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.