Thursday, August 6, 2009
Props to Myer for welcoming plus size models onto its SS0910 runways. But why exclude them from the big Sydney media launch?
beth ditto for evans/news.softpedia.com
In addition to semi-regular fashion chats with various radio stations, I am now doing a fortnightly chinwag with the Afternoons with Carole Whitelock show on ABC Adelaide, every second Tuesday at 2.00pm AEST. This week, we discussed the news of the move by Australian department store Myer to incorporate plus-size models in its upcoming Spring/Summer 2009/2010 season launch parades around Australia - and the general subject of fashion and the larger woman. Click the player above to hear the iv. I do hasten to add here, however, that the plus-size models will be appearing everywhere other than the Sydney launch on August 19. At the time of the interview, having read several interstate stories, I believed they may also have been due to appear in Sydney. My apologies for the confusion. Myer's plus-size brands – which include Basque Woman, Jane Lamerton, Taking Shape, Nouvelle Woman and Estelle – will only be shown in the consumer parades. Myer spokesman Mitch Catlin told frockwriter that plus-size models will appear in Myer's consumer parades, including the five Sydney downtown parades, but not at the most high profile event on August 19, “Because that [parade] is Australian designer and they don’t make plus size. Also, it’s a media event, not a public event. We decided that all of our public events would reflect what consumers are buying”.
Although the public might not be invited to the Sydney press launch, they will of course be viewing the reports.
As we already know moreover, one of Myer's best-known designer brands, Leona Edmiston, does in fact cater up to a size 24. Same goes for Toni Maticevski who, from this month in 20 Myer stores, will offer a custom-make bridesmaids range called Maticevski Sweethearts that also caters up to a size 24.
So that's two of Myer's headline designers who will be featured in the August 19 show, who already cater to the plus-size market. Why on earth not show some of their merchandise?
I wrote about Edmiston's decision to upsize to 24 on my Fully Chic blog at NEWS.com.au.
Fully Chic readers who migrated to frockwriter may recall that the Leona Edmiston post prompted quite some debate – not to mention vitriol. And from both sides; that is, from both fat and skinny bashers.
Many larger women applauded Edmiston's decision to finally cater to their needs, while some criticised her decision to sell the larger sizes in the online boutique only. Others claimed the move was "normalising" obesity.
One commenter attracted a lot of attention - from not just blog readers, but also from the hosts of 10 Australian radio shows that wound up talking about the post - when she noted that she would hate turning up to a party in exactly the same dress that a size 24 was wearing.
Edmiston's decision to make larger sizes available exclusively online was based on the company's market research that indicated many larger women feel uncomfortable in designer boutiques - something that was certainly borne out in comments on the Fully Chic post.
Several months later, I did an interview with Paris-based American plus-size model Velvet d’Amour, who says she has been criticised for "ruining" the plus-size modelling industry because she is so much bigger than the plus-size norm.
I had originally interviewed Velvet in October 2006, when she was modelling in Jean Paul Gaultier's Spring/Summer 2007 show in Paris. It was her first full-length interview and it attracted quite a lot of attention at the time, notably from the US.
Last year's Fully Chic interview also prompted heated debate amongst NEWS.com.au readers – and yet more vitriol. Although Velvet encouraged me to publish some of the harshest comments, to demonstrate the vilification that is often faced by larger people, there were many, many comments which just could not see the light of day because they were so disgusting.
Damn those larger ladies and their propensity to hog the fashion spotlight. Can’t they just stick to muumuus? Don't they know their place?
Apparently not. As Velvet noted in the latter interview, there is a “quiet, fat revolution” underway, spearheaded by larger-than-life high-profilers such as Beth Ditto.
Ditto, the frontwoman of American indie rock outfit Gossip, has no fear of fashion, pouring herself into Hervé Leger and Alexander McQueen – among other brands - all of it presumably custom-made by designers who don’t mind high-profile larger women wearing their clothes. Which is, one has to say, pretty unusual. Although truth be told, the designer brands worn by Ditto would be hard pressed to cater to even a size 16 in their regular offerings.
At the same time Ditto, alongside other larger celebrities, stands accused by medical authorities of helping normalise obesity, which of course many believe is rising at alarming levels around the world.
While others believe the obesity epidemic has been overstated.
Earlier this year Ditto made the inaugural cover - and naked - of Katie Grand’s new magazine LOVE.
Last month she unveiled a collab line with British plus-size highstreet chain Evans.
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