View Full Version : Interview with LucieLu
<br>A few weeks ago, we <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/board/showthread.php?t=1782" target="_blank">posted</a> Kelsey Olson's stunning photographs for a new plus-size label called LucieLu. The images proved so popular that we felt that it would be worth learning more about this intriguing line.
Lucie Sholl--the owner, buyer, and designer for LucieLu--kindly took some time out of her busy schedule to grant us an interview, and provided some fascinating insights about the plus-size industry, about launching a new brand, and about having the lovely Miss Olson modelling her eye-catching designs.
We have now posted the text of the interview on a separate Web page, linked below. Anyone with an interest in plus-size fashion will find Lucie's comments highly illuminating.
Despite her protestations that she does not have a size-acceptance goal in mind, she is markedly advancing the cause of size celebration with both her clothing and her admirable choice of models.
Lucie's design philosophy is unique and original, especially her love of girly details. Her observations about the practical challenges in adding complex embellishments are, however, quite sobering.
Her enthusiasm for Kelsey as her line's model is wonderful to hear. The revelation that her clothes sell better on full-figured models than they do on dress forms is a crucial point, dispelling as it does many pernicious industry myths. Lucie's flat-out rejection of the "hanger" excuse for using underweight models is most welcome.
We earnestly wish LucieLu every success in the world. Clearly the label is on the right track, benefitting from an admirably size-positive philosophy and an appealing aesthetic vision. We look forward to many gorgeous new LucieLu designs, and we hope to see Miss Olson showcasing them to the world.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/lu/lu01.jpg"></center><p>- <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/lucielu/" target="_blank">Click here to read interview</a>
1st March 2010, 13:44
What a fascinating interview! It's really interesting to hear the perspective of someone whose expertise encompasses every step in the fashion process, from dreaming up a garment, to designing it, to bringing it to a vendor to have it made, to marketing and promoting it.
I adored all of the designs that Kelsey modelled in the previous thread about LucieLu, and I also like the new pieces that were mentioned in the interview. That "Whimsy Bow Tee," with all of the bows on it, is adorable! What an interesting way to take a basic design and make it feminine and original.
I love the "boutique" aspect of the line, as Lucie puts it -- the idea of pieces that look unique and one-of-a-kind, something that's chic and has a lot of personality. Wearing something like that is a great way to break out of the mass-produced, cookie-cutter mindset of the workaday world.
As Ms. Sholl acknowledged by the end of the interview, she is very much in the business of size-celebration. In fact, given that she's making attractive clothes available to curvy girls and showcasing them on a beautiful and genuinely curvaceous model, she (and visionaries like her) are just about the most important individuals in the movement. After all, self-esteem is very much based on how a girl looks and feels about herself, and LucieLu is materially improving both, for many young women.
I found this passage from the interview very touching:
<strong>LUCIE:</strong> I got an e-mail recently about Kelsey from a woman who said something like. . . It was a really nice e-mail to open on a Monday morning. She said, "I recently ordered something for my daughter, and the reason I did it was because she saw it modelled on your pretty blonde model, and she saw herself in that model. For the first time, the shopping experience was wonderful, and she felt good about herself."
If that doesn't testify to the power of curvaceous beauty to do good in the world, I don't know what does.
I love everything about this new line, and will be following it avidly.
1st March 2010, 15:07
Lucie's design philosophy couldn't be better. No wonder she has so many pretty items:
<strong>HSG:</strong> <i>How do you feel about traditional feminine details like frills and ruffles?</i>
<strong>LUCIE:</strong> I like it. I like lace. I like classic, girly details.
<strong>HSG:</strong> <i>How about ribbons and bows?</i>
<strong>LUCIE:</strong> Absolutely. I have a T-shirt</a> on the Web site right now that is <a href="http://shop.lucielu.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=WhimsyBowTee" target="_blank">covered in bows</a>, these little, tiny, embellished bows. Yeah, I love bows. Right now I'm working on a casual day dress that's going to have a halter-style back, with a lace bow that's going to be in the back.
<strong>HSG:</strong> <i>That sounds beautiful. [P]erhaps you do have a bit of the Victorian in you.</i>
<strong>LUCIE:</strong> Yeah, actually, I was thinking about that when you said that. I would say, Victorian age, yes.
<strong>HSG:</strong> <i>At the Judgment of Paris, we're big fans of Victoriana.</i>
<strong>LUCIE:</strong> Yeah. I do like the girly details, for sure.
I can't wait to see that halter-style dress with the lace bow! It sounds magical - a perfect design for curves. I'm picturing it in my mind already, and I look forward to seeing what Lucie comes up with. I'll be first in line for it, for sure.
It was also quite eye-opening the reactions of Lucie and her whole photographic team to the experience of working with Kelsey. Her pictures and videos already show how amazing she is as a model, but it's still terrific to hear such enthusiastic comments about her:
<strong>LUCIE:</strong> I think that she brings, like I said, a really ageless, beautiful, womanly representation. I mean, she's got a great physique, with really proportionate curves. I remember when they were doing the fittings, and we were corresponding, and she <i>[Lucie's point person in L.A.]</i> said, "Well, everything looks great on her, so take your pick. What do you want first to be shot--your main, top, favourite picks to be shot at the photoshoot? Because she does justice to everything."
Right there, you know that Lucie is on the right wavelength, because Kelsey does have a great physique, very soft and natural, and it's wonderful to see a designer recognizing this.
Truer words were never spoken: "Everything looks great on her." She's my favourite plus-size representative.
1st March 2010, 19:51
I really appreciate the freedom that Lucie expresses in her approach to fashion:
<strong>LUCIE:</strong> Some people say "Oh, maybe plus-size women can't wear skinny jeans." I don't agree with that. I think they look great.
<strong>HSG:</strong> <i>Would you agree with the proposition that full-figured girls are more beautiful when they show off their curves rather than when they hide them or disguise them?</i>
<strong>LUCIE:</strong> Yeah, absolutely. I think, definitely, when you have form-fitting clothes that fit your body, that's good no matter what size you are.
The only kind of people who do NOT believe that plus-size women can wear skinny jeans, or who want them to hide and disguise their curves, are people who have a personal problem with visibly full figures. Those kinds of anti-plus biases are not about fashion, actually, but about size discrimination based on aesthetic prejudice.
The fact that Lucie thinks curvy girls look great in skinny (i.e. tight) jeans and in form-fitting clothes shows that she is a designer who loves the look of womanly curves. And that is the most vital requirement of a designer of plus-size fashion.
And if that didnt prove that LucieLu appreciates curves, the fact that she featured Kelsey as the face & figure of her line does:
<strong>LUCIE:</strong> Well, she's beautiful, and she just kind of stuck out to me. I think she kind of encompasses that age group that I'm going after. I think she looks really ageless. She could be really young, or she could be a little bit older. I just think she represents my customers, and really wears the clothes well. And everything looks great on her. She just really stuck out, and I love her a lot.
I never really thought about that, but its true. Kelsey has a perpetually childlike quality, which makes her so adorable, but she can also look chic and sophisticated, as the situation requires. No wonder Lucie selected her. No wonder she is such a fantastic model.
2nd March 2010, 04:14
Here's one passage that strongly endears LucieLu to me:
<strong>HSG:</strong> <i>Is there any truth to the ridiculous proposition that clothes look better on underweight models who resemble walking "hangers"?</i>
<strong>LUCIE:</strong> No. I don't think so.
<strong>HSG:</strong> <i>Well, you tell me. You're in the business of clothing. Do they?</i>
<strong>LUCIE:</strong> <i>[emphatically]</i> <strong>No.</strong>
<strong>HSG:</strong> <i>They don't?</i>
<strong>LUCIE:</strong> I think that you want to have some. . . I think that you want your body to fill them out and bring them to life, not be hanging on a hanger.
It's one thing for size-acceptance advocates to point out the absurdity of the "hanger" excuse, but for a designer to debunk it is even more significant. Bravo to Lucie for busting this myth.
In fact, I think most people always realized that it was a myth anyway - just a talking point that was used to justify the anorexic aesthetic, which was actually favoured because of some people's acute curve-o-phobia.
It's also really encouraging to hear this:
<strong>LUCIE:</strong> Things that I do show on the models sell better than the other items.
I'm sure that they do! That busts another silly myth - that women don't want to see clothes modelled on fuller-bodied models. Nonsense. The guests on Emme's recent segment on Rachel Ray scorned this dogma as well. Everyone keeps referring to supposed "studies" to justify the use of faux-plus models, but no one can ever produce any trace of those studies. Rather, all evidence - in this case, concrete testimony from a clothing company - proves that true plus-size models sell clothing very well indeed.
And this deserves a standing ovation:
<strong>LUCIE:</strong> I hope so! Yeah, absolutely. As you said, a lot of the plus-size models that companies use are size 6 or 8, and then Kelsey, I think she's more like a 16. I would even really like to try to find some women that wear a larger size than that, so that's another goal that I have.
Bravo. That's the approach that all companies should take. Someone like Kelsey should be the baseline size of plus-size models, and then there could be variety in models fuller than her. Their sizes should begin at 16 and go higher. There is no point in having skinnier models exhibiting plus-size clothing, as it gives no idea of the shape of the garment on a curvy figure. Lucie has the right idea, and her company's pictures of Kelsey prove it.
16th March 2010, 09:03
<br>A few weeks ago, we shared the transcript of our interview with Lucie Sholl, plus-size designer and owner of the LucieLu clothing boutique. We have now posted the text of the interview on a separate Web page, illustrated by images of the stunning Kelsey Olson modelling LucieLu's attractive fashions.
Anyone wishing to purchase the items that are displayed in the interview can find them on the LucieLu site; or, more easily, by clicking on the corresponding images in our original <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/board/showthread.php?t=1782" target="_blank">post</a> about Kelsey's work for this company.
In addition, Lucie has provided a special extra image just for Judgment of Paris readers--an exclusive outtake, never posted on the LucieLu site, showing Kelsey modelling the company's <a href="http://www.lucielu.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=AnnaliseBlouse" target="_blank">Annalise Blouse</a>. The image shows off the womanliness of her figure and the luscious fullness of Kelsey's legs, as defined so lovingly by the figure-embracing denim.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/lu/lu21.jpg"></center><p>No other model so perfectly combines a princess-like appearance of timeless beauty with such shapely proportion. No wonder Miss Olson is the most popular of today's plus-size models. As Miss Sholl attests in the interview, <i>"Everything looks great on her."</i>
- <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/lucielu/" target="_blank">Click here to read LucieLu interview</a>
18th March 2010, 09:44
Are there enough words of praise in the English language to explain how gorgeous Miss Olson looks in all of her LucieLu pictures? And especially in that last one, the outtake, with Kelsey in green. Wow. Those jeans fit her like a dream because her legs are curvy enough to give them shape. And the top looks terrific on her. With her head to the side, she shows off her long, blonde tresses.
Whenever people wonder what the public is looking for in plus-size models, here it is: Kelsey is the embodiment of the full-figured ideal. And from her comments in the interview, I can see that Lucie understands this perfectly:
You want to see the clothes on someone that helps you picture how they’re going to look on you. [...]I think we’re kind of done with the whole emaciated model being shoved down your throat.
Yes! We are done with emaciated models -- and with faux-plus models too. When I look at Kelsey, I do see how the clothes will look when they're worn on a curvaceous figure.
Miss Sholl has a wonderful design philosophy. She's so right about how the plus-size customer has evolved over the years:
I think that when we first started, we didn’t know any better, so we would stay away from tube tops or spaghetti straps, and then once in a while we’d throw something in and it would sell like crazy. I think that definitely people are more accepting of their bodies, and are willing to dress the body they have now instead of covering it up. Or instead of thinking, “I’m going to lose weight next month,” or whatever, they’re more accepting: “Okay, this is who I am, and this is the body I have, and I’m going to look my best while I’m here.”
Very true. I'd love to see LucieLu offer tube tops and spaghetti straps. (Goodness knows that Kelsey would look terrific in both.)
And what Lucie says about people appreciating the bodies that they have now, rather than trying to disfigure themselves into diminished sizes, that's exactly the case.
Both the images and the text make this a very empowering interview, and make me eager to see how LucieLu will develop in the future.
23rd March 2010, 14:07
I did a little searching on the Internet, and the reactions to Kelsey's pictures for LucieLu, and to this interview, have been amazingly positive.
One post on a Web log said:
Lucie Lu apparently has a policy of hiring Norse goddesses, among others, as models. Awesome!
As for reactions to the interview itself, the Facebook page of the VenusVision group linked to it, and the admin introduced it by saying:
I love the pix in this interview. This woman's style is awesome! The title of the post is so true. Everything DOES look great on her.The first response to this was:
Naturally it does! Because she isn't trying to squeeze into the wrong SIZED outfit!! Is isn't about WHAT you were...it is HOW you wear it!! And I agree...she looks WONDERFUL!!A second response:
She is great... and gorgeous... and stylish... and fun.... and smart...
I do love the dress with black top and colorful skirt and the outfit with the textured red cardigan and jeans - she wears the hell out of that rich red. Whoever said blondes should stick to blues and greens didn't know squat!A third:
Lucie Sholl, the designer & boutique owner who is interviewed in that article, is indeed really fun and smart. And her blonde model (the girl in the pictures) is GORGEOUS! Her name is Kelsey Olson. She's my favorite plus-size model!
I also noticed that a link to the interview was posted on the LucieLu Facebook page, where it's introduced thus:
Get to know Lucie of LucieLu in this Judgment of Paris interview. And see the gorgeous photos they featured of Lucie's beautiful blonde model, Kelsey. There are more on LucieLu.com, too - all showing off the many ways to be oh-so-stylishly confident. Kelsey's shown here wearing Lucie's Iliana top, Rosa skirt and Bona Fide necklace.
And in another unrelated post on the LucieLu Facebook, a commentator said:
That teagan dress is so pretty. Your blonde model looked beautiful in it
Clearly, Kelsey's work for LucieLu, and Lucie's fashions themselves, are a major hit!
It just goes to show you- when a label books a true plus-size model (and one who is so fantastically gorgeous) and dresses her well, the public loves what they see, and loves everything she wears.
Why doesn't every plus-size company adopt this approach?
30th March 2010, 21:00
There is no question about it, Kelsey is the most gorgeous model in the industry today. There are many other pretty models, but no one else comes close to matching her beauty. She's the perfect ideal of what a plus-size model should be.
I find it very interesting to compare the two designers whose interviews have been posted here recently: LucieLu and Jessica Biffi.
There are a few important differences between them, but many similarities.
One is full-figured; the other is not. One is creating her plus lines for a company, the other for her own label.
Both started right out of college, but Jessica went to school for fashion, while Lucie learned by opening a label with her sister.
One collection is seasonless, the other is all about spring; consequently, one likes muted colours, the other likes bold colours:
LUCIE: I definitely like to go with more of a seasonless colour palette, things that will work in all seasons of the year. I tend to stay away from anything that’s neon or too bright.
JESSICA: Spring, to me, is about really fun and vibrant colours, and shrugging off the fact that we’ve been in a blah winter. So I wanted it to be bright and fun.
Their target age groups are comparable:
LUCIE: I feel like my customer is about 25 to 40.
JESSICA: MXM is more the younger line, and Addition-Elle is 20 to 45ish.
They describe inspiration in similar ways, like bolts from the blue:
LUCIE: Sometimes I’ll be going to sleep at night and I’ll think of this really cute dress in my mind, and draw it out, and then source the fabric, and start from scratch that way.
JESSICA: It’s kind of hard to describe how I design, because it’s not even really something that I fully know how it happens. I usually just come up with something, and think, “Oh, my God, that would be amazing,” and build on that.
While both claim that they observe trends, they mostly stress how independent they are of trends:
LUCIE: I kind of am pretty independent. I know what I like. As much as I probably could draw from what’s happening right now in fashion, I kind of stick to what I like and what I don’t like.
JESSICA: I like to look at the world around me when I’m designing, and I am very much a people watcher, and I do take in a lot of fashion shows, and things like that. But when I’m creating, I like to stay away from them a little bit, because I don’t want to be influenced by that when I’m actually working on things.
Both respond "Yes!" when asked if full-figured women look better when they show off their curves instead of hiding them:
LUCIE: Yeah, absolutely. I think, definitely, when you have form-fitting clothes that fit your body, that’s good no matter what size you are.
JESSICA: I think so. Plus-size women have hips. They have breasts. Those are assets to have. I think it’s a shame when people wear really baggy clothing. I think that plus-size women should not be afraid to show off their curves.
They both describe how customers are becoming more body confident and fashion conscious:
LUCIE: People are more accepting of their bodies, and are willing to dress the body they have now instead of covering it up. Or instead of thinking, “I’m going to lose weight next month,” or whatever, they’re more accepting: “Okay, this is who I am, and this is the body I have, and I’m going to look my best while I’m here.”
JESSICA: The customer is demanding it. They’re looking for more. They’re shopping in different places and adapting things to their own bodies. Everyone is seeing that the plus-size woman does want stylish clothing. They want to look like everybody else. They want to be able to wear the clothing that their friends are going shopping for.
Both reject the idea that clothes look better on size-0 models who resemble hangers:
LUCIE: No. I don’t think so. No. I think that you want your body to fill them out and bring them to life, not be hanging on a hanger.
JESSICA: I don’t know where that came from, that whole, "Someone who is really emaciated, is a size double-0, looks better in clothing on the runway." I don’t think that’s the only size that looks good in clothing.
Both agree that plus-size clothing should be modelled on true plus-size models, size 14 and higher:
LUCIE: You want to see the clothes on someone that helps you picture how they’re going to look on you. A lot of the plus-size models that companies use are size 6 or 8, and then Kelsey, I think she’s more like a 16. I would even really like to try to find some women who wear a larger size than that.
JESSICA: If they’re seeing someone who is clearly not plus-size, or much older than them, they don’t identify with what it is that they’re looking at. People are very visual, so if you can envision yourself in the same position, then you’re more apt to think, “Oh, yeah, I’d totally wear that, because I’m like that girl.” And I think that it helps when you’re using true plus-size women, and especially with the lines being more youthful and fun, seeing someone younger is really great as well.
Both talk about how the public wants to see clothes modelled on relatable models:
LUCIE: I think we’re kind of done with the whole emaciated model being shoved down your throat. We’re ready for some real people to be modelling clothes.
JESSICA: I think the industry is realizing that the general public is not a model waif, and they are starting to get to the point where they are not just going to take it, and think, “Oh, yes, I do wish I looked like her.” They’re thinking, “I want to see someone who looks like me,” which is great.
And they say the nicest things about the goddesses who model for them:
LUCIE: She’s beautiful, and she just kind of stuck out to me. I think she kind of encompasses that age group that I’m going after. I just think she represents my customers, and really wears the clothes well. And everything looks great on her. She just really stuck out, and I love her a lot. she’s got a great physique, with really proportionate curves.
JESSICA: She had a look that changed really well from season to season. She has a really fun, youthful vibe about her. So she just seemed really fun, and like she’d embody the collection, and show women exactly what I was thinking when I was doing it. She’s got the beautiful hair. She’s a gorgeous girl.
I like the last comparison especially, because the praise could be directed at either model. Kelsey too has a look that "changes really well from season to season," because for LucieLu she modelled a deliberately "seasonless" line. She has the "beautiful hair" and is a "gorgeous girl" as well.
Although both of these young designers are different in several ways, their philosophies about design and the visual presentation of their clothing (on true plus-size models) are similar. I hope they represent the future of plus-size fashion, as their gorgeous models do.
8th April 2010, 19:31
By the way, the LucieLu Facebook page is at this address, if anyone would like to join:
Very pretty clothing on an absolutely gorgeous model. It doesn't get better than this. If there is any model who could really transform society's ideas of beauty and restore the timeless ideal, it's Kelsey. She's a blessing to all curvy women and to everyone who admires them.
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