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Old 7th July 2010   #1
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Default Washington Post on FFFWeek (article)

Newly published today is a piece in the Washington Post by the newspaper's well-known fashion writer, Robin Givhan. While it has a few minor mixed messages, it is on the whole a very positive and thoughtful article, and a fine description of the event.

It opens with a wonderful description of Rosie Mercado:

NEW YORK -- In the chaos of yellow cabs and black Town Cars that clog the street in front of the Hotel Pennsylvania, a young woman, belted into a black jersey skirt and tunic, emerges from a double-parked vehicle. As she cuts her way through a thicket of confused tourists, three facts are evident.

One: She moves with grace and confidence. The self-assured woman, it turns out, is a model named Rosie Mercado, which leads to fact two: She is stunning -- head-swiveling stunning, a genetic mash-up of Jennifer Lopez and Nicole Scherzinger.

And finally: Mercado is large. She is a super-size woman [with] size-20-something hips

Mercado was the face of the second Full Figured Fashion Week, a late June convergence of designers, retailers, bloggers and activists who descended on this earth-tone hotel abutting Penn Station to discuss the fashion desires of women who are plus-size, curvy, thick, voluptuous... -- all adjectives the participants embrace.

I love how enthusiastic Givhan is about Rosie's looks. Could we be seeing the beginnings of size-celebration in the mainstream media, or at the very least an ability to recognize plus-size beauty when they see it?

I love the fact that Givhan notes, for once and for all, that full-figured women do not feel ashamed of their bodies and are not trying to look smaller:

For those who live and work within the plus-size community, FFFW served as a safe space for both defiant anger and group jubilation. Pretty clothes, and who gets to wear them, functioned as the lingua franca for a multi-layered conversation about self-esteem, health, politics and power. ..

They do not want clothes that make them look thinner. If another designer offers up a slimming wrap dress or some swimsuit that promises to make them look 10 pounds lighter, the situation could turn ugly. They want Fashion. Fun, fast and disposable or luxurious, glamorous and sexy. If a trendy silhouette makes them look bigger, so what? As they see it, big isn't bad. Besides, they are big.

Givhan includes a very favourable note about Yuliya Raquel, of Igigi, and her participation in the seminars:

Of the half-dozen women leading the discussions, all were large-size except one: designer Yuliya Raquel. The owner of Igigi, a San Francisco-based clothing company, is of medium height and build. But in many ways, she was the hero in the room because she has brought the rare combination of a custom-dressmaker's technical skill and a fashion aficionado's creativity to a line of clothing that ranges from size 12 to 32.

Larger women all carry their extra weight differently -- in the hips, in the bustline, in the belly. That must be accounted for in the designs. And the patterns can't be systematically graded upward.

"When you create a garment for size 6 or 8, the ratio of shoulders to bust and hip are fairly constant," Raquel says. "If you take that pattern and try to grade it up for a plus-size woman, you have a shoulder fitting a football player. A woman doesn't grow that way. The shoulders stay the same."

Givhan offers an perception observation that sets up FFFWeek as the inheritor of Mode magazine's legacy:

For decades, a community of rebels has lobbied society for...acceptance. They've taken Seventh Avenue and Madison Avenue to task for adopting such narrow definitions of beauty that they barely allow size 12s into high fashion's glossy inner sanctum. These folks claimed a modest victory in 1997, when Mode launched. Until its demise in 2001, it was the aspirational style manual for which so many large-size ladies had longed. Nothing comparable has replaced it.

After 13 years of specializing in large-size fashion events and being a frustrated shopper, Gwen DeVoe, a tall, zaftig African American former model, created FFFW.

"After attending a lot of different events, it became painfully obvious that two huge things were missing: I was looking at clothes that didn't fit me, and on models who didn't look like me," DeVoe says. "What I'm trying to do is bridge the gap between consumers and designers. To let them know that they have other choices beyond what's on the Internet and in catalogues."

Oh, and the article comes with a photo gallery from the event, featuring a gorgeous picture of Rosie at the seminars:

And one of Lindsey Garbelman on the runway:

All in all, it's a fine write-up, and I applaud Givhan for doing her research, for writing intelligently, perceptively, and one might almost say appreciatively (or at the very least, without negativity) about the event.

Last edited by HSG : 7th July 2010 at 01:28. Reason: URL edited
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Old 9th July 2010   #2
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Default Re: Washington Post on FFFWeek (article)

Sonsi, the sponsors of the event, recorded a video of Rosie at FFFWeek wearing the gorgeous outfit that she sports in the photograph above. This really is a terrific look for her, with dramatic eye makeup, a voluptuous hairstyle, and a dress that alluringly opens up to reveal her soft, full arms. I love the accessories too, the earrings and the necklace. It's a look that's both elegant and exotic - as Ms. Mercado herself is.

FFFWeek could not have chosen a better person to be the face and figure of the event. I hope that her success breaks down barriers and finally persuades plus-size fashion to begin using models who are gorgeous and genuinely full-figured - as she is.
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Old 22nd July 2010   #3
M. Lopez
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Default Re: Washington Post on FFFWeek (article)

This article has been republished quite extensively, which is wonderful to see, given its positive and celebratory elements. I was especially pleased to see it reappear at the following link:

Now, what makes that particular reappearance so wonderful is that it is accompanied by a breathtaking image of Rosie Mercado, which I haven't seen anywhere else. It's by Michaela Dalzell, and it's absolutely stunning. It really celebrates the fullness of Rosie's figure, from her round arms to her soft neck-and-shoulder area, generous bust, abundant waist, and especially the luscious breadth of her hips. Her hands-in-the-hair pose is so sensual, and I love how her tresses fall over her bare skin. This is what a plus-size model should look like.

I want to be represented by goddesses like Kelsey Olson and Katherine Roll and Rosie Mercado, not size-10 faux-plus skinny girls. I hope that Rosie becomes not just the face (and figure) of FFFWeek, but the face and figure of plus-size modelling in general.

Here's a larger version of that stunning image:
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