The Dimitra Petsa AW23 Breaking and Healing collection was a graceful reflection of womanhood, through the lens of mythology. Using Persephone as her muse, Dimitra Petsa channels her Greek heritage, in a stunning tale of rebirth and transformation.
The Di Petsa show opens with Dimitra Petsa taking center stage, performing an interpretive dance on a grey rock, with a pomegranate next to her, while pouring a red potion down herself. Embodying and expressing Persephone, Petsa’s showcased elegance, power, and her spiritual nature. Her presence on stage reflects how Petsa’s designs are rooted in her quest for self-exploration and self-expression through connecting with her body and her experience of womanhood.
Persephone, the daughter of Demeter and Zeus, was abducted by Hades —Zeus’ brother— while picking flowers in the fields. Demeter —Goddess of Harvest— distraught by the loss of her daughter, could not attend to her crops and mortals began to stave. And that’s how Persephone later became Queen of the Underworld and would return to Earth each Spring. Symbols of her include deer, pomegranates, and flowers as a reminder of Spring’s immortality and the power of rebirth and rejuvenation.
Petsa uses the myth of Persephone to express a beautiful story of growth and transformation through the lens of womanhood. When the models arrive, they are wearing deep shades of red, brown, and gold to represent Persephone’s childhood. Then, the models begin wearing black and glistening silver attire. Sirens are heard echoing in the background, acting as a metaphor for Persephone’s entering the underworld. It is fierce, dark, remarkably strong and feminine. But amongst the darkness, Persephone is reborn in the show’s final section and models return to wearing colour representing a complete circle.
Petsa demonstrated a full 360 vision of her show with all details of the setting leading back to the theme of rebirth. The show takes place in Spring, with the sun rising in the background. When Persephone falls into the underworld, the setting switches to Winter with the moon rising. Finally, as she is reborn there is an eclipse and at the same time, flower petals are scattered on the runway to bring the audience back to Spring.
The collection is focused on the cycles in a woman’s life and the multitudes of identities one person can hold. Petsa states how, When she was with her mother, Demeter, she was a daughter… but when she was in the underworld she was a queen. She reflects the constant evolution of self across time.
Petsa is truly fascinated by woman’s bodies, which is a theme in all her collections. Many of her designs give the illusion of them looking as if they have been drenched in water, called The Wet Look. Her early collections focus on women freeing themselves of guilt from their bodily fluids such as sweat and breastmilk. Pesta is also known for casting pregnant models to illustrate how her designs flatter and empower women at different life stages.
If you cry in public, you have to hide it. If you sweat in public, you have to hide it. If you’re breastfeeding, you have to hide it. It was all about the censorship of our wet self. I wanted to create that woman who comes from the water and she accepts the connection to the sea, but to also deconstruct it, Petsa states.
For the Breaking and Healing collection, Petsa focuses on pregnancy and the changes which occur to woman’s bodies during this time. Most of this collection is created for women during pregnancy and post-pregnancy. The corsets unclasp easily to allow breastfeeding and the trousers are flexible, for when the baby is developing. The show also included children in her designs, as a symbol of new life.
“I am so interested in the way a woman’s body inflates and deflates, I really wanted to have clothes that accommodate these changes.”
Petsa is a designer who designs for the comfort of women, seeking to find beauty in how women’s body change.
Fundamentally, we tell stories to make meaning of the world we live in. Mythology acts as a guide for universal truths, which we reference as a way to connect to others who have been here before us. Petsa uses the tale of Persephone as a reminder of resilience and strength. In the eyes of Petsa, breaking and healing give us the roots to rebirth.
by Amber Weir from GLITCH Magazine