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Plus Sizes Were Already Fashion Forward! Who Knew?

DAHLINGS –
Several years ago, in one of its ritualistic orgasms, the fashion world discovered “Jeggings.” Leggings made out denim! Who had thought up this amazing blend of comfort and style?
Plus size designers, that’s who. For years “denim leggings” had been available to the larger lovely who did not want the discomfort of traditional blue jeans. Some were plain, others had stitching like regular jeans, and some even belt loops and mock fly fronts.

Manufacturers and designers have caught on to the fact that plus size clothing designs, are comfortable and cheap to manufacture. At Full Figured Fashion Week in 2010 among the swag was black rayon long vest that fell around my body in becoming folds. It was the first I had seen of this garment. Now, they are everywhere. Plus sized women have been wearing “flyaway” cardigans, tunics and babydoll tops for years. Now, so is everyone else. Who knew, rather than frumpy, we are in the fashion vanguard?

For one thing, the bonuses for those who actually manufacture the clothes are the lack of buttons and proliferation of economical materials. Calling fabrics “tissue cotton” and “whisper-light” are euphemisms for “flimsy, thin and cheap.”

For another, these drapey garments are universally flattering. Heavy women have been wearing capes, ponchos and cover-ups for as long as memory serves. Now women from size 0 to 12 are also swanning about town in flowing robes.

It is not necessarily because Americans are getting heavier. Strolling the streets of Manhattan, one observes a great many thin women wearing fluid rayon tops, swirling open-front hip-length “cardigans” with strategic folds and ruffles, and jeggings. Victoria’s Secret, that bastion of body-con, has fluttering “cardis” (a nauseating term).

Photograph courtesy of Victoria’s Secret

Going higher up the fashion food chain, one sees that designers are also not averse to billowing fabric, albeit higher quality. The models under them are also “whisper-thin.”

Martin Grant

Martin Grant

Photos courtesy of GoRunway.com

In another entry I shall bemoan the common trends that plague the plus size industry, but that is for later. For now, take satisfaction that even the gauntest fashion plate is covering up.

Ciao,

Elisa
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Fashion’s Night Out 2011: At Avenue

DAHLINGS –

Before your dutiful scrivener (look it up) shares her midway Mercedes Benz Fashion Week runway report, I should like to begin with Fashion’s Night Out. It is a pulsing climax of retailing, with “pop-up” stores throughout the city. Liquor flows freely to encourage shopping madness. The lines at Missoni alone were simply out of control.

Your faithful correspondent had decided to stay in and take a hot scented bubble bath (my special scent created by Sarah Jessica Parker). My teens and twenties are far enough behind me that the notion of spending the night body-blocking other fashion hounds whilst wearing high heels was less than appetizing.

However, the siren call of the bathtub had to wait. Avenue, the plus-size clothing line for women, invited me as a celebrity guest blogger, along with Brooke Elliot, the star of the Lifetime television show “Drop Dead Diva.”

My fashion choices were an Avenue black dress with lace and ruching, 4″ black heels, and a huge vintage black hat. No jewelry. I believe the rule of “before you leave, take one thing off” applies particularly when you are wearing a huge feathered black hat.

Ma chérie jolie lecteurs, the store was so crowded you couldn’t’t get a nail file between the bodies. So many gorgeous plus-sized women, all shapes and sizes! All happy to be there among their own. Champagne was passed, as was finger food.

Alicia, the publicist, a shy, sweet redhead was not at all the usual fast-talking PR machine. I was introduced first to Selina Zaccagno, Avenue’s Divisional Merchandise Manager for Avenue Body, Shoes & Accessories. Selina in turn introduced me to almost all of the corporate staff. To be honest, after a bit it was a blur of black dresses and name tags. I saw the stylish @Curvatude, wearing a gray shrug tied under the bust and a long green skirt.

Brooke Elliot
Brooke Elliot arrived. She is stunningly beautiful, probably a size 22/24. Decked out in an Avenue animal print chiffon dress, Ms. Elliot posed for endless pictures with gaping fans.
I had a private consultation with stylist Jacqui Stafford. She praised my “beautiful bust, waist and hips,” naturally. Then she proceeded to tell me how best to cover them up. She was quite nice but there was definitely an element of cognitive dissonance there.

Brooke Elliot and Jacqui Stafford

Then came the runway show. My major quibble is that the models were small. Not nearly as terrifyingly thin as the usual Fashion Week models, but thin enough so that they did not do the clothes justice.

Ombre wool coat


Apres the show – damn that camera man!

The line is more chic than their previous clothes, particularly the new denim separates. Brooke Elliot helped Selina on the runway, discussing the styles and what she would wear. Before my camera died, I was able to grab a few snaps.

After a long day under the tents at Lincoln Center, I staggered back to my (featured in Architectural Digest) flat, and gratefully sank into my long awaited bath.

Plus tôt, je le promets.

Ciao,

Elisa

all photos Elisa DeCarlo

Daily Venus Diva Launches Diva In Need Project

DAHLINGS –

This is a cause I can truly support for larger lovelies everywhere!

The number 1 plus-size lifestyle magazine, Daily Venus Diva.com (DVD) is pleased to announce the launch of the Diva in Need Project, which will begin on Thursday, August 18th, 2011.

This new outreach program has been created to encourage women across the plus-size market to find their own empowerment, while providing them with opportunities to better their lives that they may not currently have access to.

Stephanie Penn-Danforth, Editor-in-Chief of Daily Venus Diva Magazine says, “Every Diva deserves to have her dreams come true, her wishes granted. This contest not only allows DVD to become a deserving woman’s fairy god mother, but it gives us the opportunity to introduce readers and contestants to plus-size friendly companies.”

Every month, DVD will select one deserving entrant based upon their need, and work with plus-size business across the nation to contribute the necessary item. The first business to announce their intention of working with this program is Sealed With A Kiss Designs, a Los Angeles-based company offering trendy, affordable plus size fashion.

DVD is looking for women that need:

new attire

resume services

technology

or anything else that will help them land a new job, get that promotion, or succeed in a task that will better their lives and circumstances.

Program Director and Editor Janie Mackenzie-Cohen states, “I am incredibly excited to speak with these women, learn more about who they are and listen to their stories. It’s seems almost impossible for DVD to select just one deserving woman per month to provide these services to, but we are thrilled that we have the ability to help strong women make the absolute best out of the opportunities they are presented with and thrive in all areas of their life!”

To find out more about the program, please visit: www.DailyVenusDiva.com

To submit your story and need, please e-mail: Janie@DailyVenusDiva.com

Please link this blog entry to anyone you think may benefit!

Ciao,

Elisa

Vintage Lane Bryant Advertising…EEK!

DAHLINGS –

Your faithful correspondent was, as usual, deeply annoyed when clicking through plus-sized mainstream clothing sites. Almost all of the models are size 0, making the clothes look like badly pinned tents. However, it could be worse…

I wonder if they still sell “Husky Boy” clothes. Can any of the men out there enlighten me?

Ciao,
Elisa

Daily Venus Diva/FTF One Day Deal!

DAHLINGS –

Thursday July 14, 2011 at 9:00 a.m.through Friday July 15, 2011 at 9:00 a.m., Daily Venus Diva (DVD) and Fashion To Figure (FTF) will be partnering to offer a “daily deal” to readers and plus-size women everywhere on www.DailyVenusDiva.com.

The deal, only available for 24 hours, will allow consumers and all lovers of fashion to purchase a $20 certificate for only $10. Once purchased,consumers will be able to redeem these certificates at FTF either online or in stores,

“Fashion To Figure offers a huge selection of trendy, in-vogue clothesthat any woman would love to be seen in,” said Diva Deal Finder Janie Mackenzie-Cohen. “In a market where it’s difficult to find that sexylittle black dress that fits and flatters, FTF has filled a void providingvery reasonably priced clothes in styles plus-size women just can’t find anywhere else.”Fashion To Figure offers trendy plus-size clothing in sizes 12 – 26 and includes both casual and dress wear. In stores, FTF provides personal stylists to make the shopping experience that much easier. “Stylists ar efull-fashion experts and at your service always. A personal FashionStylist for your time at FTF can make all the difference. Stylists know you and our fashions very well. They can help put together outfits, give advice on what works and what doesn’t work, and guide you on how all our many choices fit.”

What: 24 hour “Daily Deal” for half-price $20 certificates
When: Thursday July 14, 2011 at 9:00 a.m., through Friday July 15,2011 at 9:00 a.m. Where: www.DailyVenusDiva.com

www.DailyVenusDiva.com is an online fashion magazine that caters to we larger lovelies. Please do have a look!

Ciao,
Elisa

Full Figured Fashion Week & The State of The Curvy Community

DAHLINGS –

So, where was I? Oh, yes, Full Figured Fashion Week, Day Three! A day of educational panels at the Hotel Pennyslvania on 33rd Street. Appropriately, in the heart of the garment district. The panels were held on the top floor, which offered a panoramic view of the city. There was a panel on getting a plus size business started, as well as a panel on plus size modeling.

Your faithful correspondent on was a panel in the afternoon, “The State of The Curvy Community.” My fellow panelists were Erica Watson, actress and creator of the solo show Fat Bitch; Golda Poretsky, founder of Body Love Wellness; Hattie of Plus Size Model Magazine, and Yulilya Raquel, designer of Igigi clothing.

From the FFF Week website (http://fffweek.com/):
This panel discussion addresses the current state of the plus-size community and the significance of Full Figured Fashion Week™, through the eyes of the industry’s leaders, bringing different perspectives from various experiences and points of view.

Call me whatever, but I do love being acknowledged as a leader of the plus size industry. The panel was moderated by Sharon Quinn, who did a marvelous job of fielding questions from the audience and commentary from the panel.

Sharon Quinn, “The Original Runway Diva”

The panel mostly focused on fashion, of course, and what plus-sized women are looking for. We come in all shapes and sizes, and muumuus simply do not cut it any more. I voiced my dissatisfaction with the lack of natural waists in plus size clothing. As Gwen DeVoe had said on the first night, we are ready to vote with our dollars. Many women are tired of seeing the same shapes, the same hideous prints, the same poor quality.

I should mention that I was wearing a gorgeous denim cocktail dress by SK Wilbur, with dark blue pleated organza on one side of the bodice, and a wide gray felt hat by Ellen Christine Millinery.

Erica Watson was extremely funny, but had a tendency to slather her comments with show business butter (“When I was on Dr. Phil, I got death threats;” “Jillian Michaels is my personal trainer;” “When I do parts in movies and television” etc. You get the idea.) But anyone with the cojones to create a show called Fat Bitch deserves kudos.

Erica Watson, comedian and creator of Fat Bitch

Yulilya Raquel might well be the most life-affirming person I have ever met, and that is not meant sarcastically. She is full of joy and love for her fellow man/woman, with a contagious enthusiasm that is absolutely genuine. She urged us all to embrace ourselves because every human being is beautiful, that the essence of humanity is beautiful.

Yulilya Raquel, designer for Igigi clothing

As for moi, unfortunately most of what I said escapes me, but I am certain it was pithy. (The panel was recorded, so I hope to get a copy in the near future and refresh my memory.) Ms. Watson managed to get quite a few laughs with jokes I had uttered not a second before; not a surprise that her background is stand-up comedy.

What struck me, sitting there, that despite the pride in ourselves and others, there was an undercurrent of shame, which was accurately blamed on the “diet culture” we live in. Golda Poretsky was quite eloquent on this point.

Golda Poretsky, founder of Body Love Wellness

Many in the audience mentioned wanting to lose weight, or bragged about losing weight (which for obvious reasons was not well-received), or otherwise seemed to feel obligated to mention diet and exercise in some form.

One of the attendees, Sharon Jones, the organizer of FFF Week, told me the next day that I had said “Where is the woman who will stand up and say I don’t exercise and I eat whatever the fuck I want?” I do remember laughing and cheering but if it hadn’t been for Sharon I wouldn’t have remembered a word of it. Probably because of my use of profanity, I had blocked it out.

Afterwards, a group of us went to dinner, including a divine woman who had flown from Paris to be there! As before, I felt a glow at the end of the day that did not come from Sonsi-tinis.

A note: there was some sort of workshop to be held in another room, about how to be a real woman. Each sign was covered with pink feather boas. The women who were going in were all pencil thin, which seemed absolutely unreal after three days of voluptuous curves. If you want to be a real woman, eat an eclair.

Ciao,
Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Full Figured Fashion Week Opening Night!

DAHLINGS –

Last night was the opening of Full Figured Fashion Week! And what an opening night it was! Boulevard, an exclusive club downtown, was filled with creme de la creme of plus-sized fashion. The fabulous Marie Denee (http://thecurvyfashionista.mariedenee.com/ ) greeted me at the door, dressed in a black creation by Cha.Nel.Karam (who later presented an AMAZING runway show). Gwen Devoe of Devoe Productions was rushing about getting things ready. When she took the stage, she was stunning in a white bustier and pencil skirt with large white rosettes on the front. And she also made a very entertaining mistress of ceremonies!

You have no idea how validating it can be to be in a nightclub filled with beautiful women, all plus-sized (except, oddly enough, many of the sponsors), dressed in their best. There were feathers, long gowns, short dresses, sequins, maxi dresses, and so much more, worn proudly by women, black, white and Latina. Your faithful correspondent wore her green custom-made gown by Mad Couture. It looked great, but a nightclub filled to bursting with clientele…well let’s just say a lighter dress would have been more appropriate. Sweating is something I avoid at all costs. In honor of Sonsi, the major sponsor for this event, they were serving Sonsi-tinis, a pink cocktail.

I met my fellow members of the Curvy Collective, women who are considered to be important figures in the plus-size industry (I blush, but not really). Stephanie Danforth of Life-Sized Radio; the incomparable Christina from Musings of a Fatshionista; Aimee and Erica from Madison Plus; the author of The Big Girl’s Blog (who prefers to remain anonymous), and several others.

On to the fashion! The runway shows were spectacular, not only because of the clothes, but the confident swagger of the plus sized models. Unlike anorexic fashion models, these women worked it, even smiling! How often do you see that on the runway? There were ten designers in all, but I do not have time to do them all justice. However, more will be written about them in the ensuing days!

The Angel Alternaltive, designed by Angel Meyers, were a series of maxi-dresses. They were all very pretty, but unfortunately the dress worn by Angel herself was so spectacular (a shiny animal print long-sleeved column dress) that her designs suffered slightly in comparison.

The offerings from Kiyonna was, as expected, gorgeous. I would have snatched up every piece of the runway. Particularly the black lace dresses. One of my pet peeves is that so many plus size designers only make empire-waisted clothes, ignoring those of us who are not pear shaped. However, Kiyonna redresses the balance somewhat (pardon the pun).
Pure Energy for Target and Just My Size, were, well, meh. Particularly the latter. They were touting their new line as fashion-forward, but that’s if you think fashion-forward is sprinkling glitter on large-sized t-shirts.

More of the designers (and more photos) will be up tomorrow, but I must dash and get ready for tonight’s Plus-Sized Model Competition, hosted by Ruschell Boone, reporter for New York One.

And do not forget, tomorrow I will be on a panel, “The State of The Curvy Community,” hosted by television personality Sharon Quinn, along with Erica Watson, Plus Size comedienne

Marianne Kirby – Blogger from The Rotund and co-author of Notes from the Fatosphere
Yuliya Raquel – Founder/Designer, Igigi
Golda Poretsky – Founder of Body Love Wellness

At the centrally located Hotel Pennsylvania, Madison Room, 33rd Street at Seventh Avenue. Trust me, you can’t miss it.

Now to find something suitably ventilated for tonight!

Ciao,
Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog