View Full Version : Our interview with Jessica Biffi

9th March 2010, 22:32
<br>The Judgment of Paris first broke the news about Jessica Biffi's forcoming line for MXM several weeks ago, and since then, the buzz has been growing about the Canadian plus-size designer's collection. Jessica recently appeared in brief interviews in a number of publications, but we thought that we would take the time to engage in a longer discussion with the <i>Project Runway</I> alumnus. Our conversation ended up covering a wide range of topics, from her own design background, to her aesthetic philosophy, to the genesis of her "Bold Biffi" line for MXM, to how she came to select gorgeous plus-size model Kailee O'Sullivan to be the face (and figure) of her collection.

For those of you who are not blessed with the beauty of a Shannon Marie or a Kelsey Olson, but still wish to participate in the industry in ways other than modelling, this interview offers valuable insight in the process of breaking into fashion at the creative level.

As a full-figured woman herself, Ms. Biffi is a unique presence in the Canadian industry. Her affiliation with MXM speaks of her loyalty to curvier customers, as do the thoughts that she expresses in this interview. We hope to see more plus-size creations from Jessica in the future, and we especially hope that she will continue to showcase them on the most beautiful and popular plus-size models.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/biffi/biffi07.jpg"></center><p>- <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/biffi/" target="_blank">Click here to read interview</a>

10th March 2010, 01:03
What an intriguing interview. I found it gratifying to hear Ms. Biffi's response to the question about whether she thought it was important for young women to see clothing on youthful and genuinely full-figured plus-size models:

JESSICA: I think it’s really important, because then they can identify more with what they’re seeing. 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.
Applause. I'm so encouraged to hear her say this. I wish more designers would "get it," the way she does.

It was also fascinating to learn about her background, and how she got started in fashion. I hope her story motivates many other young women, especially those who are full-figured, or who would like to specialize in plus-size fashion, to find their way as well.

It is the absence of pro-curvy designers that has held back size-celebration for decades. With more curve-loving creative visionaries in the industry, maybe we finally would see a restoration of timeless beauty.

M. Lopez
10th March 2010, 14:40
As a long-time Kailee O'Sullivan fan, I was delighted to hear the inside scoop on the decision-making process that led Jessica to choose her to be the face of her line:

HSG: Why did you choose Kailee?

JESSICA: She had a look that changed really well from season to season. She has a really fun, youthful vibe about her. She is very young as well, because I met her on the day of the shoot. 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.
It's true! Kailee really energizes the clothing in the MXM promo photos, and especially in the video.

I also really appreciated what the designer had to say about how full-figured women should possess body confidence:

JESSICA: 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 and don’t show off [...] I think that plus-size women should not be afraid to show off their curves.
If only there were more voices in fashion with this kind of philosophy, our whole media landscape would be much improved, and women would feel the way they should about their full figures - justifiably proud.

It's funny. This season, ever-so-slight curves are making a minor comeback on the runways in Milan and Paris, but we're still talking about straight-size models. Plus-size women have all of the advantages of curves, except in a more truly womanly, sensual way. How wonderful it would be if the fashion world were to realize that if it really wanted to feature women with shape, it should turn to true plus-size models such as Kailee, Kelsey, Justine, Charlotte Coyle, Katherine Roll, etc.

10th March 2010, 17:07
The interview particularly praises the first MXM video with Kailee and Jessica. Well, MXM has now released a second chapter in this video series, and it's even more exciting.

<object width="640" height="505"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/CpJRpTq5ED4&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0x3a3a3a&color2=0x999999"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/CpJRpTq5ED4&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0x3a3a3a&color2=0x999999" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="640" height="505"></embed></object>

Kailee looks even more sensual in this video than in the first, and her poses are more boldly alluring. I love what she does with her hair, running her fingers through it in a sensual manner. Wow.

Watch her eyes at 0:07. This is a girl who knows that she's a goddess.

17th March 2010, 15:32
How refreshing to have a full-figured woman designing clothes for full-figured women! This is a great brand, from the designs and how they're styled to the choice of model and quality of production in ads/promotions. I wish it were available in the U.S. I would most certainly purchase items from the line.

17th March 2010, 21:49
Here's another special Irish treat for St. Patrick's Day - Kailee O'Sullivan (you can't get more Irish than with a name like that!) in a brand-new MXM video.

<object width="640" height="505"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/fuHxVEvZrjM&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0x3a3a3a&color2=0x999999"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/fuHxVEvZrjM&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0x3a3a3a&color2=0x999999" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="640" height="505"></embed></object>

As with the previous MXM clips, it begins with behind-the-scenes glimpses from the photoshoot. You'll love the coy smile that Kailee gives in the first shot, at 0:06.

23rd March 2010, 23:22
Today MXM released the last of the four videos showing the behind-the-scenes clips of Kailee's shoot for the "Bold Biffi" collection. This is the one I was waiting for - the video of Kailee in the Sparkling Grape Halter Top, which everyone agreed was the most interesting item in the collection, and the most exciting of Kailee's images.

Fittingly, the video gives a somewhat longer look at Kailee's performance at the shoot.

<object width="640" height="505"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/fB971J4Rt78&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0x3a3a3a&color2=0x999999"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/fB971J4Rt78&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0x3a3a3a&color2=0x999999" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="640" height="505"></embed></object>

I especially love her look at 0:07, and the passion in her eyes at 0:14. She strikes many sensual poses. It's fascinating to imagine what the rest of her film from this shoot might have looked like.

Watch as the stylists come by at one point, ostensibly to adjust her hair, but probably really because they couldn't resist running their hands through her tresses! She looks amazing.

30th March 2010, 08:02
Jessica has been quoted in a number of press articles recently. Some reporters have taken a mixed-message slant, but here's one of the better write-ups:


Jessica makes several size-positive statements that echo the affirmative ideas that she expressed in her Judgment of Paris interview:

“Plus-size women before were more about hiding,” she says. “Now it’s like, ‘I’m a person. I want to wear trends like anyone else.’ ”Fit was an important design consideration, says Biffi.

“I didn’t want to hide the body; I wanted to accent the body,” she says.
The article also comes with several press pictures from 1 Plus, including a couple of Kailee's MXM photos.

From the videos of Kailee's MXM shoot, to the Bold Biffi microsite, to the fact that Jessica gave the Judgment of Paris an interview, the promotion for this new line has been excellent. I hope it signals more such "interactive" campaigns from MXM/Addition-Elle/Penningtons in the future, with more of everyone's favourite plus-size models.

30th March 2010, 15:47
They saved the best for last! Here's the final MXM video showing behind-the-scenes glimpses of the photoshoot with Miss O'Sullivan. You get to see many extra clips of Kailee during the shoot, and equally beautiful ones where she'd getting made up:

<object width="640" height="505"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/2Vi-GjatOpo&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0x3a3a3a&color2=0x999999"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/2Vi-GjatOpo&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0x3a3a3a&color2=0x999999" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="640" height="505"></embed></object>

Eloquent statements from Jessica too. These videos have been an exciting introduction to her line.

M. Lopez
31st March 2010, 09:19
The videos are absolutely stunning - some of the most captivating modelling footage I've ever seen.

Kailee's pictures for the Bold Biffi collection now appear on the MXM cover page:


I also came across an ad that MXM has distributed to various sites promoting Jessica's new collection:


I wish MXM had released even more pictures of Kailee from her Bold Biffi shoot, as so many of the poses that she struck in the videos looked very sensual and dramatic. But she looks gorgeous in all of the images that have been released.

At any rate, the line is now available for purchase online and at selected MXM/Penningtons locations. I like the purple halter top best of all.