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HSG 18th November 2011 06:50

Sophie Sheppard: Curves in Couture
 

Last night, it was our pleasure and privilege to attend the Curves in Couture event, staged by M.O.D.. It was, without exaggeration, one of the finest displayss of plus-size beauty that the fashion world has ever seen. We will be writing much more about the show in the near future, but for now, here are a few first impressions.

Having attended three incarnation of Full-Figured Fashion Week, we found it impossible to compare the two events, except to say that the finest elements of both productions were identical: the presentation of gorgeous plus-size models wearing chic, statement-making, full-figured fashions. The keynote collections at Curves n Couture were those of Anna Scholz, one of the most renowned curvy-fashion labels in the world, and Jill Alexander, who debuted her forthcoming spring line at the event. These presentations were every bit as stylish and thrilling as the finest collections seen at FFFWeek--which is little wonder, given that Jill Alexander has twice sent designs down the FFFWeek runway, and each of her lines has been more exciting and and beautiful than the last.

In terms of models, FFFWeek has featured celebrated talents such as Kelsey Olson, Katherine Roll, and Lindsey Garbelman, but, last night, as eagerly anticipated, a goddess who may well be the most beautiful plus-size model in the world walked the runway: the stunning Sophie Sheppard.

Time stood still when she took the stage.

The Judgment of Paris has been praising plus-size models for 13 years, but words fail us when attempting to describe Miss Sheppard's unimaginable loveliness. She truly is the classical ideal of feminine beauty incarnate, with fair tresses, deep-blue eyes, a flawless porcelain complexion, and a stunningly curvaceous size-16/18 figure. No matter how beautiful her images to date have been (and they have indeed been breathtaking), she surpasses even her finest photographs in sheer gorgeousness.

Moreover, as it turns out, Miss Sheppard is a consummate runway professional, and walked the catwalk with a level of effortless poise and elegance that would have put any couture-waif at Paris Fashion Week to shame. Sophie walked twice during the evening: once for Anna Scholz, and once for Jill Alexander. Both labels gave Sophie the most attractive and exciting outfits in their respective collections, and when the model wore these thrilling dresses and paraded them down the runway, she embodied the absolute zenith of plus-size beauty, the loveliest aesthetic that can ever be expressed in fashion.

Technically, the event benefitted from being staged at a venue called The Tabernacle, a converted church still exhibiting attractive Neo-Gothic elements, which gave the show a historical atmosphere that harmonized with the opulent figures on the runway. The lights and music were effectively utilized. This was a very professional-looking show with admirably fine production values.

One of the revelations of the night was how friendly and approachable everyone is in the British plus-size fashion industry. Every participant was remarkably welcoming.

Sophie herself is utterly charming, mixing class and poise with a sincere, down-to-earth quality that makes speaking with her the easiest thing in the world. She tempers passion and enthusiasm with a relaxed sangfroid that comes from being truly comfortable with herself. Any client booking her would be in for a treat, as her patience, good humour, and soft-spoken charm put everyone around her at ease.

We also chatted with Sophie's bookers from Milk Management, in particular agency director Anna Shillinglaw, who proved to be one of the sweetest, most affable, most accommodating individuals we have ever met. No wonder she has assembled the finest plus-size board in Europe: it would be a dream for any client to book her girls, as Milk Managmeent clearly delivers a level of professionalism and courtesy unrivalled in the industry.

We congratulated designer Anna Scholz on booking Sophie for a recent shoot and on selecting her to model one of her designs at Curves in Couture. Ms. Scholz is uncompromisingly size-positive, both a driven professional and an artistic visionary, but she is also personable and charismatic. Her enthusiasm about Sophie's curves and beauty was ardent and inspiring.

Jill Alexander now has the unique distinction of being the only designer in the world who has had all three of the world's most gorgeous models--Sophie Sheppard, Kelsey Olson, and Katherine Roll--present her designs on the catwalk, and we eagerly told her as much. Ms. Alexander too was completely taken by Sophie's beauty, and when fans see the thrilling red dress that she gave Miss Sheppard to model, they will gasp in delight and wonder.

Although Ms. Sheppard was, without question, the star of the night, we exchanged words with many of the models who walked in the show, and they all proved to be very pleasant and approachable, utterly defying any ill-founded public beliefs that models are aloof. There was a camaraderie among them that was a pleasure to see. The British industry comprises girls from everywhere around the globe, including expats from Australia, the U.S., the U.K., Germany, and so forth, and all find common cause in supporting each other's successes and promoting their wonderful industry.

Bravo to the team at M.O.D. for assembling this exciting event, the first of its kind in Europe. We know from someone very close to the organizers that realizing this vision demanded unimaginable effort (a fact with which the FFFWeek team can empathize). But the endless hours and energy that were required to make Curves in Couture a reality were abundantly worth it. Thus, we offer a special word of applause and thanks to M.O.D. organizers Suzanne Fatta, Peter Jeal, James Lyon, among many others--and especially the guiding light of M.O.D., Angel Sinclair.

If the fashion industry's toxic, emaciated standard is ever to be challenged and overturned, and if young women are ever to discover that they can be gorgeous and fashionable at their naturally full-figured size, it will be because of events such as this. Curves in Couture represents a major leap forward in the restoration of the timeless ideal of full-figured beauty.

Here are a few preliminary images captured from two amateur videos of the most exciting shows of the night.

First, Anna Scholz. Sophie appers in a form-fitting dress that lovingly embraces her every stunning curve.

Second, Jill Alexander, with Sophie in a passionate red dress. Her look stopped the heart of every single member of the audience.

Everyone seeing these thrilling runway shows would come away truly believing in plus-size beauty and recognizing, once and for all, that couture is nothing without curves.


HSG 18th November 2011 13:21

Re: Sophie Sheppard: Curves in Couture
 

And now, by kind permission of Angel Sinclair at M.O.D. (which organized Curves in Couture), we are able to share our amateur videos of the Anna Scholz and Jill Alexander Designs shows from last night.

Professional footage will undoubtedly be released in the future, but for now, we are privileged to offer these exciting glimpses of the two finest collections of the evening, both featuring the lovely Miss Sheppard.

In the first video, presenting the Anna Scholz line, Sophie emerges at 3:14.




In the second video, Sophie is the second girl to walk, igniting the runway from the moment of her first appearance at 0:22.



Unlike the various plus-size labels that regularly stage faux-plus fashion events, Curves in Couture now joins FFFWeek in the all-too-exclusive ranks of enterprises that have put true, timeless beauty on the runway.

Will there ever come a day when Sophie, Kelsey, Katherine, and all of the rest of the industry's most gorgeous and popular authentically full-figured models walk in the same show? One can only hope--but as this year's FFFWeek and the premier edition of Curves in Couture have demonstrated, even the wildest dreams do sometimes come true.

Congratulations again to Angel Sinclair, Anna Scholz, Jill Alexander, and Anna Shillinglaw (among many others) for making many plus-size women's hopes a reality.

Hannah 18th November 2011 22:32

Re: Sophie Sheppard: Curves in Couture
 
From the videos, it looks like it was an utterly amazing event. The fashions look terrific. There's nothing the least bit apologetic about them, just a confident celebration of womanly curves. This pro-curvy design aesthetic is exciting to see, as it indicates that the labels attribute the same level of self-assurance to their customers; or, just as importantly, they feel that by giving their customers these body-adoring fashions, those customers will develop the confidence that the fashions suggest.

I definitely agree that Sophie is the standout model in both shows. I wish every model had her richness of curves. She's the most attractive of all of the girls on the catwalk, by far - really in a league of her own - and she is also the most lusciously proportioned - which is a thrilling combination, and just how it should be. I think her runway footage shows the full measure of her beauty even more vividly than her still photos. She really is the kind of plus-size model that curvy women have been asking to be represented by, for years: a truly full-figured model, and also youthful and drop-dead gorgeous.

Both of the looks she wore are outstanding stylish and curve-affirming. The body-conscious Anna Scholz dress boldly defines her figure, tracing every perfect contour. The Jill Alexander outfit is semi-fitted, but it shows off her physique just as seductively, with Sophie's curves forming the fabric into an alluring, womanly shape. Plus, it's red, and Sophie looks luscious in red, especially with that berry lip colour and the red blossom in her hair. What a look! Also, it's sleeveless, and Sophie has such gorgeous arms that she should show them off in every picture she takes. Stunning.

I found a few behind-the-scenes photos at the Anna Scholz page. Here, Sophie is in the centre of the frame, in a profile pose that showcases her beguiling curves.



Second from the right, looking like an angel.



Best of all, Anna Scholz included a solo photo of Miss Sheppard, uploaded at a larger size.



Full size: http://i44.tinypic.com/f087c9.jpg

It's not just that Sophie is so unforgettably beautiful. It's also that she exhibits a self-assurance in her curves that's irresistible. By showing off these fashion-forward, feminine styles with such limitless confidence, she shows all curvy women how they deserve to dress, and how they deserve to feel, when they step into the world.

Tanya 19th November 2011 17:21

Re: Sophie Sheppard: Curves in Couture
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hannah
The body-conscious Anna Scholz dress boldly defines her figure, tracing every perfect contour. The Jill Alexander outfit is semi-fitted, but it shows off her physique just as seductively, with Sophie's curves forming the fabric into an alluring, womanly shape. Plus, it's red, and Sophie looks luscious in red, especially with that berry lip colour and the red blossom in her hair. What a look! Also, it's sleeveless, and Sophie has such gorgeous arms that she should show them off in every picture she takes.

I agree. I think every full-figured woman, seeing these videos and photos, will want both of Sophie's dresses in her own closet. These outfits are size-affirming and beauty-adoring, and the model's delicious figure shows exactly how attractive they actually look on a shapely, natural physique.

I found a few more photos online. Jill Alexander has an album of her collection uploaded, which features two photos of Sophie turning up the heat in that arresting red dress. I've associated Sophie with red ever since her Vogue Italia shoot, where she was presented in a similarly hot-red hue in many photographs.





The larger versions show attractive details, like the seductive embrace of the dress at the model's waist and Sophie's gorgeous arms. (When a model has arms this lovely, sleeveless should be mandatory.) It's between Sophie and Katherine Roll for the distinction of which plus-size model has the most gorgeous figure in the industry.





I love the contrast between Sophie's cherubic looks and the devilry of such a red dress. Half angel, half temptress; all goddess.

Here are the full-size versions:
http://i43.tinypic.com/rsdijb.jpg
http://i44.tinypic.com/npnm8k.jpg


Also M.O.D. itself has an album showing a variety of looks from the night. I think the Jill Alexander portion has not yet been published, but the album includes four excellent photos of Sophie in her Anna Scholz dress. It's remarkable to see the many different expressions that Sophie generated on the runway. The looks are compelling enough to make each of these a publishable photograph. It's remarkable that Sophie can present herself so perfectly on the go, as it were.










I especially admire these two expressions. First, an enchantingly sweet look, with Sophie at her gentlest and prettiest; a dream of beauty.



Second, an utterly different demeanour, now transforming into a sultry vixen. Her range is phenomenal.



Full-size photos:
http://i43.tinypic.com/1gjf5j.jpg
http://i40.tinypic.com/2wnn32p.jpg
http://i42.tinypic.com/w1lxh.jpg
http://i39.tinypic.com/2isgyrq.jpg

Tanya 19th November 2011 18:33

Re: Sophie Sheppard: Curves in Couture
 
As an addendum to my last post, I just discovered a second Curves in Couture album from the same source (London Model Network), and it does feature the rest of the evening's collections, including a sizzling photo of Sophie in her Jill Alexander dress.



Larger: http://i40.tinypic.com/4scj7t.jpg


Also, I've noticed that Sophie wore at least one other brand at the show: her necklace for her Anna Scholz outfit was created by a jewellery label called "House of Scarlet." They have a CiC album as well, with a different angle on Miss Sheppard.



Larger: http://i40.tinypic.com/k9ewe0.jpg

She looks lovely in every shot.

Tanya 20th November 2011 01:47

Re: Sophie Sheppard: Curves in Couture
 
Perhaps the finest pictures I've found yet -- these are by Alessandro Capoccetti, who has two full albums of high-quality photos from the show. The second album features three terrific photos of Sophie as the lady in red. It's like the dress was made just for her, as it shows off her stunning figure so beautifully.



My favourite runway photo so far:



Extra kudos to the photographer for include a reverse-view shot as well. The whole beauty of a fashion show is that it has plus-size models showing off their outfits (and their figures) from every angle, a 360-degree view, so it's wonderful that this shooter captures the beautiful look of the dress from the back as well as the front.



Larger size:
http://i40.tinypic.com/iyok69.jpg
http://i44.tinypic.com/t89bwz.jpg
http://i44.tinypic.com/29f9o5l.jpg


The photographer's first CiC album includes three shots of Sophie in the Anna Scholz dress with the House of Scarlet accessory. I'm still fascinated by how both dresses showcase the model's amazing curves, but in such different ways. The Jill Alexander dress suggest the sensual curves of waist, while the Anna Scholz item celebrates her womanly hips. Truly, she looks phenomenal in everything she wears.







Larger size:
http://i43.tinypic.com/fokaht.jpg
http://i43.tinypic.com/34j9afa.jpg
http://i43.tinypic.com/2q19hc9.jpg

Pamela 20th November 2011 10:11

Re: Sophie Sheppard: Curves in Couture
 
Here are links to three more images that I've been able to turn up; first, the luscious Jill Alexander look:

http://www.maxpictures.co.uk/Party-...2970180_3zkxLRp

Next, two pics featuring the perfectly fitted Anna Scholz dress.

http://www.maxpictures.co.uk/Party-...2475464_ZgXvdNs

http://www.maxpictures.co.uk/Party-...2475889_bcPs9BF

Nevertheless, while all of the images posted have been terrific, it's the videos (amateur though they may be) that give a real sense of the dynamic vitality of the runway show. The way in which Sophie commands the catwalk when she walks, it's clear that modelling is what she was born to do. Also, the images show the sensual commotion in her figure as she presents the Anna Scholz dress, as well as how she transitions from one expression to another to give the photographers many choices when selecting which stills to publish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HSG
In the second video, Sophie is the second girl to walk, igniting the runway from the moment of her first appearance at 0:22.

"Igniting" the runway is right! Sophie has such a serene demeanour and a gentle look, so to see her dressed in an outfit that exudes hot-blooded passion, with a tropical flower in her hair, is a thrilling blend of contrasts. In the persona that Sophie creates for this part of the show, it's like the dress externalizes the fire that smoulders within her, just beneath her aristocratic poise.

A Santa Cruz newspaper ran a brief story about Jill Alexander's collection at Curves in Couture, complete with an image of Sophie's look.

http://santacruz.patch.com/articles...-london-debut#c

I think we're all very, very grateful to Anna Scholz and Jill Alexander for fielding such exciting collections at this event.

Meredith 21st November 2011 06:28

Re: Sophie Sheppard: Curves in Couture
 
What I find especially inspiring about Sophie is that not only is her figure beautifully proportioned, but it is also a very natural physique, as soft and rounded as that of a true full-figured women. Too often, it seems that plus-size models, whatever their size, have over-toned, gym-tortured, unnaturally hard physiques that just aren't relatable. But while Sophie's angelic beauty is aspirational, she also has a feminine, natural physique that is gorgeous and also appealing in real-world terms. People tend to think of the "aspirational" and "real woman" concepts of modelling as polar opposites, but Sophie takes the best of both worlds and unites them into a look that is truly ideal. I hope she keeps this appealing, natural curvaceousness.

And my goodness, to watch the supreme confidence and poise and energy that she exhibits on the runway is truly empowering. She owns her beauty in a way that I've seldom seen even the finest plus-size models exhibit. What an inspiring model.

Graham 22nd November 2011 03:52

Re: Sophie Sheppard: Curves in Couture
 
Sophie's beauty is beyond compare. If there is any model who truly merits being described as a goddess, it's her.

Something that fascinated me in the videos was how abbreviated the runway was, compared to FFFWeek, but how well the models made use of it. For example, you'll notice that Sophie doesn't just walk down the runway once, turn, and leave, but performs a modelling coda or encore, walking back along the catwalk a second time. The other models do this as well. It's a nice visual, and is a very effective way to extend the length of a model's time on the runway when the catwalk isn't that long. It allows for more creativity on the models' part.

I also adore the bewitching pouting expression that Sophie adopts for just a moment, at the end of the runway, when she walks for Jill Alexander.

Gorgeous model. Spectacular show.

Shelley 23rd November 2011 14:51

Re: Sophie Sheppard: Curves in Couture
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HSG
the event benefitted from being staged at a venue called The Tabernacle, a converted church still exhibiting attractive Neo-Gothic elements, which gave the show a historical atmosphere that harmonized with the opulent figures on the runway. The lights and music were effectively utilized. This was a very professional-looking show with admirably fine production values.

Very much so. The venue for this event looks like it was a really attractive setting. I found the web site of The Tabernacle, where Curves in Couture was held, and it's a lovely, old, 19th-century church, which was mercifully not torn down after being deconsecrated but turned into an attractive events centre.

How wonderful that this show was held in a historic locale and not in some grim, modernist space, which, with hard angles and bleak emptiness, would have been incongruous with the round, curvy, beautifully feminine bodies on the runway.

These three images were posted by Forbeson, the company that did the lighting for the show. This is something that FFFWeek and Curves in Couture have in common as well -- an attention to detail and to high production values, giving the events a feeling of legitimacy. I love the vault ceiling and the wooden rafters.



The lighting company did a great job illuminating the space in attractive colours. How fitting that the seating in the upper gallery comprised church pews: it's as if the space was a Temple of Beauty, and Sophie was a present-day Aphrodite, a Goddess of Beauty to be worshipped.



Curvy lectern.



Sophie's agency, Bella Models, has publicly posted this cute photo of Miss Sheppard joining several other models enjoying dinner together the day after the show. Not only does Sophie look just as gorgeous in a casual context as she does when she's dressed up for the runway, but it's empowering to see models actually eating. This is the subversive potential of full-figured fashion goddesses like Miss Sheppard: they show young women that they can be gorgeous and enjoy food, enjoy life, rather than starving themselves. I love this photo.



And here's a great picture of Sophie with Jill Alexander, as posted on the designer's Facebook page. Jill is, of course, the brilliant designer who garbed Sophie in red for the runway show and presented her looking like a tropical flower in full bloom.



Larger: http://i44.tinypic.com/t66o20.jpg


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