Di Petsa’s AW22 collection and accompanying fashion film transports viewers to a mythological age where Mother Earth and her generosity wield the sceptre. As a result, the cosmic beauty looks erected for the Paris presentation at Fashion Week back in February took metallic shades of bronze and gold to brand new heights – giving us glistening flesh fit for a contemporary goddess.
Created in collaboration with ethically conscious makeup artist, Crystabel Riley, the aristocratic beauty looks were created using exclusively vegan and sustainable products in order to preserve and stay true to the moral ethos of either party. So while it is imperative that Di Petsa favours ethical and sustainable products and practices internally, the namesake label also aims to work with a creative team whose values align seamlessly. In an interview via email, Petsa writes: “In this alignment we can create authentic and honest work together in a very calming and trusting environment.”
The collection is called Mother Persephone, emphasising the Ancient Greek myth of mother and daughter Demeter and Persephone, respectively. It’s the tumultuous tale of how the seasons came to be. In short, the Goddess Persephone is captured by Hades and damned to the underworld. Her mother, Demeter, in her misery upon learning of the abduction becomes unconcerned with the harvest and fruitfulness of the Earth, instigating widespread famine. So, Zeus commands that Hades release Persephone to her mother for half of the year. When Persephone is home, we experience the warmth of the blossoming spring/summer months and the rest of the year she serves as the cold queen of the Underworld.
Petsa explains that the tale of Mother Persephone is both personal and collective, finding strength in the deep connection between a mother and her daughter, or the individual and their natural body, where one can be both themselves and their own mother – in the sense that they feed themselves the love they give to others. She writes: “The collection was a journey of re-birth both physically and spiritually; the changing of the seasons, like the changing phases of a Di Petsa woman. Whether through pregnancy or a new mother breastfeeding, a daughter, a bride or a new lover, we are constantly evolving, self-healing, nurturing and our bodies changing.”
By dissecting these mythological references and jointly experimenting, Riley began to draw from parabolic tropes and bygone connections with the Earth. The result was a maquillage of transcendental gold. Messy, muddy strokes wisp across perfectly pointed Cupid’s bows, emulating the ceaselessness of the ever-changing seasons and bridging the gap between the fruitful and the famine.
Riley mixed gold pigments with organic rosehip oil from Typology fusing the nourishment of skincare and the freedom of makeup. These lustrous shades were then used to add highlight and shine to the models natural complexion, reflecting the notion of shine and confidence that lies within. “We want to empower women to feel connected and confident with their natural self,” Petsa says. Think tinted lip balm enriched by natural raspberry seed extract and gold pigment mixes that highlight the natural curvature of the face.
Riley took a ritualistic approach to skincare and a low waste strategy when it came to the makeup. The overarching goal was to assure that the models felt cared for. From lymphatic massages, hot cloths and fresh infusions, there is no doubt that the atmosphere backstage was utterly nourishing. Elsewhere, a plastic-free cleansing block with organic nettle powder from Typology Paris re-balanced the skin and according to Riley, nettle is an amazingly sustainable and magical ingredient despite its antiquated origins and neglected history. She says, “It’s these types of hidden ways of healing that we need to resurrect to have less planetary impact.”
Photography by Verity Smiley-Jones.