This Italian model and actress-turned-entrepreneur has finally begun to realize a long-held dream: snazzy maternity wear for day and evening. She recalls being pregnant 12 years ago with her eldest daughter and having to attend the Cannes film festival. “I looked and looked but I didn’t know what to wear for a special night out,” she recalled during a walk-through of her first collection.

She’s answered that question with a capsule collection of short maternity dresses and matching shorts underneath: The ensembles come in cotton, bouclé, velvet silk and corduroy; some with cap sleeves, others with pointy white collars and others still with cropped jackets. The dresses also work for mothers-to-be who’d prefer to lose the shorts and wear leggings or jeans instead. Balti said the silhouettes were inspired by the babydoll and A-line dresses that Brigitte Bardot and Grace Kelly wore in the Sixties.

This is not just any maternity collection. Balti, who is based in L.A. and who produces the collection there, said she wanted it to be sustainable, too. She works only with dead-stock fabrics and the collection is produced in a factory that allows women to bring their children to work.

“Fashion isn’t a sustainable business, but I wanted this to be sustainable. It was something that was keeping me awake at night,” said Balti, adding that even the labels are made from recycled polyester. Prices range from $490 for a cotton dress to $780 for a bouclé suit.

Balti said she loves working with dead stock for other reasons, too: It means the pieces automatically become limited-edition and when a certain fabric runs out, that’s it. “They’re almost one of a kind,” she said, adding that she’s planning to expand beyond the handful of styles she showed at Milan’s LùBar on Sunday afternoon, “depending on what fabrics we find.”

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