The FFFWeek Finale (with Lindsey)
[NOTE: The following images have been commercially licensed from Mr. Richard Lew, the official FFFWeek photographer. Their appearance here does not sanction any further distribution beyond this site. Any Web logs or publications seeking Mr. Lew's FFFWeek images must obtain them from his Web site, which can be found here.]
How to sum up an event of the calibre and magnitude of Full-Figured Fashion Week 2010? One could exhaust all superlatives and still fail to convey its significance.
FFFWeek will be the subject of several posts on this forum over the next several weeks, but let us proceed right to the heart of the matter and discuss the centrepiece, the main runway show, which took place on Saturday night.
It was the extraordinary quality and high production values of last year's finale that put Full-Figured Fashion Week on the map and convinced even the most jaded individuals that this was an event worth celebrating. But the 2010 edition far surpassed last year's finale in terms of scale and execution. It struck the perfect note throughout: imaginative without being gimmicky, inspirational without being overdone, extravagant without being excessive.
The prodigious talents and tireless efforts of the remarkable team that the event's organizer, Ms. Gwen DeVoe, put together were evident in every magical detail. Right from the opening, one could tell that the directors had generated a marvellous concept, from the sight of precious little cherubs ambling down the runway to the vision of a model encased in a transparent sphere rolling the length of the catwalk, posing all the while. These introductory segments mixed sweetness with fantasy, and indicated that the audience would be treated to something far more inspired that a mere parade of functional "career" clothing; rather, that they were about to experience dream, and whimsy, and creativity, and beauty.
Were there any critics of the fashions that were on offer during the 2009 show? If there were, those voices were surely silenced by the quality of this year's offerings. The clothing was exceptional--and in many cases, stunningly beautiful. The designers who participated seemed to recognize the significance of the event, and stepped up their game accordingly. At several points during the evening one could hear audible gasps as particularly daring and figure-baring items were sent down the runway. Yet not in a single instance was there even a hint of vulgarity. The taste level of the fashions was remarkably high.
The evening yielded only one significant regret, and that was the absence of the gorgeous Katherine Roll (who was the breakout star of last year's show) and of Kailee O'Sullivan (whose presence distinguished FFFWeek 2009 by the very highest level of plus-size beauty). Although they were sorely missed, this year's finale was blessed by the presence of size-16 goddess Lindsey Garbelman. Lindsey walked for four of the twelve designers, and led the final runway parade featuring all of the show's models.
Lindsey was given a very attractive hair arrangement for the evening, a long, girlish ponytail combined with voluptuous fullness at the top. This hairstyle showcased her gorgeously round facial features, yet still preserved feminine length. Also, as this fine image shows, Lindsey's animated runway motions allowed her ponytail to swish back and forth as she walked, creating a very pretty and enticing vision.
Lindsey possesses sensually soft, full shoulders and rounded arms--physical features that her dress framed most effectively, with its strapless, sleeveless style (the ideal design for plus-size goddesses).
Notice the decorative fringes on the dress. These too displayed a swishing movement on the runway, as if to accompany the sway of Lindsey's ponytail, thus creating a symphony of motion that was truly enchanting to view.
But still, the supreme point of attraction in Lindsey's runway pictures is always the sight of her round, doll-like face, which possess that most sensual of all facial traits, a curve under the chin, testifying to the model's robust, well-fed fullness.
Notice the object that Lindsey held in her right hand in the previous images. This was a prop that Pheline gave to its models, a very retro-looking hat that each girl was meant to don at the foot of the runway. Needless to say, Lindsey accomplished this bit of business in the most fetching manner imaginable.
With her lovely smile and the glint of mischief in her eyes, Lindsey created, in this image, what may be the most emblematic still of the entire show. She seems to be both a sweet, soft, plump young beauty, and at the same time a saucy minx, one possessed of . . . sinful desires. This mixture of prettiness and seductiveness struck the keynote of the entire evening.
Lindsey's second look of the night was also for a Canadian label. (Yes, Canadians are much enamoured of Miss Garbelman. Can you blame us?) This time, Lindsey walked for Lotis Clothing, donning an interesting reimagining of a professional outfit. Observe how each aspect of the design introduces much-needed femininity to professional apparel. The deep, rounded neckline shows of the model's buxom curves. The close fit of the item defines Lindsey's womanly hips. The abbreviated skirt displays the wearer's legs.
But above all, the crucial element that makes this look so desirable is the model's own opulent size-16 figure. Without Lindsey's voluptuous contours, all of those figure-framing touches would lack the requisite physique to display. No waif, nor any faux-plus model for that matter, could exhibit this item half as well as a true plus-size model like Lindsey--which is one of the principal lessons of FFFWeek as a whole.
Next, Miss Garbelman was given the honour of not only walking in the K. Renee show, but even being the lead model--the first girl to parade the label's items down the runway. This particular design may be an acquired taste, which some will like more than others, but no one can deny that with her ebullient demeanour Lindsey made it look as good as it possibly could look.
That, in fact, is one of the reasons why Lindsey is so irresistible on the runway. Instead of adopting the kind of sullen, miserable-looking expressions that androgynous, minus-size models invariably display as they march robotically down the catwalk, Lindsey allows herself to exude happiness and vitality, communicating a sense of pleasure and well-being and self-satisfaction. And that, in turn, makes everything that she models look so much more attractive than it would otherwise appear.
Lindsey's fourth look of the evening was for the acclaimed Igigi collection, a French-themed presentation that, some might argue, completely stole the show. The music was soft and dreamy and very Parisian, immediately creating a sense of place and mood. Like the other girls in the event, Lindsey wore a beret to give her look a distinctively Old World character.
Even from these still images, discriminating viewers will be able to tell that Lindsey subtly altered her walk for this designer, in keeping with Yuliya's Parisian theme. Instead of the sass and bravado that she employed in previous segments, here Lindsey took on a somewhat more chic and distinguished manner, while still retaining her adorable girlishness.
As always, though, the specific characteristic that sends fans' hearts fluttering, when they look at Lindsey, is the alluring curve under the chin, and the exquisite roundness of her face. Her visage possesses the ideal blend of high cheekbones softened by facial fullness, resulting in a doll-like look that is utterly irresistible.
We would be remiss not to give a nod to the extraordinary photography of Mr. Richard Lew. Shooting models on the fly, on the runway, is a fantastically difficult task, yet through his considerable skill Mr. Lew manages to make every shot look like it was carefully posed for a magazine editorial.
This too is a candidate for prettiest, most iconic image of the show, with Lindsey looking stunningly beautiful and fairer-skinned than usual (thanks to the effective lighting). Note the touch of movement in the model's sweater and dress--an important detail that adds life to the outfit. Bravo to Lindsey for generating it, and to the photographer for capturing just the right moment. The framing of this image is flawless.
And now for the pièce de résistance, here is Lindsey walking out in a brand-new look at the head of the concluding runway parade featuring all of the show's models. Question: How is it possible that Lindsey wore five items on the runway although she walked for four designers? Answer: This is the model's own dress. Her Igigi outfit had already been packed away by the time the last designer had presented, so, with the approval of the show's director, she led the concluding runway turn wearing her own garment.
And what a lovely dress it is. Although it is black, it is still physically celebratory, as it bares her arms, displays her decolletage, and closely embraces her luscious curves, lovingly defining her sumptuous physique--even her round midsection and womanly thighs. The lacy trim provides an extra feminine touch. This mixture of size-celebration and delicate, sensual femininity defines the overall aesthetic that distinguished the FFFWeek finale--and no model personified that aesthetic better than Lindsey.
Yes, there were a few minor technical glitches along the way, but those are a part of every major public event, and in fact, they are not unwelcome. Not only do they humanize the experience, but they invite eager audience participation. For example, at one point during the evening the music cut out due to a power overload. Far from dismaying the audience, this prompted the attendees to begin gamely cheering on the model who was walking down the runway at this time. This impromptu audio accompaniment proved to be even more dynamic than the music that had been silenced.
In a brief discussion with Ms. DeVoe some time after the finale was over, the present author made the observation that FFFWeek is desperately needed because the odds of the "mainstream" fashion industry ever giving plus-size beauty proportional representation are nil. But FFFWeek is also necessary because it is a vision of how fashion could be. It is a superior conception of fashion than the one that currently exists. FFFWeek creates an alternative universe where models are allowed to eat whatever they like, and as much as they like; where clothing is created to celebrate the well-fed womanly form, not to fight against it; where fashion is tailored to the body, not the body to the designer's whim; where both the female participants and viewers experience joy, not suffering; plenty, not want; satisfaction, not deprivation.
Re: The FFFWeek Finale (with Lindsey)
Gorgeous, gorgeous images of Lindsey. She looks stunning on the runway - so curvy, so confident. She represents full-figured fashion so well. Thank goodness that FFFWeek maintains a size-16+ standard for the girls on its runway. This is what a plus-size fashion show SHOULD look like.
I love all the press that this event has been getting, but I wish that most of the images that the press was using had come from this show, the Saturday finale, rather than from the opening-night Wednesday event, as the production values for the final catwalk presentation were much higher. This looks like a top-flight professional runway show, something that is no less polished and expensive than the shows at the world's various minus-size "fashion weeks."
Lindsey looks terrific with her ponytail. I like the fact that it had volume on the top, and I love how her hair looks thick and full right down to the ends. I also agree that her black dress was the prettiest item of all, especially with its gossamer lace trim.
The Pheline business with the hat was a clever touch. It reminds me of a Kelsey Olson page in one of her famous Figure editorials:
Really beautiful work by Lindsey, and bravo to Rosie Mercado for being the face and figure of the show - and for wearing such an exciting colour. Congratulations to Ms. DeVoe for this triumph.
Re: The FFFWeek Finale (with Lindsey)
These pictures are stunning! I hope everyone who attended the events enjoyed themselves and felt empowered and beautiful.
One thing I've noticed about the runway when voluptuous models are on it is how they smile! The models look happy, their faces are gorgeous and glowing, and they are obviously enjoying their time. They fill out the clothes they are modelling so well and actually make me WANT to spend money on those clothes. I wonder how people can tolerate watching fashion shows with miserable-looking, emaciated models when they can watch the full-figured beauties shine and inspire.
Re: The FFFWeek Finale (with Lindsey)
I found the Web site of another photographer who shot the FFFWeek finale. I prefer Mr. Lew's pictures overall, but these are interesting too.
Here's Lindsey in her Pheline dress with her hair flying. Notice the image of the model on the video screen in the background.
Here's that cute moment where she dons her hat at the end of the runway:
Walking for Lotis Clothing:
And for K. Renee. I adore her smiling, happy face.
Here she is in the Igigi outfit:
This photo captures the adorable rise of the "slope toward the throat":
A close-up of Lindsey on the final runway walk-around, wearing her own dress (which is as pretty as anything else that was sent down the runway).
Here's the link to the hub page of all of this photographer's FFFWeek albums:
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