In September, during New York Fashion Week, the artist Maia Ruth Lee walked the runway at Eckhaus Latta in a blush cardigan dress, its middle buttons undone around her 35-week pregnant belly, her navel a button punctuating the look. It was splendid, stylish and rare.
A month later, Hatch, a modern maternity label founded in 2011 by Ariane Goldman, opened its first brick-and-mortar store, on Bleecker Street. Hatch makes “clothing for before, during and after” pregnancy, an assertion that, along with the Eckhaus Latta casting, feels like a shiver in a water glass, a sign of rumblings around the aesthetic ownership of pregnancy.
To go to Hatch unpregnant is apparently welcome and can be fruitful (Ms. Goldman told Vogue.com in October that a quarter of her customers aren’t pregnant), but to explore it through the eyes of an expecting mother, I brought along Marz Lovejoy, 26, a musician, model and artist who is six months along.
“I have from the jump been really outspoken about how society has this fear of pregnant women,” she told me. “You don’t have to treat me like I’m weak. I’m actually stronger, there’s two of me right now.”
It may have just been the spitty, wet weather, but Hatch actually feels like a womb. The store is decorated in soft tones, with seating so cozy and touchable that it would invite a baby to reach up and stand for the first time. Chiara de Rege, whose company CDR Interiors did the décor for the women’s social club the Wing, designed the space, and I noticed later that day that the wallpaper in the beauty area in back is the same as in the Wing SoHo’s beauty room and, surreally, that it’s also on the walls at the Real Real store on Wooster Street.
The pattern, called Coven, shows stark-white women (at the Wing not all of the women are white) heavily outlined, blindfolded and naked, frozen in balletic handholds. Whatever they are summoning — fertility, revenge, a benevolent leader, an Uber — its arrival is imminent.
Ms. Lovejoy was drawn to a pair of Current/Elliott white jeans with a stretchy insert at the hip ($258), a collaboration with Hatch. At the moment, Ms. Lovejoy was wearing maternity pants she had bought with her mother at Macy’s. (“Not sexy. So unflattering.”) The band of the pants goes up way past her navel. Over it, her Heron Preston hoodie says HANDLE WITH CARE.
In the store there are a lot of jumpsuits, which I love for myself — the Walkabout jumper for $238 feels airy and incredible — but I wonder how easy they come off in the midst of an urgent pregnant trip to the bathroom. Nothing hits you like cold stall air when you have to drop a one-piece in a public restroom.
Downstairs, in addition to a space with a changing table (“I wish more places were this thoughtful,” Ms. Lovejoy said), there’s a counter with jars of candy and a fridge with MilkMade ice cream and pickles — what the store calls a “cravings bar.” Ms. Lovejoy chose apricot peanut butter ice cream. I warmed it in my lap while she tried on a long Cupro slip dress ($278).
The cool, soft fabric felt refreshing to the touch, and I imagined that wearing it floor-length would feel like standing under a waterfall. Bonus that it doesn’t wrinkle, because if I were pregnant I think I’d de-strap and let clothes pool around my ankles as soon as I got home each evening. Still, for Ms. Lovejoy, a column that floats away from the body isn’t quite sexy. Fair enough. It’s difficult to find pregnancy clothes that don’t have drape in the design.
A saleswoman popped in and handed her a packet of Belly of the Month nontoxic temporary tattoos, clearly meant for social media gestation documentation. In addition to the months, there are script tattoos that say “It’s a girl” and “It’s a boy.” The package reminds moms-to-be to “#hatchtag.” Ms. Lovejoy took a look and passed them to me, no comment.
Amy Winehouse’s lined eyes watched me from her arm. “How many tattoos do you have?” I asked her.
“I stopped counting at 30,” she said.
She decided to buy a ribbed knit set that was on sale. The sweatpants slouch just so, and the sweater top has a bell sleeve that lends a little swell at the wrists, conceivably to balance the shape of the belly. It looks gorgeous, and we both agreed that she could wear it with heels.
While she paid, I explored the beauty section, with new Hatch Mama body care products that were introduced a couple of weeks ago. I considered the nipple and lip balm ($28), stretch-mark-reduction belly oil ($58) and a cooling cream for feet and legs to reduce swelling, all of which have minimal text and are packaged in pink, products for the Glossier set, knocked up.
A belly mask, meant to reduce stretch marks, has a winking eye on it. The wink came to mind when Ms. Lovejoy told me that not even Nike makes products for maternity. (She was recently part of a focus group with the company.) So much of what is available suggests a mind-set that pregnancy is a state or condition to get through or hide. Hatch seems to suggest that pregnancy is something to share as much as you want, as long as it appears effortless.