogacy parents and adoptive parents, from Christian Dior's New Look to the designs of Jacquemus and the regal women who carry of South African Thebe Magugu: the mother figure as a source of inspiration and creativity in fashion is back from... never having left?

Thebe Magugu Swazi Heritage dress
© Thebe Magugu - Foto: Tatenda Chidora - Art Direction: Chloe Andrea Welgemoed
Catwalk model van Maison Sonia Rykiel, model met bijpassend baby outfit
Maison Sonia Rykiell 1985; Foto Graziano Ferrari
Moeder en dochter in een outfit van ontwerper Bernadette
Bernadette, lente-zomer 2021. Foto Laurence Ellis.jpg
Historische tekening van Lanvin
© Patrimoine Lanvin.jpg
Foto van silhouette van Comme des garçons
Comme des Garçons_LZ 2019 (Catwalkpictures)
Foto van silhouette van Comme des Garçons gemaakt door kunstenaar Katerina Jebb
© Katerina Jebb, 2024. Comme des Garçons SS 2019 collection Palais Galliera – Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris. Commissioned by Mod.jpg