Alison Canavan rubs her bump and smiles. The Dublin model, who forged a very successful international career, is back home in the capital to prepare for the birth of her first baby in September. She has seven weeks to go and has embraced her changing silhouette with enthusiasm, totally falling in love with leggings which were never in her wardrobe before.
"I love my body now and I'm very comfortable with it, but there were two months where I'd lost my waist and my figure had thickened out. However I didn't look pregnant and I wasn't the same size so it was tough figuring what to wear so I dressed in looser clothes."
It took a time adjusting to her bump and putting on weight, Alison admits. "After 17 years of modelling, I'd been programmed to think thin but I'm really enjoying my body now, and I particularly love my boobs. I've gone from an A to a C cup and it's a whole new experience for me, filling out a bra is amazing," says Alison, who is the face of Mothercare.
We took inspiration from Alison's extensive travels as a busy model for our shoot styled by Mothercare's fashion director, Jan Brierton, who is mother to baby Willow. Jan selected a mix of outfits for trips to New York, Paris and London. She leaned heavily on easy-pack layered pieces with sharp tailoring and natural fabrics in great shapes. The linen coat with waterfall front can also be worn loose or belted in a mac style. For evenings, she packed glam dresses and the military-style coat is a good investment because it can also be worn afterwards. With her own pregnancy still fresh in her mind, Jan's tips for shopping include lots of leggings.
"I love the classic jersey leggings in black and grey and also the bump control leggings which have an enforced panel under the belly. The stretchy lycra vests are very handy and they come with a panel built around the belly and boobs to give smooth lines under a dress. They also help hide things like seaming in maternity bras."
Having lived and worked in Paris, London and New York since winning the Irish leg of the Ford Supermodel competition at the age of 16, Alison's wardrobe is full of desirable designer pieces, but she's loved her adventure into maternity wear. "I got into maternity jeans when I was four months pregnant because my own jeans were becoming uncomfortable. I invested in really nice, skinny maternity jeans and I'd advise expectant mums to change their style of clothes as early as possible."
Alison found daily meditation great, and walks in the Phoenix Park near her parents' home gave her plenty of time to think about baby names.
"I'd like James Joseph after my maternal grandfather, who was an enormous influence on my life, and if it's a girl, I'm loving Ava Tess," she says.
Clothes and accessories: Mothercare. Mothercare has 18 stores nationwide
See www.mothercare.ie for your closest store
Fashion: Directed by Jan Brierton @ Morgan The Agency
Photography: Daniel Holfeld
Stylist: Grace Moore
Make-up: Natalie Kinsella @ Morgan The Agency
Hair: John Morrissey for Kazumi Hair Salon, Molesworth Street 01-678 5004