beth ditto’s second collection is a vibrant assault on the senses
The fearless punk frontwoman and innovative plus-size designer talks us through her sophomore collection, and shares its campaign — styled by Charles Jeffrey and shot by Hanna Moon at an L.A. house party.
Beth Ditto is back: bigger, bolder, and better than ever before. Continuing on her mission to revitalize plus size fashion, the larger-than-life singer's second collection is all you could hope for and more. All the classic shapes from Ditto's inaugural season are still there, as well as some new additions including architectural shift dresses, cocoon-like wool coats, sequin-embellished sweaters, and a strong presence of denim. The palette is vibrant (we'd expect no less from Beth), while prints are based around the central theme of makeup. Motifs of color-pop eye pencil shavings, dripping red nail polish, and three-dimensional, oversized eyelashes appear throughout the offering. Ditto cast the collection's campaign on Instagram, and Charles Jeffrey styled it in Los Angeles (where Hanna Moon shot it at a house party). Take a peek below, and discover Beth's thoughts about her vibrant assault on the senses.
Before we talk about season two, let's look back at your debut collection. What did it teach you? Were you surprised by the reaction?
Season one was awesome — we kind of couldn't believe the response. And the most incredible part for me was, without question, seeing real women I think are amazing wearing the clothes. So real personalities — and the bodies they inhabit! — were always going to be the starting point for us [with this second season]. This time round, I handed the reigns over a little to a very close friend of mine who has styled me for years — Frederic Baldo. He's a huge talent and very experienced in design, and we worked together on every element. He understands what it's like to work with bodies like mine... And I of course have some experience in that area!
Were you conscious of sophomore album syndrome at all? How did you begin to combat any potential slump? What was the starting point for the second collection?
Starting points were definitely structure and color. Makeup is the running theme, so there are huge nail polish drops, pencil shavings, false eyelashes. I started with things I'm missing in my own closet — like I never really wear denim, but the dark denim dress from this collection is so amazing. I can't wait to wear it. Frederic and I definitely steered clear of the idea of trends, which aren't important to me. It's just about what's cool, not what people think is cool right now.
Could you describe the collection in your own words?
I like to think of it as a new representation of what "flattering" means. I think that's a cool way of looking at it.
How did you come to collaborate with Charles and Hanna? What attracted you to this dynamic duo specifically? The collaboration must've been a lot of fun!
It was so much fun. I'd met Charles before and I loved the idea of working with young talent this time round and really injecting some lols into the proceedings! They both have a great eye for people, and their work celebrates character, and I knew I wanted to be surrounded by amazing people. It was such a party. But at the same time, they're such chilled collaborators that it felt like a total breeze. It was so nice to be around that energy.
If people take one thing away from this season, what would you want it to be?
Do you think people's mentality has changed towards plus-sized people? Do you think you've added to that change?
It's a complicated question — in lots of ways, I'm not really sure things are being challenged, but equally we've come a long way. Does that make sense? I think independent design and creativity has allowed the plus-size community to make much more for each other.
If you could click your fingers and change one thing about plus-size fashion, and the wider fashion industry, what would it be and why?
For more stores to carry bigger sizes, not tucked away in a corner of shame! Alongside everything else. True diversity, that's what's really needed now for people to feel less marginalized. The industry should be trying harder.
Now that you're a seasoned label pro, what advice would you give to anyone wishing to follow in your footsteps?
Be aware how much goes into the details, and how much money it takes. Money especially, actually! We make everything as ethically and responsibly as we can, and that has massive financial implications. But it's non-negotiable for me. We don't have any investors so it's a real labor of love, but that's great.
Finally, what's next? What excites you most about tomorrow?
Releasing my first solo record. I literally can't wait for you guys to hear it!
Text Tish Weinstock