LONDON — Two sets of sisters are offering more than a sympathetic ear to pregnant women who feel fat, frustrated and ugly.
This story first appeared in the November 14, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Tania and Lara Khreino and Basma and Yasmin Alireza opened Blossom, a one-stop shop for fashion in Brompton Cross here. The idea was born of Tania’s frustration with finding stylish and comfortable maternity clothes for her own pregnancy.
“It was tiring and exhausting so I gave up and started looking for designer clothes that fit,” Tania said, noting that the scenario will probably be familiar to any woman who has carried a child. “Then that became exhausting because I was trawling all over town to department stores and boutiques trying to find the right size.”
For the woman who doesn’t want to give up designer duds, Blossom has convinced a number of designers — including Megan Park, Gharani Strok, Marilyn Moore and Alice Temperley — to either modify their existing collection or design a maternity line exclusively for Blossom.
The owners seek out smock tops, caftan styles, empire line and jumper dresses, long cardigans, gypsy shaped chiffon blouses and flattering pants that don’t pinch in all the wrong places.
“Obviously, with our customers in mind we have to be careful with the styles we buy,” said Tania. “There will be some designers whose clothes are perfect for us one season and then perhaps not so perfect the next, depending on how their silhouettes change.”
For fall, the store is carrying a range of sizes from the collections of Matthew Williamson, House of Jazz, Clements Ribeiro, Cacharel, Omnia, Missoni — M Line, Antik Batik, Tata Naka, Vanessa Bruno and Isabel Marant.
That Blossom is a maternity shop hasn’t deterred nonpregnant women shopping at Blossom. “If they can’t find Matthew Williamson’s embroidered caftan in their size at a department store then they’ll come here to find it,” said Basma.
Blossom’s sizes aren’t all larger and larger, because some customers are still a size 8 after six months of their pregnancy.
In addition to floaty caftans and long jumpers, the store carries jeans from Seven, Paper Denim & Cloth and Citizens of Humanity. If the thought of squeezing into a pair of jeans is enough to send a girl into labor, every pair has been customized: waistbands have been replaced with stretchy jersey panels.
“If a customer loves her Seven jeans, there’s no reason why she can’t still wear them,” said Tania. “We’re just making them comfortable. Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you have to change your entire style.”
Next season key denim names include Blue Cult, Yanuk and Notify — all customized, of course.
Next winter, the partners plan to launch a Blossom collection of basic skirts, pants, tops, empire dresses and tuxedos for evening.
The owners’ motherly instincts are apparent in their urges to provide information and advice to their customers. The store also offers a comprehensive service guide that includes recommendations on Pilates and yoga teachers, pre- and post-natal exercises, acupuncture and reflexology. A baby consultant at the store will provide a two-hour tutorial on planning and preparing for baby’s arrival for a fee of $240 (150 pounds).
At the front of the store is everything from Stretch Oil by Earth Mama Angel Baby and satin eye masks priced at $32 (20 pounds) to the Pregnancy Survival Kit with key wardrobe pieces neatly packaged in a carry-box for $224 (140 pounds).
“We’re not just selling a product,” said Yasmin. “We want to promote a whole lifestyle concept.”
Blossom hasn’t forgotten baby. Clothes range from cashmere hoodies by Temperley, $126 (79 pounds) to sheepskin moccasins, $92 (58 pounds). There are cashmere blankets for $264 (165 pounds) and hand-knitted dolls by Ciccibella sell for $240 (150 pounds). There’s also a selection of silver and porcelain gifts, changing tables, cribs and dressers.
To decorate nursery walls, Blossom sells art such as an embroidered wall hanging reproduced from a 1954 black-and-white photograph of a mother and child playing in the sea by Natasha Kerr, priced at $6,400 (4,000 pounds). “The idea is to bring an artist’s interpretation of mother and baby,” said Yasmin.
The ever-thoughtful owners have even installed a large blackboard with colored chalk for children to doodle on while their mothers shop.