The lingerie brand making ‘couture’ mastectomy patches
With her Barcelona-based accessories label Anna Bonny, 2019 Swarovski Grand Prix Hyères Festival winner Noelia Morales creates sensual and bedazzled mastectomy patches inspired by Helmut Newton portraiture
Anna Bonny’s delicate, single-cup bras – or mastectomy patches – are quite unlike any lingerie you will have seen before. The Barcelona-based brand was founded in 2016 by Noelia Morales after her diagnosis of breast cancer and subsequent unilateral mastectomy. ‘I knew from the beginning of my diagnosis that the process of reconstruction was not for me,’ she explains. ‘I knew I would find a way of coming to terms with my body in its new form.’
Dissatisfied with the undergarments and swimwear marketed to women who had lost a breast due to life-saving surgery, Morales decided to take matters into her own hands. ‘Breast cancer brings you into an aesthetic world that is not contemporary, not fashionable, and is all about "pretending" you have something when you don’t’. Her experimentations began with the purchase of a brand new La Perla bra. ‘I cut it in two,’ says Morales, matter-of-factly. ‘When I put it on, my healthy boob was on the outside, naked, and I covered the ‘mess’ with the bra’s beautiful silk.’ The designer found herself liking what she saw in the mirror for the first time in months.
Taking further inspiration from Helmut Newton’s 1983 portrait of Paloma Picasso wearing a monocle, plus some extensive research on Anne Bonny (a 17th century female pirate), Anna Bonny was born. ‘When I was going through my cancer, I didn’t identify with all the metaphors that surround the illness – things like, "survivors" and "warriors",’ says Morales. ‘To explain to my little boy and my family what was happening, I would use the metaphor of ‘adventure’. Anne Bonny was an adventurer. But I simply reimagined her with one boob instead of one eye.’
Due to the sensitivity of the scar tissue where a breast has been removed, Anna Bonny only uses the finest materials, including pure British silk, organic cotton, and Loro Piana cashmere. Shades such as ‘pearl’, ‘blush’ and ‘midnight blue’, provide an air of elegance. ‘I thought if I’m going to make a breast patch, it’s going to be the haute couture of breast patches,’ laughs Morales. In April, Anna Bonny was awarded the Swarovski Grand Prix at Hyères Festival, and Morales is currently realising her couturier ambitions through working on a new collection in Chanel’s ateliers, which is set to be unveiled at Hyères 2020. ‘In the short time we’ve been going, I’ve got an overwhelmingly positive response,’ she concludes. ‘It’s beautiful for a project like Anna Bonny to get recognition like that.’ §